Recipes from 1939 Willing Workers Cookbook
Maple Springs Country Farm Cookbook - The Willing Workers Cookbook

We have an old cookbook here at the farm entitled "The Willing Workers Cookbook." The edition we have here is the 8th edition published by the Willing Workers Society of Frieden's Union Church Sumneytown, PA in 1939. The first edition I imagine was right around the turn of the century. Please keep in mind that the edition that we are working from was from the era of the Great Depression, so most of these recipes are creative, easy, nothing fancy, and reasonably priced. We would like to share with your some of the recipes and pages in the book that we found interesting. This page is actually part of a school project so you will find 10 sample recipes plus additional comments as required by the teacher!

And since the teacher doesn't believe me that it really is my senior project:
  • School Name - Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School
  • Unbeliving Teachers Name - Mrs Whitehead
  • Student Name - Ethan Brumbaugh
  • Class - Key Ingredients, America By Food
  • Date - January 21, 2011


***** Celery Soup*****
recipe page 19 comments

    Take 2 stalks of celery, cut into small pieces, boil until tender. Take one onion, six large white potatoes, cut into dice with a little parsley, add to the celery, boil until potatoes are soft, then add milk, a large piece of butter. Let all come to a boil. Season to taste and serve at once. Mrs Haspel.

As you can see this was nothing fancy. It was some boiled water with some milk and a little butter with easy to get a hold of vegetables - celery and potatoes. Easy reasonably priced meal.

***** Sandwiches of Dainty Colors *****
recipe page 25 comments

    Pink Filling - Ham ground fine and seasoned with salt and pepper and a little cream. Make moist to spread nicely.

    Green Filling - Green peppers ground very fine. Mixed with cream cheese.

    Yellow Filling - Make of deviled eggs, mash yolk of hard boiled egg, moisten with olive oil and a few drops vinegar. Work into a paste, add pepper and salt and mustard to taste. Cut white bread thin and spread between layers.

They took what they had and tried to make it interesting. It's just a sandwich, but when you are having company, serving the sandwiches of three different colors looks fancy. And that was what they were going for :) Just because they didn't have any money and didn't have much to work with doesn't mean they couldn't get creative. Entertaining on a shoestring.

***** Hot Cross Buns*****
recipe page 31 comments

    One cup scalded milk, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 tbsp butter, 1/2 tea salt, 1/2 yeast cake dissolved in 1/4 cup luke warm water, 3/4 tea cinnamon, 3 cups flour, 1 egg, 1/4 cup raisins, 1/4 cup currants. Add butter, salt and sugar to the milk then luke-warm add dissolved yeast, cinnamon, flour, egg well beaten and fruit. Cover and let raise until double in bulk. Shape into large biscuits. Place in pans one inch apart and let raise again. Brush over with beaten egg and bake 20 minutes or until done. When cool make a cross on each bun with frosting. Mrs John Bergey.

I picked this recipe because I think there is a song about it. It's not something you normally see, so it must have been something fancy in those days. I'm also going to guess that one of the reasons that they picked a cross to put on top of the buns is because during the days of the great depression was also a lot of great faith. And one of the symbols of faith is the cross so that's why they put them on top of their buns. :)

***** Railroad Sponge *****
recipe page 38 comments

    Beat together 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar and four eggs. Then add 1/4 cup of cold water, 2 cups of flour with 1 tablespoon baking powder. Mrs Frank Wilt.

What is missing from this recipe? Same thing that is missing in every single cake recipe in this cookbook! The temperature of the oven and the time! I'm guessing that there is no sense in putting it as they had no ovens like we know of today. They were baked by coal or wood stoves. Most homes had no electricity. As a baker, you know how to tell when your cake was done by touching your finger on the top or putting a knife in and seeing if it came out clean.

Under baking hints on page 51 - To test the oven - sprinkle a little dry flour on a tin and place it in the oven. If it is hot enough to bake a cake, the flour will be browned in about five minutes. If the bottom of oven is too hot, asbestos paper can be put under the pan. (What! did they say asbestos?????)

***** Crullers *****
recipe page 52 comments

    1 cup mashed potatoes mixed with 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar. Add 1 cup sweet milk, 2 eggs, 3 teaspoonsful of lard and 3 teaspoonfuls of baking powder in flour enough to stiffen. Fry in hot fat to brown. Mrs Frank Richard.

They used potatoes for a lot of things. This was probably left over mashed potatoes that someone had a good idea to mix with flour and fry them. Thus the donut was born. Back then they called it a cruller... Note again there is no exact measurement on the flour. You have to know how to eyeball it.

