History of American Homecooking

American Recipe History

History of American Recipes and Homecooking

The American home cook is gregarious, generous, and, usually, a bit goofy. She excels at creating food that is plentiful and tasty.

Unfortunately, because American recipes use cups instead of grams and sometimes product sizes, it is difficult to translate and use American home cooking recipes in the UK. However, the spirit of home cooking is universal.

How many recipes have you read on the Internet or Pinterest that refer to a “stick of butter” or a “package of cream cheese”? A half-cup of walnuts is 50g, half cup of butter is 75g and a half cup of milk is about 100ml plus a half cup measuring cup in the UK is not the same as an American half cup measuring cup. Confusing indeed!

Brands & How To Use New Products

Brits also seem to get annoyed at the use of brands in traditional American recipes. There is a reason for this. Before the days of the “women’s magazines” or the Internet, putting suggested recipes on the packaging taught people how to use their products and inspire brand loyalty. Giving away cookbooks was also a way to entice customers into trying new brands.

american recipes
image from amazon.co.uk

Major UK supermarkets still employ this tactic. Waitrose & Partners Food magazine is definitely my favourite. I’m a member of their loyalty programme just to get the free magazine every month.

Sometimes, though, branded ingredients do matter. Our no-bake cheesecake is 1000% more delicious with Lotus Biscoff as the biscuit base. Also, we adore Matthews Cotswold Flours and use them in many of our bakes. It isn’t mandatory to use their brand but they do offer a superior product (and we get the benefit of being able to Shop Local).

lotus biscoff base

American Home Cooking

We started with our own knowledge and various cookbooks and recipe boxes gathered from three generations of our American family to create our collection of traditional American recipes.

The Making of an American Home Cook

Before the Internet, we had to collect, swap and catalog our own recipes. When getting married, it is the tradition that you have a wedding shower – usually hosted by one of your Aunts. This is sort of like an afternoon tea with your extended female family so that they can “shower” you with gifts, advice and well wishes.

Because getting married meant setting up your own home, the traditional gift would be something for the house. If you chose a kitchen gift, for example, a fluted pie dish, you would include your favourite traditional American recipe for pie – preferably handwritten – on a recipe card.

recipe pile

Print Magazines or Newspapers

Some of our most treasured traditional American recipes came from product packaging and print magazines or newspapers. My personal favourite magazine is Taste of Home where not only your recipe was published but also your photo and a little biography. Of course, you can do this yourself on millions of websites (or make your own website) but there is something really satisfying about seeing your picture and recipe in print.

American Home Cooking Recipes

Cook & Enjoy

This whole site has been a labour of love as a way to document our family recipes for a new audience. Most of the folks who made these recipes famous in our family have passed on but their carefully curated recipes, notes and memories are still going strong. We hope you cook and enjoy with your loved ones any or all of our recipes.