Fun Cooking Tips from Grandmama and Henry’s Exchange

I was feeling a bit nostalgic tonight and decided I would rummage through some of Mama’s stuff for more ‘history bits and pieces’. I wasn’t disappointed. I found an old recipe book that belonged to my grandmama.

I have to brag a bit here and say my grandmama was about the best cook EVER! I don’t remember eating anything she cooked I didn’t love. Cookies, cakes, meat, potatoes, you name it, my grandmama really could make a delicious dish out of a soup bone and an onion.

Grandmama notes in one cookbook some of these ideas are, “according to the exchange,” which I believe means Henry’s Exchange. Henry’s Exchange was a radio program in the 1940’s, hosted by Henry Hornsbuckle.

Here are some of the tidbits I found while thumbing through her cookbook.

When you mash potatoes, heat your milk before you add it. This will make your potatoes lighter. If you prefer, heat some cream and add that too.

To keep your hands from getting greasy and covered in suet, put sausage, hamburger, etc, on a piece of wax paper. place another piece of wax paper over the top and press the meat into whatever thickness you prefer for patties. No messy hands and no messy cutting board or counter top.

To tell if fresh eggs are good, put them in water. If the large end turns up, they are not fresh.

Pour cold water over eggs before you place them in boiling water. The eggs will not crack open.

If you bake your own bread and you can’t eat it before it gets hard, wet a paper sack and put the bread into it and into a warm oven. The bread will be softened in a short time.

As macaroni and spaghetti boil over so easily, if you grease the top of the pan an inch or so down, the water will not boil past the greased area.

Before icing a cake, dust a little flour over the top and the icing wont run off or tear the cake.

When frying eggs, put a pinch of salt and flour in the oil and it will not splatter.

I also found a couple of cool ideas for problems that apparently are timeless:

To brighten aluminum ware, use lemon juice rubbed on with a cloth and washed afterwards with warm water. This also works on brass and copper.

When anything sticks or burns in a kettle, mix half water and half vinegar, set back on the stove and bring to a boil. Wash as usual with warm soapy water.

To remove hard water scale or stains from porcelain or enamel ware, boil a mild solution of baking soda in it periodically.

And last, but by no means least, this is a personal favorite as I have done it many times and it truly works. When you cook ‘stinky’ foods, like cabbage etc., put a bowl of vinegar on the stove or the counter. It really does absorb the stench.

Cheers to all of you!

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