Great Depression Recipes: Berry Fool — kind of an any berry pie

This nifty recipes was discovered in that mysterious old recipe box I purchase at a church sale.  The paper seemes to be pulled from a book or perhaps a pamphlet.  Maybe an advertising cookbook… who knows?

Berry Fool:

2 cups pitted cherries, raspberries, gooseberries, blackberries, strawberries or blueberries

1/2 cup butter

1 + 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

Fill a “Jewel”  pie plate ( maybe the advertiser? ) — okay any old pie pan with whatever kind of pie crust you like …with your berries of choice.

Beat together the butter and sugar.

Beat in the eggs.

Spread the butter, sugar and egg mixture over the berries.  Bake in a 450 degrees oven for 10 minutes.

Reduce the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and continue baking for another 30 minutes.  Serve hot.

Oh, and I think I would serve it with a dollop of ice cream, just be sure tosave a slice for me.

Other option for an abundance of berries:

How To Make Jam — A Beginner Tutorial –an any berry Jam

How to Raw Pack Fruit With Simple Syrup

Blubarb Jam — Simply delicious Blueberry Rhubarb Jam


Candied Violets — So Easy A Child Can Do It

Well, happy Friday, everyone!  My son has a project for you.

This time each year my lawn is full of violets.

Shaw, age 6, making his candied violets.

Shaw, age 6, explaining how to make candied violets.

Here’s a nice beginner cooking project that brings Spring to the kitchen. Shaw will show you how to make candied violets and how he adds them to his favorite dessert, ice cream.

Let’s begin:

1. Pick a nice sized bunch of violets from a chemical-free lawn.

2. Gently rinse them in a colander and allow to drain.

3. With the help of an adult, separate two egg whites.

4. Beat the egg whites with a wire whisk, until just frothy.

5. By holding the stem, dip each flower in the frothy egg whites. Make sure the flower is completely covered with egg white.

6. Lay the eggy flower in a little bowl of sugar. Spoon sugar from around the violet to cover it.

7. Gently shake the excess sugar from the flower.

8. Dry on a sheet of waxed paper.

French Vanilla Ice Cream with Candied Violets and pictorial instructions, of course.

French Vanilla Ice Cream with Candied Violets and pictorial instructions, of course.

Now, decorate your cup cakes or add them to your ice cream. Surprise your friends by showing them how to eat a little bit of Spring.

What ways can you think of to add violets to your food?

This week’s “Neighborly Advice” will include more advanced violet recipes for more formal use.

Join us for the fun. Let’s get picking!

Great Depression Recipes: Rhubarb Tapioca

Keep rhubarb pieces petite since tapioca is little, too.

Keep rhubarb pieces petite since tapioca is little, too.

Join me as I head back to the rhubarb patch and we shall make some goodies.

As I have gotten a lot of requests for more of this kind of thing, here is another Great Depression recipe courtesy of the USDA circa the 1930s.

And remember, if this doesn’t suit your taste, check the Cooking/Baking Basics or Waiting-For-Payday Categories at the right for other ideas. Or try the “search” bar above the little calendar.

Rhubarb Tapioca

hm … probably the two most mysterious foods in one recipe, which, of course, means we have to try it.


4 cups Rhubarb, cut into little pieces

2 cups Water, hot

1/2 cup quick-cooking Tapioca ( Isn’t it all quick cooking these days, 80 years later? Who knows? Check the box.)

1 + 1/2 cups Sugar

1/2 teaspoon Salt


1. In the top of a double boiler, over steam, stir the rhubarb, water and tapioca for about 15 minutes. No double boiler? Click here to make do.

2. Stir in the sugar and salt.

3. Cook for about 5 more minutes, until the tapioca is clear and the rhubarb is tender.

4. Chill thoroughly and serve it plain, with whipped cream or, perhaps garnished with a strawberry slice or two.

More rhubarb  harvest, storage and recipes to come.

Now here is the big question:

I never buy tapioca, but I always seem to have it. Why is that?

Does this happen to anyone else?

Great Depression Recipes: Rhubarb Crunch

Freshly tugged from the garden, rhubarb awaits chopping.

Freshly tugged from the garden, rhubarb awaits chopping.

(Neighbor Nancy wipes the tiniest glisten of drool from the corner of her mouth as she shares this recipe. While the aroma of a fresh batch of Rhubarb Crunch fills her little home, she digs in the freezer for vanilla ice cream.)

Ah, rhubarb crunch time. It means that spring is officially here. It means that I must make sure the strawberries are doing well. For all too soon, the last of the rhubarb will be mixed with the first of the strawberries to make batches of Strawberry Rhubarb jam for Christmas presents.

From my earliest childhood memories, Spring covered dish Suppers always required a batch of Rhubarb Crunch.