***** Apeas *****
recipe page 59 comments

    1/2 pound butter, 3 eggs, 1/2 pound pulverized sugar, 1/2 tea baking soda dissolved in a little vinegar. Add flour to stiffen. Mix at night and roll out very thin the next day. Cut in small round cookies. Mrs B H Stuckert.

The sugar comment is interesting. When I googled pulverized sugar, what it actually means is confectioners sugar, or 10x sugar. It's also interesting that it doesn't say anything about putting it in the refrigerator. Why make at night and let set till next day? Not sure. And do you have to bake it? Perhaps not. It is almost similar to the potato candy recipe. In that one I know you don't bake.

***** How to Make Vinegar *****
recipe page 87 comments

    Six quarts boiled water; when cold, add one pound of brown sugar, toast one piece of bread, spread it on one side only with one cake of fleishman's yeast, plate it on top of water, yeast side down. Put over vessel a white cloth and cover with plate or lid. Set aside in a dry, cool place four weeks, when it will be ready for use. Strain before using. Emma Gernert

We take for granted some of the things that we can just buy at the store. Vinegar is one of them. I totally didn't know that there was all that sugar in vinegar. Or yeast. People use vinegar for lots of things including cleaning. So really, they are cleaning with sugar and yeast!

***** Tomato Catsup*****
recipe page 91 comments

    one basket ripe tomatoes, boil and strain, then add one large tea of ground cloves, and same quantity each of cinnamon, allspice and celery seed, one fourth tea of cayenne pepper, and one large tbsp of ground mustard, salt to taste, one onion size of a walnut, sugar to taste; boil three hours, adding one cup of vinegar the last half hour. Put spices and celery seed in a bag, to be taken out when catsup is sufficiently flavored.

Another thing you just go to the store to buy and we take for granted. They used to make their catsup by hand with the tomatoes from their garden. The other thing I want to point out is in todays day and time the spelling it way different - it is now called ketchup.

***** Coffee *****
recipe page 97 comments

    One pint ground coffee, two eggs, one gallon boiling water; break eggs into coffee, add enough cold water to moisten, stir and add the boiling water, boil 2 minutes and let stand from eight to ten minutes. Drain off grounds and serve. Enough for 24 cups.

Seriously. Eggs in coffee? Really? When you think about it eggs are protein. Perhaps if you drank that you didn't need your breakfast? Very interesting recipe to me.

***** Peanut Brittle *****
recipe page 104 comments

    One pint of nuts chopped fine. Put a sauce pan on the stove, let it get warm, then put in two pounds of granulated sugar, stir it over a slow fire until it melts; when pale coffee color and clear, add the nuts and pour quickly on buttered tin. When cool, pull as thin as possible and break in small pieces when cold. Katie Goettel.

This is one recipe that I thought I might like. It looks like a nut candy. I thought it was nice that you can do it over a fire. It's like something maybe I could try over the campfire.

***** Ice Cream Candy*****
recipe page 105 comments

    Two cups granulated sugar, a scant half cup of water, butter the size of a walnut, one-fourth tea cream of tartar. Flavor with vanilla. Boil until it cracks when dropped into cold water. Do not stir. Pour into buttered tins, and when cool pull until white. Alice Hiltebeitel.

When I saw the name of this recipe, I was thinking of icecream like we know it today. But what they really meant was "iced" "cream". As in cream that is iced.

***** General Tips & Remedies*****
Before preparing meat that is not quite fresh, or that has stood for some time, sprinkle it lightly with baking soda and all unpleasantness will be done away. with. Lemon juice is also good for this purpose.

Keep a glass jar in your kitchen, and when you have small pieces of soap, drop them into it and cover with water. A soap jelly will form which is fine to use in the wash boiler or for washing dishes. If used for washing clothes, add a tbsp of borax.

Mix fine sawdust with glue to a stiff paste for filling nail holes or cracks and the patch will hardly be discernible, especially if the sawdust is of the same wood that is mended.

When ink is spilled on carpet, wash it up immediately with luke-warm soapy water. Have plenty of clean water at hand, so that inky water need not get back on the carpet.

Rub a drop of olive oil on steel knives and forks which are to be put away. They will retain their brightness and be free from rust when needed.

When using stale bread for puddings always soak it in a cold liquid. Bread that has been soaked in cold milk or water is light and crumbly whereas that soaked in hot liquids is heavy.

When cooking cabbage never add the salt until the vegetable is cooked, as it makes the cabbage tough. Instead, when the water boils, put in a pinch of baking soda, add the salt five minutes before serving.

To mend a hole in a lace curtain, take a piece of paper, place it over the hole and work down and across with the sewing machine. When the curtain is washed the paper will drop out and the darn cannot be seen.

