Kitchen Sense: The Retro Recipe Project

By Adriana Gallo / Photography By Adriana Gallo | June 01, 2014
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Block Island Cookbook published in 1962

Dusting off the Book Jackets to Bring New Life to Outmoded Recipes

Vintage cookbooks are a fascination of mine. I’m not interested in them so much as sources of instruction but as a means of understanding an era or community. My favorites are those small town versions compiled by individuals or community organizations. I love poring over their quirky recipes and the illustrations too.

Dubbed the Retro Recipe Project, it all started with a book compiled by the Sunday School Builders at the First Baptist Church in Old Harbor, Block Island. Published in 1962, the Block Island Cookbook: A Collection of Favorite Recipes includes the congregation’s favorite recipes adapted from grandmothers, newspaper clippings and longtime New England traditions.

The first recipes I tried from this cookbook can be found on the Retro Recipe Project blog. This time around I explored three more sweet treats: decadent Frosted Coffee Squares, a basic Pound Cake and an unusual Lemon Sponge Pie.

Recipes like these remind me of the strength and integrity of the most basic of ingredients. They show that with a bit of butter, some flour and fresh local eggs, the simplest baked goods can come to life—and that is perhaps the ultimate lesson of these “retro” recipes.

Article from Edible Rhody at
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