Mexi-Casserole (Nebraska, 1987, adapted)

Mexi-Casserole is a quick and dirty weeknight casserole with Mexican-American flavors and a flaky biscuit crust.  In many ways it fits the archetype of post-war convenience food:   ground meat, mixed canned goods, and a Bisquick topping.  If you can brown hamburger you can make Mexi-Casserole.  At the center of the dish is a packet of……

Biscuit-topped Bulgarian Lamb Stew (adapted from Smart Shopper’s Cookbook, 1972)

Biscuit-topped Bulgarian Lamb Stew is a hearty, simply seasoned lamb stew from Loyta Wooding’s 1972 Smart Shopper’s Cookbook.  As I’ve noted elsewhere, in twenty-first century terms a lamb stew doesn’t seem to fit with the strict-budget ethos of Smart Shopper’s Cookbook.  Lamb consumption has dropped precipitously since the 1960s and in modern markets lamb is……

Sour Cherry Pie (adapted from The Black Family Reunion Cookbook, 1991)

The Black Family Reunion Cookbook (1991) is one of the books in my collection that I’ve read cover to cover but have never done much cooking from.  It’s not that the recipes aren’t intriguing or delicious, it’s that the stories that accompany them are compelling and essential reading.    The titular “Black Family Reunion” is an……

Hominy and Bacon (adapted from Elena’s Secrets of Mexican Cooking, 1958)

There’s not much to this recipe, but it’s too delicious not to write it up.  This is one of many treasures in Elena’s Secrets of Mexican Cooking (1958) by the indomitable Elena Zelayeta.  Mrs. Zelayeta was a minor celebrity in her day, succeeding in business, publishing, and television in spite of being entirely blind.  Born……

Salmon Pot Pie (Tennessee, 1996, adapted)

Salmon Pot Pie comes to us by way of a promotional cookbook offered by a Southern real estate company.  Since their founding in 1977 Crye-Leike has published more than two dozen cookbooks to give away to employees, friends, and clients.  This particular recipe comes from Volume XVI, titled Cherished Southern Recipes and published in 1996. ……

Bisquick Taco Pie (Indiana, 1992, adapted)

Bisquick Taco Pie is a nifty little weeknight casserole from a 1992 cookbook compiled by the Hebron Indiana Order of the Eastern Star.  I’m not sure whether Masonic traditions involve potlucks, but this is a brilliant old-school potluck dish. It’s a variant on a biscuit-topped shepherd’s pie, jazzed up with some Americanized Mexican flavors.  In……

Mock Turkey (adapted from Mennonite Community Cookbook, 1950)

Many of my older cookbooks contain some variant of a “mock turkey” recipe.  Despite what our twenty-first century sensibilities might suggest, mock turkey has nothing to do with tofu or seitan and it’s anything but vegetarian.   Recipes vary but they usually agree on two core components:  ground beef and poultry seasoning.  From a health……

Rosemary Scalloped Onions (adapted from Mrs. De Graf’s Cookbook, 1922)

One of the more pleasant surprises in Mrs. De Graf’s Cookbook is a simple recipe for scalloped onions.   The original recipe is written in paragraph form:  heavy on technique but light on amounts and proportions of ingredients.  This should not be intimidating; it should give you confidence that you can’t screw it up.   There are……