When a tag comes off a shoe lace press a little melted black sealing wax around the end of the lace and shape it to form a tag.

To mend a hole in an umbrella, take a piece of black court-plaster to prevent cracking of the plaster.

A nail should be dropped in hot water before it is driven into plaster to prevent cracking of the plaster.

Mildew on leather may be removed with a little pure vaseline. Rub this into the leather till quite absorbed and then carefully polish with clean chamois.

An easily made cement for china is made by mixing a thick solution of gum arabic to a paste with plaster of paris. Dissolve the gum in boiling water and, when cold, mix with sufficient plaster and apply to the edges of the broken article. Press firmly together and a strong joint will be the result.

When mashing potatoes or other vegetables, never use cold milk but hot, then they will be hot and fluffy.

Rice or other foods will not boil over on the stove if the top of the kettle is rubbed with butter or lard, for then the water will not rise above the rim.

Milk will not scorch if before heating a little cold water is put into the saucepan and brought to the boil. Then add the milk and heat the usual way.

When making muffins, drop cakes, and things of that sort, dip the spoon in cold water or milk. The batter will not stick to the spoon, and the cakes will be more even in size.

A small quantity of the green sage placed in the pantry will keep out red ants

To remove shine from black silk, wet a piece of flannel with cider vinegar and rub the shiny places well until all the shine has disappeared. Then hang up to dry.

When the bristles of hair brushes become soft, wash the brush well in about a quart of hot water to which a dessert spoon of ammonia has been added. Then dissolve a large lump of salt in cold water, dip the brush in several times and leaves to dry in the open air. Dry with bristle side down.

For ink stains - Soak in sour milk.. If a dark stain remains, rinse in a weak solution of chloride of lime.

Sewing machine oil stains - Rub with lard. Let stand for several hours, then wash with cold water and soap.

To Remove coffee stains - Soak the linen in cold water, to which has been added a little borax. Chocolate, tea, and fruit stains will disappear if boiling water be poured over and through the spot before the linen is washed. It is best to do this while the stain is fresh and damp.

A Few Drops of Ammonia in water when applied with a dampened sponge will greatly brighten the colors in a dark carpet.

If brooms are dipping in boiling soap suds or hot salt water a few minutes weekly they will last much longer

When a shoe pinches, a sponge dipped in ht water and placed on the part of the boot which draws most, will expand the leather and make it more comfortable.

To Remove Letters from flour, sugar, and salt bags, sprinkle with kerosene; let remain all night; in the morning boil the bags in strong suds.

Dip the Knife in cold water before slicing Hard Boiled Eggs.

To Remove the Odor of Onions from Hands - wash them in cold water.

When making starch - add a small piece of paraffin and a little salt; keep the starch boiling until the paraffin has all dissolved. This will prevent the irons from sticking.

Bread Crumbs always be used for frying oysters and fritters. Cracker crumbs absorb the grease.

Stale bread dried and put through the meat chopper is much finer and more even than rolling it.

If wicks for oil stoves are starched and ironed, they can be fitted into burners without difficulty.

Soak iodine stains in ammonia and they will disappear. To remove stains from the hands, rub with a slice of lemon or the juice of a raw

Use a wooden clothes pin as a pot scraper. It will leave no marks on fine granite or porcelain ware.

To Remove Grass Stains - saturate the spot with alcohol, then wash with clear water.

If a class stopper is fixed, tap around it with another and it will loosen.

To prevent tinware from rusting - before using it rub the surface well with lard and heat the utensil thoroughly in the oven.

Overalls and such heavy articles should be dipped in the tub of water then laid on the washboard, thoroughly soaped and scrubbed with a scrubbing brush.

To dry parsley for winter use, put it into paper bags and hang where the contents dry quickly.

Insoles cut from an old felt hat will keep the feet warm and dry without clumsiness.

When a kid glove tears or splits, take a buttonhole stitch along the torn edges, then whip the buttonhole stitches together

Before darning stockings with woolen yard, shrink the yarn in the stream of a tea kettle.

When the recipe calls for fruits and nuts, mix them thoroughly before passing through the food chopper

A little sugar or molasses added to stove polish gives a brighter and more lasting polish; also prevents so much dust.

A meat chopper may be better cleaned by running a raw potato through the machine before washing.

When sweeping carpets, always remember to sweep the way of the nap. To brush the wrong way is bad for the carpet and tends to brush the dust in instead of out. Wipe brush of the carpet sweeper with a cloth dampened with kerosene.

Do not dry a silk garment after washing, but roll it up in a clean white cloth for about an hour and iron while damp with an iron not too hot.

