Meaty Mainstays

Kirk Douglas’ Favorite Meatloaf

December 9, 2016

Loved chatting with Monica Eng about finding vintage recipes for her podcast with Louisa Chu–listen to the segment here (the vintage recipe chat starts at the 18 minute mark.) “Chewing the Fat.” Here’s one of the featured stories (links to more of the featured recipe stories are included in the last paragraph below):

Before there was Michael Douglas (Fatal Attraction, Basic Instinct and a zillion more movies,) there was Kirk Douglas, a 1940s matinee idol with the deep cleft in his chin some of my boys have, but dislike. (They call it a “butt chin”…) If it weren’t for Ant Man, in which Michael had a nice role, and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, which Noah considers “epic” for it’s crude special effects (first sci-fi shot in Cinemascope), my kids would be unfamiliar with either of these actors. But back in the seventies, Kirk was still, very much, a familiar film legend. Which is where this meatloaf comes in… Continue Reading…

Vintage Veg

Sunchokes Two Ways: Soup & Smashed Potato

December 9, 2016

Earthy, sexy, silky, sunchokes beguile. To me, they’re like truffles in their scent and ability to make you crave just a little bit more. Peeled, simmered and pureed, these unlovely-looking little lumps transform into a beautifully aromatic soup. Or simmered and smashed with spinach, potato and garlic they make a delicious, original side. Continue Reading…

Breakfast Buns

Caramel Pecan Sticky Buns

December 9, 2016

In a typical day, Shelby McCreedy might deal with, oh, money laundering, public indecency, intoxication, and some kind of theft. A special agent for the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation,  McCreedy “deals with bad guys all day.” But at home? “I’m like Betty Crocker—with a gun,” she jokes. Continue Reading…

Appetizers & Snacks

Wine-Poached Pears

December 9, 2016

As far back as the 15th century, English cooks discovered that wine-poaching hard pears made them both tender and palatable. One Syon Abbey recipe had cooks: “pare wardens (hard cooking pears) clean, seethe them in red wine till they be tender, then take them up and put them in a pot; put thereto wine of Crete or Vernage (Verona)…powder of sugar and powder of ginger and let them boil awhile and then serve forth.” Continue Reading…

Baked Treats

Jam Tart (or, Best Basic Bar Cookies)

December 9, 2016

The bar cookie brings with it the promise of plenty, the memory of family gatherings where people talked long and laughingly and dessert was a reward for kids who cleaned their plates. With all the press about eating in season, it’s nice to remember that the humble bar cookie showcased that long before it was en vogue, featuring whatever came from the garden or farmstand. Fresh, first, and then from preserves that had been “put by.” Continue Reading…

Cookie Kitchen

Marshall Field’s Chinese Chews

December 9, 2016

I would never have thought to put dates with chocolate. But wow! So good! The result, as exemplified in this 1947 cookie recipe from the much-missed Marshall Field’s department store kitchens, is way better than any of you date-doubters out there might expect. Continue Reading…


Franklin Park BBQ Day Sloppy Joes

December 7, 2016

PTA School Barbecue Day has been a beloved tradition at Franklin Park, IL, District 84 schools since the 1950s. Featuring PTA-mom-made Sloppy Joes that fill the halls with the delicious aroma of seasoned beef, this monthly tradition was–back then–the only day kids didn’t have to go home for lunch. “For grade school boys, ordering food for Barbecue Day was a prelude to an eating contest,” remembers one LRF reader who wrote in for the recipe. “I remember washing our desks with liquid soap from the bathrooms while we waited for the food to come, propping the desktops level so the food wouldn’t slide off. And then the sandwiches, wrapped in paper, would be delivered to our desks along with chips, chocolate snack cake and a carton of milk.” Continue Reading…

Cookie Kitchen

Lutz’s Raspberry Nut Bars

December 7, 2016

One of Chicago’s most famous pastry chefs until his death in 2011, Lutz Olkiewicz  was sweets master at the Drake hotel for 25 years, followed by corporate pastry-chefdom at Sara Lee. Although known for complicated treats, Lutz worked wonders with simple desserts, too. These Raspberry Nut bar cookies are a good example. Continue Reading…

Cookie Kitchen

Grandma Bertha’s Apricot Delights

December 7, 2016

Although there’s not much razzle dazzle on the outside, beauty–delicate, buttery, apricot-tender, cinnamon-sugared perfection–lies within.  Susan Levin of Long Grove, IL, tells us that as an only child, she loved going to her Grandma Bertha’s for a Saturday-night sleepover full of baking. Years later, Susan acquired a boyfriend with a, “serious sweet tooth.”  He, too, loved Grandma’s Apricot Delights. So much so, that he made a special plea that Susan learn how to make them. Continue Reading…