Pasta Szechuan (adapted from Open House, 1995)

Pasta Szechuan is a quick and easy weeknight pasta recipe that might bear some resemblance to Asian food if you stand far away and look at it in bad lighting.  The recipe comes to me by way of Open House, a 1995 cookbook supporting the National Alliance to End Homelessness.  A few recipes in Open……

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……

Pork Scrapple (adapted from Money-saving Main Dishes, 1966)

Pork Scrapple is a cheap and easy main dish that can be prepped ahead for a quick weeknight meal.   Where I’m from out West scrapple is a dessert or candy, essentially a chocolate bark stuffed with nuts and other crunchy things.  It’s occasionally used to describe an improvised trail mix or an ice cream with……

Hawaiian Chicken with Ginger and Peach (California, 1996, adapted)

Hawaiian Chicken with Ginger and Peach is a chicken and rice dish with vaguely tropical sensibilities.   If you’re expecting a traditional plate-lunch style chicken you’ll need to look elsewhere:  this dish is more Nixon-era casserole than luau food.  Pan-fried chicken breast is set atop a salty pilaf and seasoned lightly with ginger and coconut –……

Chili Stack (adapted from Sunset Cook Book, 1949)

Chili Stack is an out-of-the-ordinary savory pancake main dish with the flair of the American Southwest.  I’ve never seen anything quite like it before or since.  Adapted from the 1949 Sunset Cook Book of Favorite Recipes, Chili Stack is  a meal of thin cornmeal pancakes and a smooth, spicy chili.  The pancakes and chili are……

Chinese Pork Balls and Cabbage (adapted from Myra Waldo’s Chinese Cookbook, 1968)

Chinese Pork Balls and Cabbage is a hearty dish suitable for a cool autumn weeknight.  If you’re after an authentic Chinese main dish keep looking.  This recipe is adapted from Myra Waldo’s Chinese Cookbook, first published in 1968, and reflects Americanized Chinese sensibilities adapted to the tastes and ingredient availability of the 1960s.   Like most……

Beef and Noodles Italiano (Missouri, 1964, adapted)

Beef and Noodles Italiano is a hearty two-pot-one-meal pasta dish with vaguely Italian sensibilities.  Adapted from a 1964 community cookbook published by the St. Louis Symphony, Beef and Noodle sItaliano has a little bit of a fancy company vibe to it, in keeping with the mildly patrician sensibilities of the rest of the book.  The……

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

Sorrento Soup is a hearty tomato-vegetable soup perfect for a crisp, autumn weeknight, one of a dozen or so excellent soups in Loyta Wooding’s 1972 Smart Shopper’s Cookbook.  While ostensibly written for budget-conscious homemakers in the face of rising food prices, Mrs. Wooding’s background at Betty Crocker kitchens lends a sense of company-friendly sophistication to……

Chicken Cutlets with a Swiss Cheese Crust (Nebraska, 1987, adapted)

Chicken Cutlets with a Swiss Cheese Crust is a tasty fried chicken dish suitable for weeknight cooking.   The whole chicken and cheese thing isn’t normally appealing to me, but I had been craving fried chicken like crazy when I came across this recipe.  I was also looking for an opportunity to use my new meat……