The wrapping papers from baker's bread are excellent to wrap school lunches; also cake and other food you wish to keep from drying out.

When making a merangue add to the whites a pinch of cream of tartar, when about half beaten. This will keep the merangue from falling.

To keep linen a good color, drop a few pieces of camphor gum into the drawers in which it is kept.

If Something you are cooking happens to scorch, set the kettle with contents in cold water and there will be no scorched taste.

Place potatoes, cabbage or anything that requires cutting in a wooden dish and chop with the sharp edge of a baking powder can.

Oil meat grinder, egg beater, and other cooking utensils with glycerine. This will not affect the article by odor or taste.

Creaking doors and drawers should be rubbed with hard soap

Cold water and ivory soap will remove grease spots from cotton and woolen fabrics.

When using plaster of Paris to close up cracks and holes add a tablespoon of flour to about two cupfuls of plaster of paris before mixing with water it will not harden so quickly.

To get rid of buffalo moths or carpet beetles, sprinkle pyrethrum powder in places frequented by them.

A good furniture polish is made by mixing eight ounces of sweet oil, four ounces of turpentine and two ounces mild ammonia. Apply with a cloth and polish with a woolen cloth.

Heat your knife before cutting fresh bread or cake and it will cut more easily.

If the sewing machine works heavily, oil frequently with a good lubricator, following a thorough cleansing with absorbent cotton and kerosene oil.

When Cooking dried fruits, sugar should not be added more than ten minutes before removing from the fire.

To Remove the lumps from pulverized sugar, heat slightly in the oven until it will crush easily. Be careful not to get it too hot.

To clean jet trimming, wipe the article with a piece of black cloth dipped in equal parts of gin and water; then wipe dry and lay it in the sun for a few hours.

When doing kitchen work keep the hands smooth by rubbing with salt and rinsing in tepid water.

To Take out tar on wash material, rub well into the tar fresh lard let it lie for several hours then wash out with soap.

When basting a wool garment use silk instead of cotton thread. You can leave this basting in until after the final pressing and there will be no marks showing where the basting was done.

It is hard sometimes to remove paper from raisin, Place the package of raisins in the oven for a few minutes. The paper comes off like magic and the raisins will fall apart.

Rinse the milk tumblers in cold water before washing them in hot water. If they are put in hot water first the heat dries the milk and gives the glass a cloudy appearance, which cannot be removed

Stains on tea cups can be removed by salt and vinegar

Hot vinegar will remove paint from windows

Onion remedy for influenza and pneumonia - take six or ten onions, according to size, and chop fine; put in a large pan over a fire, then add the same quantity of rye meal and vinegar enough to make a thick paste. Stir it thoroughly, letting it simmer for five or ten minutes. Then put in a cotton bag large enough to cover the lungs; ally to chest as hot as the patient can bear. In about ten minutes apply another, and thus continue by reheating the poulticies. Usually three or four applications will be sufficient.

Treatment for acute indigestion - is to empty the stomach as quickly as possible by drinking four or five cups of warm water, one after the other, without resting. This procedure almost immediately breaks up the indigestible substances in the stomach and they are promptly ejected. After the stomach is emptied it is advisable to take effervescent citrate of magnesia or a seidlitz powder, then lie down to rest. No food should be taken if the stomach "feels sick". Small pieces of ice may be sucked to relieve thirst and nausea. Later the patient can take light nourishment such as milk and lime water and light broth in small quantities at frequent intervals. The return to solid food should be gradual.

A cast of simple indigestion may be cured by drinking a cup of hot water. Adding one teaspoon of baking soda.

To stop hiccoughs, give the patient a tea of granulated sugar and vinegar. If this does not give instant relief, repeat the dose.

Rub frosted feet with vaseline camphor ice, both night and morning for a few days. Then rub them with carbonated vaseline, night and morning for a few days more. Apply these two things for about a week and the pain will disappear. To paint with iodine is also a remedy.

Fill your leaky hot water bad with sand instead of water. Heat the sand in the oven and pour it into the bag through a funnel. It will retain the heat just as well as hot water.

If your spectacles cloud in winter, or sweat in summer, coat the lenses lightly with toilet soap, then wipe off with a silk handkerchief, or a piece of tissue paper until bright and clear. This need not be renewed for several days.

Home made cough syrup - Honey and lemon make a good cough syrup for children.

Cold remedy - baked sugar and lemon is a good cold remedy

An old fashioned cough remedy is made as follows: one pint molasses, a spoonful of ginger, half cup of butter, one cup vinegar. Cook slowly for one hour. Take a spoonful hot every few moments.

Bathing in bed should always be done under a blanket.

