Old Fashioned Recipes

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only a fool argues with the cook

Only a fool argues with the cook. Poster available at Legends’ General Store.

Head Cheese

  • 20 lbs pork–heads, hearts, tongues, and if using beef, should be shanks and necks.
  • 5 lbs beef
  • 1 oz pepper
  • 1/2 lb salt
  • 1/4 oz Allspice
  • 1/2 oz cloves
  • 4 lbs meat stock

Put the meat in a large kettle and cover with water then simmer for 2 or 3 hours until the meat is very tender. The meat is then taken from the liquid and separated from the bones. Cut the meat into cubes. Add the seasonings and measure 4 lbs. of the liquid in which the meat was cooked (meat stock) and add this. Mix the whole thing thoroughly until the seasonings are worked into the meat. The meat is then put into hog paunches or beef straight and laid out to cool. They may be pressed by laying a weighted board over them. If you prefer you may place the headcheese in bowls or bread pans.

Old Fashion Turkey

  •  1 – 16 – 20 lb turkey (fresh is better than frozen)
  •  1 lb of fresh sausage
  •  4 pkgs of bread cubes with the spices included
  •  1 stalk of celery
  •  1 medium size red onion
  •  3 fresh apples, cored and sliced
  •  1 pkg dried apricots
  •  1 pkg dried peaches
  •  1 pkg dried pears
  •  1 box raisins
  •  1/2 lb walnuts, chopped
  •  1/4 lb butter, melted
  •  chicken or turkey broth
  •  1/2 gal apple cider (apple juice may be used)
  •  1/4 lb. butter (this is for the basting sauce)

Chop onions and celery med. fine, not too large and not too small. Brown sausage then saute’ onions and celery in sausage drippings.  Cut dried fruit into quarters min.  In a very large bowl or pot (I use a canning pot) add one bag of bread cubes with envelope of seasoning (I always add my own seasons such as sage, poultry seasoning, garlic, and etc.).  Add some sausage, onion & celery mixture, sliced apples, and each type of dried fruit, raisins, and walnuts.  Add the next bag of bread cubes and repeat the layering.  Do this until all the dry ingredients are used.  Add the melted butter followed by chicken broth or turkey broth and mix the dressing until you obtain the desired texture or moisture you like.

Stuff the turkey.  Place extra dressing in a casserole dish and bake.

Put the apple cider (fresh is the best if you can get it) and 1/4 lb butter warm the cider until the butter melts.  Stir the mixture before basting.  Baste every 30 – 45 min. until turkey is done.

Make turkey gravy in usual manner.

This recipe can be used for oven baking OR barbecuing the turkey. When barbecuing, bank the coals and place a drip pan under the turkey to catch the drippings for your gravy.  Barbecuing gives the bird a more authentic flavor of the old way as the pioneers must have enjoyed turkey.

Emigrant’s Stew

  • 3 lbs beef cubes
  • 1 Tbsp shortening
  • 1 red onion coarsely chopped
  • 2 tsp salt; pepper
  • 2 Tablespoon flour
  • 2 cups canned tomatoes with juice
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 turnip cut into small cubes
  • 4 peeled potatoes (figure on 1 potato per person)
  • 2 cups diced celery
  • 8 or more carrots peeled cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 8 pearl onions
  • 4 cups water (may be more water you need to cover ingredients)

Brown beef cubes in shortening. Place browned beef cubes and drippings into a large, heavy pot.  Add red onion, salt, pepper and dry mustard.  Stir in flour and add canned tomatoes with juice. Cover and cook slowly for about 1 hour or until meat is tender.

Add vegetables and water. Cover and simmer at least 1 to 2 hours until the vegetables and potatoes are tender.  Serve hot.  Fresh baked bread is excellent with this old time stew.

Compiled and edited by Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated July 2020.

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Grub Pile Poem Postcard

Grub Pile Poem Postcard from Legends’ General Store

Also See:

The Chuckwagon – Western Recipes

Campfire Recipes

Dutch Oven Recipes

Flavors of the Mother Road – Route 66 Recipes

Frontier Recipes – The Real Stuff from the Old West