Welcome to “Cooking Through the Decades,” a 10-week journey through the 20th century, where you can let our revamped retro recipes take you back through history. Cook along with us for a chance to win cookbooks and an America’s Test Kitchen apron autographed by Bridget Lancaster.
SETTING THE SCENE: THE 1920S
The war is over and appetites are roaring. It’s the 1920s, the Jazz Age, and it’s all glitz and glam and possibility. After wartime austerity, we have a sweet tooth for all that life can hold. Food should be exotic, for we eat to impress, just as we dress in knee-length numbers and felt fedoras to be seen at the speakeasy come night. Prohibition limits our alcohol use in cooking—juices and extracts fill in, with less success—but it can’t contain us. Eating is exhibitionist, another chance to show off, though it is streamlined creativity that we crave. All hail the modern convenience—canned fruit, smooth molds, the indispensable icebox—that will propel us forward into a faster fun-filled future. Anything can happen for we are absolutely modern.
THIS WEEK’S RECIPE: AMBROSIA FRUIT MOLD
In the 1920s, fancy meets functionality, and nothing embodies this spirit more than fruit cocktail and Jell-O. What may seem low-brow today was all the rage in the Jazz Age: fruit cocktail was elegant yet convenient and allowed even salad to be syrupy sweet, and Jell-O molds demonstrated modernity’s mastery of the kitchen. Plus, such dishes required no alcohol for embellishment. Fashionable food reaches its pinnacle in this Ambrosia Gelatin Mold. Ambrosia, food of the gods, is none too elevated for high society, but here is contained in a mold that leaves no room for frivolity. Don’t let the jiggle factor put you off—you do want your food to a make a good impression, don’t you?
THIS WEEK’S CHALLENGE
Cook like it’s 1924! Today’s kid food was the Twenties’ food of the elite.
Make this roaring recipe, and send us a picture of you with the dish (or if you’re shy, just the dish is ok too)! Email it to email@example.com, with the subject line “1924.” Be sure to include your name, mailing address, and blog or Twitter URL. Also, feel free to include a few lines about your experiences with this dish or decade.
Deadline: Tuesday, July 17 at 5 p.m. EST.
Two winning entries will will be featured on The Feed next Wednesday, and the lucky cooks will win a copy of Cook’s Country Best Lost Suppers and an America’s Test Kitchen apron signed by Bridget Lancaster.
(Advertising images from Vintage Ad Browser.)