Do not have a patient's bed face a window, for even with the shade down the light is likely to cause headache. Rest and sleep are so needful to gain strength, that the patient should not be awakened, even for medicine, unless the physician orders it. Do not allow visitors, if they excite the patient, Do not sit on the bed.

To change the bed linen without disturbing the patient much, fold the sheet in narrow, lengthwise folds; roll the patient on his side and, as you let out a fold of the clean sheet, cover the edge of the bed on the side toward the patient's back, and keep the soiled sheet shoved loose, ahead of the other as you let it out fold by fold, until the patient's back is reached; then roll him on to the clean place, pull off the other and finish placing the clean one.

To avoid sweeping, wipe the carpet with a damp cloth wrung from clean water; in contagious disease, put creolin in the water.

Ventilite the room thoroughly each day; when stormy weather prevents the usual opening of a window, raise the lower sash and stretch a piece of flannel across the open space, using thumb tacks to fasten it to the window frame and casement.

To cool the room, hand large thick wet cloths in the windows and doors.

To sweeten the sick room, burn orange peel on a shovel; it will immediately leave a pleasant odor.

For tainting - place flat on the back with the head lower than the rest of the body; cold water to the face, and warmth to the feet.

Soak blood stains in cold salt water; then wash in warm water with soap, afterwards boil.

A simple remedy for burns is a mixture of linseed oil and lime water in equal parts, shaken well and applied instantly. Baking soda will allay the smart of a burn or scald if sifted thickly over the raw surface. Or apply at once cosmoline.

For sprains, put the part in hot water, as hot as can be borne.

Swallowing a piece of dry bread is usually the remedy for removing a fish bone from the throat; but a better one is for the person to suck a lemon and swallow the juice slowly. The citric acid in the lemon will quickly dissolve the bone to a jelly, which will harmlessly slip down the throat. Vinegar can also be used.

To stop bleeding of the nose, put plug of lint in each nostril, cold application to back of neck, or snuff hot water or powdered alum up nostrils.

To remove cinder in the eye, roll a strip of soft paper like a lamp lighter, wet the tip, and take out the cinder, or draw it out with a medicine dropper.

For insect in the ear - immediately place the person on the side and fill the ear with sweet oil. Remain in this position, and the insect will die. A discharge from the ear is always serious. If shows there is an existing inflammation which will destroy the hearing. An ear specialist should be consulted.

For insect stings apply weak ammonia, oil, iodine, or salt water.

Neuralgia is often relieved by holding a cloth wrung out of hot water to the affected part.

Dissolve three or four lumps of loaf sugar in a glass of ice water, and take a teaspoonful every few minutes for a tickling in the throat or hacking cough. Keep it ice cold.

Sage tea, sweetened with honey, is good for a sore throat. Use as a gargle, with a small bit of alum dissolved in it.

For a burn apply equal parts of white of egg and olive oil mixed together, then cover with a piece of old linen. If applied at once no blister will form. Or apply at once baking soda, then cover with cloth and keep the same wet with cold water.

To relieve strained and tired eyes: bathe frequently with warm water in which boric acid has been dissolved. About a heaping teaspoon to a pint of warm water. A small pinch of salt to all tumbler of water, used occasionally, will also be beneficial.

Chamomile and gentian teas are excellent tonics taken either hot or cold.

Mint tea, made from green leaves, crushed in cold or hot water and sweetened, is palatable and healing to the stomach and bowels.

For ivy poison - Tow heaping tea boric acid dissolved in a tumbler full of hot water, mop on the part affected, let dry without wiping, then apply zinc ointment. Twice or three times a day is sufficient.

Handkerchiefs used for a cold should be soaked ina solution of boric acid, one or two per cent or stronger, then boiled for fifteen minutes..

To produce vomiting, one tea of mustard dissolved in a glass of warm water.

For indigestion - add one tea each of baking soda, peppermint and spirits of ammonia to one pint of cold boiled water. Take a tbsp every hour until relieved.

Gargle for a sore throat - tow tea of boric acid powder in a tumbler of boiling water. When cool gargle the throat thoroughly every few hours. The remedy is not a poison. Another valuable gargle is made by taking a half glass of water and a tea of baking soda.

Solution for a rash - one tea of ebsom salt in half a glass of cold water. Apply freely.

For weak heart action - take a half to a tea of aromatic spirits of ammonia in one third glass of cold water; repeat dose in twenty minutes. It is also useful for headache, dyspepsia, and nervousness.

For stomach cramps - stir a tea of ginger in half a glass of hot water in which a half tea of baking soda has been dissolved. Repeat this dose in an hour if not relieved.

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