I have had it covered in cream, drizzled with vanilla sauce. Hot. Cold. Scraped from the final bits of the pan. But, hot out of the oven with a single scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream … (sigh) … heavenly.

So from the depths of the family recipe box…(oh my, is this a crusty well-loved recipe card?! ) … here we go.

Rhubarb Crunch


Crunch bottom and topping:

1+1/4 cup Flour

1 cup rolled Oats, quick or regular

1+1/4 cup Brown Sugar

10 Tablespoons Butter, melted

Fruit Mixture:

4 heaping cups Rhubarb, diced

1 cup Sugar

2 Tablespoons Cornstarch

1 cup Water

1 teaspoon Vanilla


In a medium bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, and melted butter.

Press about half of this mixture into the bottom of a 9″x 13″pan. Set the rest aside.

Cover with all the diced rhubarb. Set aside

In a small sauce pan, combine the white sugar and cornstarch.

Over medium low heat, stir in the water. Heat and stir, until it boils and becomes clear and smooth.

Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour the entire mixture over the rhubarb in the pan.

Cover with the remaining oat mixture. This, of course is the “crunch” part.

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit ( a medium oven ) for 1 hour.

Serve it warm or cold.

Top it with cream, vanilla sauce or ice cream.

Warning: Beware of the Rhubarb Crunch phenomenon. Do not tell jokes while eating this dessert, because as you laugh,it will feel like your jaw will blow off. The more you laugh the more it hurts. No one knows why and it happens every time.

So, with what are you going to top your batch?

Waiting-for-Payday Recipes: Pinched From My Mother’s Recipe Box

Glad you stopped by. Tonight, I offer you a very messy recipe card, yellowed from age and use. I borrowed it from my mother. It falls into the Great Depression dessert category.

"Mom" in pink at age 60 ... yup, that IS her natural hair color.

"Mom" in pink at age 60 ... yup, that IS her natural hair color.

I was fortunate to grow up with one of those super moms you read about. Owns her own chainsaw, split her own wood, can sew anything, bake anything and is a financial wizard. Spent her not home hours as a college professor in cooking, then business, and later moved on to a mega financial company. Now retired, she spends her time with her head in the Wall St. Journal, does water testing for a local conservancy group while sporting some very stylish wadders, stirs magnificent kitchen creations, cooks down my maple harvest and babysits my little one. Occasionally, she still hangs off the roof to clean their gutters or poke around in the chimney.

What follows is glued directly from an e-mail. My personal comments will be italicized.

“World’s Most Scrumptious Rice Pudding— serves approximately 12. (Tastes so good that it will disappear quickly.)

3/4 cup long grain rice
5 cups milk (evaporated milk–equal amt canned milk to water–is best for flavor) And better for your wallet.
1 cup sugar
5 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup raisins ( or currants or diced apple)
cinnamon to taste

“Place rice in cold water in saucepan to cover. Bring to boil and boil for one minute. Drain rice in colander.

“Heat milk in another saucepan. Add drained rice and raisins when milk is very hot. Bring to boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 35 minutes.

“Beat eggs until light. Stir in sugar, salt, and vanilla. When rice is done, stir some hot milk into the egg-sugar mixture (to slowly increase the temperature of the eggs so that they don’t cook). Then stir this warmed mixture into the hot milk and rice.

“Remove from heat and let set, stirring occasionally.

“Note: There might be times when the rice pudding doesn’t set thickly enough–it seems to be right on the edge. It turns out that sugar hydrolyzes the starch in the rice, which will contribute to “slurpyness.” If you’re experiencing setting problems, you could try reducing the sugar content. Of course, that’s what helps make to pudding taste so good; I’d still like it, even if I had to eat it with a straw! Mother, please!

“If I were to try cutting the size of this recipe, instead of cutting everything directly in half, I’d probably try: 1/2 c rice, 2 1/2 c milk, 1/2 c sugar, 3 eggs, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 tsp vanilla, and 1/4 cup raisins. After seeing those results, I’d go from there. (If still too soupy, I’d reduce the sugar further.”)

Much to her dismay, I still pick the raisins out. Hence, currants or apples at my house. She argues,” how will you get your iron without the raisins. They’re so delicious and loaded with iron…blah,blah,blah”

Oh, did I forget to mention, she was also a dietician before teaching?

( Neighbor Nancy crosses her arms, feeling rather pouty.)

Now does everyone see where my style comes from? What kind of lunatic uses “hydrolyzes” and “slurpiness” in the same sentence? It runs in the family.


Thanks for sharing, Ma. Love ya!

BTW, the others in the picture above are ( left to right:) my aunt, my “peanut” and my McGyver-like grandfather. Click here to read about his pantyhose hat.

Anyway, I think you’ll love the recipe.

Are you going to make it with or without the raisins?