I’ll never be a skinny worrier.

And when it’s time to celebrate, my parties are planned with food and drink. This time-tested method of honoring the good and offering succor during the bad caused me to write a paper, a good decade ago, about the origin of recipes.

To study them, I created a small collection of vintage cookbooks. Although my research took me back to the Roman civilization, my books started around the Revolutionary war period through the 1960’s and ’70’s. Because it’s cheaper, I used quite a bit of ephemera – ads with recipes from the 30’s and 40’s, when companies used to put dishes in their dry goods; they’d do just about anything to get your business. (My mother still has pieces from my Grandmother LaDonna’s soap boxes.)

Thanks to this little bit of work, people started giving me cookbooks as gifts. I have a series from Family Circle, a paper give-away from the Holiday Inn hotel chain, and one my daughter gave me from 1960 entitled, The I Hate to Cook Book.

I read these like novels. Apricot Tarts 017When I got married, The Silver Palate was all the rage. The authors, Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso, wove a tapestry between the art of cooking and the art of entertaining…or, at least, of eating to enjoy its many nuances. I loved it.

Bill and I are going to The One Hundred Foot Journey this afternoon. Haven’t seen much on the reviews (just lots of advertising, since Stephen Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey can afford it), but I am taken with the idea of crossing cultural borders and making something delicious from the journey.

Today, I decided that sharing vintage recipes is a good idea. Apricot Tarts before baking.I can tell you what I did, my relative successes, family’s and friend’s reactions, what I might do differently in the future. Not everything is a success in the kitchen.

But, surely, getting into the kitchen and cooking for yourself and the ones you love is a success. We might be better served, literally, to care for each other in this way.

PS I think I’ll go back and tag the posts in which I’ve already shared a vintage recipe. Try one. See what you think.

Adapted from The Detroit Times Homemakers’ Club Cook Book
By Prudence Penny (Home Economist, The Detroit Times)
© 1937, The Detroit TimesApricot Tarts 025

Apricot Tarts
1 c butter
6 oz cream cheese
1/8 t salt
2 c flour
apricot preserves (use good ones or homemade!)

Cream butter and cream cheese together. Fold in flour and salt. Roll into balls (ours were about an inch and a half). Chill in refrigerator overnight. Roll out on a floured board (I floured my wooden rolling pin, as well, very lightly between each cookie). Place a teaspoon of apricot preserves (I used French preserves from the market). Pinch the edges up to create a pocket. Dust top with granulated sugar or raw sugar. Bake at 425° for 10 minutes.  Makes about 40 cookies.

These are delicious – very rustic and homey. If you can serve them warm, do it. Amazing.