Recipes From
Hoosier Kitchens

And Other Interesting Culinary Facts

The following recipes are from the collections of my grandmothers
and great-grandmothers. Recipes were often shared by neighbors "over
the back fence." Many of the recipes below are identified by the name
of relatives or neighbors from whom they came. I have maintained
authenticity in the transcriptions, and given additional information if needed.

This recipe came from my Grandma Carrie, who lived in Clark County, just across the Ohio river from Louisville, Kentucky. Her mother, who was born in Louisville, undoubtedly made these biscuits. The texture is somewhat of a cross between a dinner roll and a refrigerator biscuit.

Angel Biscuits (Old Ky Recipe)

5 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup shortening
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. Baking powder

3 tablespoons sugar
1 yeast cake dissolved in 1/2 cup lukewarm water
2 cups buttermilk.
Sift dry ingredients together Cut in shortening until mixed thoroughly. Add Buttermilk & dissolved yeast. work together with a large spoon until all flour is moistened Cover bowl & put in refrigerator until ready to use, as needed (about 2 hrs. first time).

When ready to use, take out as much as needed, roll in floured board to 1/2 inch thickness & cut. Bake at 400 degrees in cookie sheet or in a shallow pan for about 12 minutes until brown.

This recipe makes about 6 doz light flaky biscuits.

This dough will keep for several weeks in refrigerator.

This cake is cooked, like a custard, on top of the stove until it begins to thicken, then goes into the oven for about 20 minutes at 350-degrees; I bake it in a 10" round pan. After spreading the icing on the cool cake, broil the cake until the icing is bubbly.

Mrs. Guthrie's Honeycomb Cake

2 eggs, beaten well
Beat in 1 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk & 1/2 cube butter

Put on slow flame & beat through. Add 1 cup flour & 1 tsp. baking powder. Beat well; add vanilla & bake in square pan in moderate oven.

1/2 cup cocoanut
1/2 cup walnuts
1 cup brown sugar
4 Tbsp milk
1/2 cube butter
Warm this mixture & put in cool cake.
Bake under slow flame.

In 1861 Indianapolis grocer, and once tinsmith, Gilbert C. Van Camp created a process for canning food. However, household use of the can opener did not begin until after 1870. Prior to that cans were opened with a ferocious looking combination of bayonet and sicle, or with a hammer and chisel!

This cobbler is great made with peaches, berries, or rhubarb!

Mrs. Henderson's Fruit Cobbler

2-1/2 c fruit
1 Tbsp flour
1/2 c sugar (more for apples)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Pour into greased baking dish & dot with butter.

1-1/2 c flour
2 heaping tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 Tbsp melted butter
1/2 c milk
Make soft dough & spread over fruit (do not roll dough). Bake 15 mins @ 350-degrees, then spread mixture of 1/2 c brown sugar and 3 Tbsp butter & bake 20 mins more
@ 350. Top with whipped cream. Serve warm.

Perhaps the handiest step-saver in the servantless kitchen was the Hoosier Cabinet. A Hoosier cabinet was the forerunner of our kitchen cabinets and first manufactured in Indiana (thus, "Hoosier"). Never requiring the housewife to take a step when a reach would do, the Hoosier Cabinet provided bins for flour (with a built-in sifter) and sugar; spice racks, shelves, and lots of little cubbies and shelves for everything from cereals to pot and pan lids, as well as a porcelain-enameled work surface. There were at least 20 factories turning these out -- "Hoosier," "Napanee" and "Sellers" to name a few.   Click the picture for a larger image and more information about Hoosier Cabinets and replacement parts.
Hoosier Cabinet Photograph Copyright 1999 American Woodworker Magazine

I think of this next recipe as an 'historical oddity.' I have tested it (baked at 300-degrees) - it is an extremely rich fruit-type cake, with a very strong flavor. It needs to have plenty of whipped cream on top! It must be refrigerated, due to the first ingredient.

Pork Cake
from the kitchen of Bess Knauss

1 lb ground pork
1 pt boiling water
(Pour water over pork
and set aside to cool)

Stew together:
1 lb raisins
1 lb currants
1/2 lb citron
1/2 lb figs
1/2 lb dates

tea cup English walnuts
tea cup Orleans molasses
2 tea cup sugar
1 nutmeg
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup wine or fruit juice

Add flour to make a stiff dough. Bake slowly one hour.

Bar Keepers Friend has been manufactured in Indianapolis as a cleanser for brass ornaments since 1882. Quite naturally, they discovered that Bar Keepers Friend worked equally as well in their homes. Interestingly, because of pressure from teetotalers during the early 1900s, the name was changed to "Housekeepers Friend." Sales dropped so low the owner almost went bankrupt...and the original name went back on the can.
See SerVaas Laboratories full line of products.

These were made by my grandmother and her mother before her. Most homemakers knew how to make a crust, so those directions are overlooked). We serve these in a bowl, with a little Mocha Mix (I'm sure my great-grandmother used heavy cream!). Delicious!

Apple Dumplings

2-14 c sifted flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 c. shortening or 12 T
7 or 8 tablespoons ice water
5 med sized tart apples
1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter

1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons butter
2 cups water
Mix sugar, cinnamon, butter & water tegether in saucepan an boil 3 minutes. Pare and core apples. and place each apple on 7 in pastry square. Fill cavity of each apple with sugar and cinnamon mixed together, dot with butter. moisten points of square & bring opposite points up over apple, overlapping them. Seal well. Place about 2 in. apart in an 8 X 11 in. baking pan. Place in refrigerator and chill thoroughly. Pour hot syrup around chilled dumplings. Bake immediately in very hot oven (500-degrees) 5 to 7 min. Reduce temperature to moderate oven (350-degrees) & bake about 30 to 35 min. longer.

Homemakers in Indianapolis would have likely been familiar with the Market House. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries it was the place where everyone in the city came to buy fresh produce, meat, fish, poultry, dairy and bakery products. The market at one time hosted more than 200 vendors. Located at 222 Market St., the Market is still active today. Click on the photo for more information about the Indianapolis City Market.

This dish gives a nod to my German heritage. My family who settled in Indianapolis came from Pennsylvania, and were of German descent. The eggs in this cole slaw add a great flavor.

German Cole Slaw

1/2 head cabbage
6 hard boiled eggs (optional)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon mustard
2 teaspoons melted butter
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup chopped onion

Chop cabbage in a salad bowl, add chopped eggs and toss. Mix the sugar, salt, mustard, melted butter and vinegar and pour over cabbage and eggs. Toss again, add onion and sprinkle with paprika. Serve cold.

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