Kitchen Sense: The Retro Recipe Project
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.