Vintage Inspired Recipe: Old-Fashioned Maine Needhams Potato Candy

If you’re not from Maine, you might think the above photo is of a homemade Mounds candy bar. You’re close! But you’d probably be shocked to learn that they contain mashed potatoes in the coconut centers! They are a delicious traditional Maine candy called “Needhams” which have also historically been called “potato candy” or “potato fudge”. However, if you are from Maine and familiar with Needhams you may be surprised to discover that the modern version has gone far astray from yesterday’s healthier and more wholesome homemade versions dating as far back as 1924.

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Thanksgiving Recipe: Traditional New England Indian Pudding

Within my collection of vintage Maine and New England community cook books dating back to the early 1900s are dozens and dozens of recipes for “Indian Pudding.” It’s a humble, mildly sweet and spicy baked cornmeal dessert served warm and paired with whipped or iced cream. Each recipe is as unique as the contributor. Even within one cook book there are sometimes multiple variations offered: Lottie adds tapioca, no eggs while Cora uses eggs and no tapioca. Mary bakes hers in a “slow oven” (lower temp) for four hours while Alice only bakes her for 1 1/2. After carefully reviewing my vintage sources I am offering you my own kitchen and taste tested (plus Wayne approved!) adaptation that’s made in a cast iron dutch oven. (This is an updated recipe from last year with new photos taken this morning!)

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Thanksgiving Recipe: Fruited Whole Grain Skillet Stuffing

For those of you who are gluten-free, your store-bought options are limited if you want stuffing that is free from Xanthan gum (I bring this up from time to time. Xanthan gum is in almost all gluten-free baked items. It’s the by-product of bacteria feeding on sugar that can have a laxative effect among other unwanted side-effects. No thanks!)

For those of you who love your gluten, you may love my recipe as much as Wayne does. It’s made from whole grain oat and corn flour with added fruits, then baked in an iron skillet. With the recent turkey salmonella scare it’s a good idea to not stuff your turkey and make a safe and delicious stuffing that’s just as good. Here is my favorite and original recipe.

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Vintage Maine Recipe: Banana Fritters

This simple circa 1930s recipe for banana fritters was inspired by Ms. Ann Knight’s version in The Fellowship Cook Book by Members and Friends of The Second Congregational Church in Norway, Maine. These fritters are sweet with a smooth texture and best eaten piping hot from the skillet. They have no refined sugars other than the optional dusting of powdered sugar for presentation.

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Autumn Recipe: Deep Dish Cortland Apple Pie

Wayne recently started a new job so our New England autumnal honeymoon is relegated to the weekends. I wanted to surprise him with something special after work. I knew he was dreading dinner somewhat because I was going to make the farmer’s market kale as a side dish. He hates kale but promised he’d give it a try, and only if I “cooked the **** out of it” and added loads of butter. What I didn’t tell him was that I was setting a special autumn themed table in the sunroom and serving rib eye steak and deep dish apple pie along with said sad kale.

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Gluten-Free Lemon & Elderflower Royal Wedding Cake

Are you getting excited for the Royal wedding!!! (That wasn’t a question.) OK, so I know not everyone is into it, but I am completely. I wanted to create a gluten-free cake inspired by American(!) chef Claire Ptak’s revelation about what the cake will be:

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Vintage Easter Recipe: Strawberry Puff Pudding

This recipe for Strawberry Puff Pudding is from my March 25th, 1937 copy of “What the Well Dressed Table Will Wear for Easter” published by A&P. It’s an airy, fruity gooey delight.

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Recipe: Gluten-Free Buckwheat Egg Pasta

I’ve been using store bought gluten-free pasta for decades because it was something I never dared to make on my own; I wrongly assumed I needed special equipment. Then I noticed a number of recipes in my vintage cookbooks for hand cut wheat egg noodles. The recipe in my 1936 copy of the Boston Cooking School Cook Book includes the usual vintage open-ended ratio of flour to eggs: “flour enough to make very stiff dough.” While this may seem daunting to some as it was to me at one time, I actually now like the freedom to make it work with my own gluten-free creations and ratios.

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