Food trends of 1915
December 28, 2015 2:03 PM   Subscribe

What were the food/drink trends of 1915? Seeking both recipes and reading.

I just read that the French 75 was invented in 1915 (well, an early form of it, but that's fine). I plan on serving those at a NYE party, and I thought it might be neat to have a few other 1915-y treats available as well.

This is not a sit down dinner, they'll be things on a plate that guests can eat with their hands, so finger food type items are preferred, but I'll take whatever you've got, provided you can back up that it could have been served in 1915. Food/drink welcome.

Any background reading you are willing to provide on food trends in 1915 would also be very appreciated.
posted by everybody had matching towels to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
Where in 1915?
posted by rtha at 2:06 PM on December 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Good question: literally anywhere. As long as it was eaten (and hopefully considered new or novel) somewhere in the year 1915, it doesn't matter where it happened, geographically speaking.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 2:07 PM on December 28, 2015

According to the Betty Crocker Cooky Book, which highlights the best cookie of each decade, the best of 1910-1920 was the ginger cream. This blog post has a slightly modified version of the recipe.
posted by dayintoday at 2:13 PM on December 28, 2015 [2 favorites]

This link will get you 200+ menus from 1915. You can look at a few fancier ones and see what things they were featuring.
posted by jessamyn at 2:16 PM on December 28, 2015 [8 favorites]

I have The 1910 Hotel St. Francis Cook Book. It's less a cookbook and more a set of daily menus with some short descriptions of what the food is.

Here are some items, and recipes to go with for modern minds.

Cheese Straws/Puffs

This one sounds elegant and decadent (provided you like caviar)

Pancake Molosol--Spread some very thin French pancakes (crepes) with fresh Russian caviar. Toll up and cut in diamond shapes. Serve on napkin garnished with leaves of lettuce filled with chopped onions, quartered lemons and parley in branches.

Maryland Fried Chicken (can do wing drumettes-do ahead of time and serve at room temp or cold

Cold Westphalia ham

Mini Chicken Pot Pies (can do easily with biscuit dough.) I'd make an elegant creamed chicken, with leeks, carrot, peas, parsley, mushrooms and infused with sherry.


Salted Nuts (I mean, like in every menu, hence the expression, 'from soup to nuts.')

Shrimp salad shows up in an afternoon tea. I'd make one and serve in Boston Lettuce cups.

Here's a fun sounding cocktail:

Lallah Rookh--To a quart of vanilla ice cream add a pony of Jamaican rum and mix well. Serve in flat glasses

Okay, I have an idea for MY NYE dessert!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:52 PM on December 28, 2015 [3 favorites]

The Pan-Pacific centennial is winding down in SF, check menus from its celebrations.
posted by brujita at 2:54 PM on December 28, 2015

Cookery columns from a variety of Australian newspapers in 1915.

Most of them seem concerned with making frugal use of leftovers and in the latter half of the year, cooking things that would survive a three-month sea voyage to soldiers at the Front.
posted by girlgenius at 3:22 PM on December 28, 2015

The All of a Kind Family books are 1912 rather than 1915, but the chapters on the candy store and the street vendors might still be helpful. They make me hungry, anyway. Hot chickpeas and roasted sweet potatoes!
posted by theweasel at 5:22 PM on December 28, 2015 [3 favorites]

Tamales! Believe it or not. I've just finished Gustavo Arellano's Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America, and he notes that in 1915 at San Francisco's Panama-Pacfic International Exposition, the Workman Packing Company showcased its popular IXL brand of canned tamales and distributed a booklet of tamale recipes.

So... canned tamales are a legitimate 1915 food item, though they might not entrance your guests.
posted by Creosote at 5:32 PM on December 28, 2015 [3 favorites]

That Hotel St. Francis cookbook mentioned by Ruthless Bunny is a great resource if you can find a copy. I have it as well, having worked there almost half a century ago. But I have to say that 45 years ago, the cuisine they served there had not advanced appreciably since Victor Hertzler's days. Some of his dishes were still standards at banquets and in the restaurants. They even opened a restaurant called Victor's at the time. Most of the sea change in foods and our current appreciation for local food, terroirs, and all the rest has come in the last 25 years. The cookbook does have a lot of French cuisine standards but for the most part, those menus involve overcooked foods and unimaginative combinations. Same with the menus in Jessamyn's link. To do 1915 at your party, you'll have to do some serious reinterpretation. I mean, "Supreme de grapefruit Maraschino"? "Cream of celery with toasties"?
posted by beagle at 5:32 PM on December 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

Oh BTW, no need to acquire that Hotel St. Francis Cookbook, the whole thing is available for your gustatory pleasure right here. Note that the second recipe, on Jan. 1, is "Tripe and potatoes, family style." For New Year's Eve luncheon, Victor recommends "Calf's head, vinaigrette." Which is basically, the boiled contents of a calf's head, with vinaigrette. (Somebody mentioned veal the other day and I started wondering what you could do with a calf's head, so now I know.) The recipe concludes: "Boil until well done. If not to be used right away, put in earthen jar and strain the broth over it." There you go.
posted by beagle at 5:45 PM on December 28, 2015 [2 favorites]

This book called Danties for Home Parties was published in 1915 and has a bunch of good random punches that would be good at a NYE party.
posted by jessamyn at 5:57 PM on December 28, 2015 [2 favorites]

The suffrage cookbook above includes recipes for both nut scrapple and albuminous beverages. I think that is your "go-to".
posted by Sophie1 at 6:37 PM on December 28, 2015

1915 was the year of aspic. Which is, unfortunately, disgusting. Tomato aspic is just about tolerable I suppose.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:48 AM on December 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

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