Week three of cooking through my heirloom antique and vintage cookbook collection, and I’m serving up a recipe that made my First Reader’s eyes light up when he saw it.
He loves anything that calls for mushrooms. This recipe comes from the 1929 International Cook Book, and you can find some of the contributors in the Vintage Kitchen photo album, as the book was compiled from world-famous (at the time!) chefs by a enchanting looking woman who was also portrayed in a photograph. The equivalent of a modern-day Food Network star, I suspect.
On first glance, this is a simple recipe. But then, when I started to pull together the ingredients, I realized that her can was probably not my can… which can? What does that mean? Augh!!
But after I’d gotten over my existential tomato anguish, I decided that I’d go with the 14 oz can, and that I’d put it all in. I still have no idea what size cans of tomatoes were in 1929. That was the year of the Great Crash, and the Depression, and this book was published at the height of wealth and hubris in our nation. Still, there’s some yummy recipes in it. It does bring into perspective the wealth we have now, that I look at the recipes in this book and don’t bat an eye at making them for, well, easy meals, nothing special. At least this one is more comfort food and very tasty than it is fancy.
Bacon, mushrooms… there’s no way this dish isn’t a winner. But when we were standing over it sniffing while it simmered, we looked at one another and said: ‘You know what this would be good for?’ Pizza. Or to serve over pasta as a version of spaghetti. Oooh! It would be terrific folded into an omelette. Or… So many options. It’s delicious, but the toast is a little weird.
When we do it again, and we will! We’ll leave off the bacon. The bacon grease for frying up was lovely, but the bacon itself felt like it wasn’t really connected to the dish. We save bacon grease, so we don’t need to fry up the bacon and put it on. I used a can of tomatoes that had peppers in it, because I just don’t keep a lot of diced tomatoes in the pantry, and it added a lot of spice which was nice, but we want to try it again without that.
The First Reader says that it was tasty, but would be better served as a sauce than a main dish. I agree with him – I don’t know if it was meant as a side dish or if the way we eat has just changed.
printable recipe with my notes below
- 4 slices bacon
- 1/2 can of tomatoes (I used one 14 oz can)
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 8 medium mushrooms, quartered (I used 8 oz, sliced)
- 1 tbsp sugar (I would omit this when I make it again, but tastes differ)
- 1/8 tsp pepper