Instant Pot Eggplant Chili (adapted from Open House, 1995)

Instant Pot Eggplant Chili is a hearty vegan dinner perfect for a busy meat-free weeknight.  This recipe comes to me from an unlikely source:  the 1995 cookbook Open House, prepared by the National Alliance to End Homelessness.  It’s a weird little cookbook.  On the outside it looks like a run-of-the-mill community cookbook, down to the……

Soup Bagdad (adapted from Smart Shopper’s Cookbook, 1972)

Soup Bagdad is a warm and rich lentil-and-lamb soup punched up with a heavy hand of fresh herbs.   Despite the long simmer time this is still a tractable weeknight meal, and requires very little chopping or active time.   It’s also plenty hearty for a weekend meal.  This recipe comes to me by way of Smart……

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……

Arroz con Azafrán (Spanish Saffron Rice, New Jersey, 1995, adapted)

Arroz con Azafrán (rice with saffron) is an attractive and versatile side dish suitable that adds a little bit of class to any number of meals.  This particular version is adapted from Buen Provecho, a 1995 cookbook compiled by HISPA, which – at the time – was an employee group for Hispanic AT&T employees.  HISPA……

Smoky Onion Pie (Tennessee, 1996, adapted)

Smoky Onion Pie is a cheesy, savory pie that comes off as something between a gratin and a quiche.  This recipe comes to me by way of a 1996 cookbook from the Crye-Leike Realty company, a Tennessee-based real estate company.   Crye-Leike has published more than two dozen cookbooks from their founding in 1977 up through……

Mexican Chicken with Prunes and Bananas (adapted from Buen Provecho, 1995)

Mexican Chicken with Prunes and Bananas is adapted from Buen Provecho, a 1995 recipe collection compiled by the AT&T Hispanic Employee Group HISPA.   I’ll admit that my first reaction was “hard pass” but was encouraged by the author’s note to take a second look: People may at first be a little startled by the combination……

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……

Lamb Shank Vindaloo (inspired by Hotpoint Storybook Kitchen Cookbook, 1964)

Lamb Shank Vindaloo is a mid-century American interpretation of a popular Indian dish with Portuguese roots.   The lamb shank is cooked in a sour and spicy sauce that’s addictive and delicious.  Vindaloo dishes are now an Indian restaurant staple, but the sauce has its origins in a vinegary Portuguese stew.  As such you’ll often find……

Nargis Kofta, from the New York World’s Fair (adapted from Hotpoint Storybook Kitchen Cookbook, 1964)

Many of the international dishes represented in the Hotpoint Storybook Kitchen Cookbook will be familiar to modern American readers.  Some were already popular, like gazpacho and sauerbraten, which are common submissions in mid-1960s church recipe collections.  Dishes like tabbouleh and couscous are now standard fare at Mediterranean restaurants, and satay and nasi goreng are staples……