Dated Cooking or Don’t Write Recipes No One will Understand in a Decade

I love old cookbooks. I enjoy the sense of past, the sharing of recipes, the taste of a time period. I can even understand why cookbooks in the 1800s perplex modern cooks–though with enough food historians, you can figure out what a hens egg amount of something might be for the most part.

More troubling is the more modern recipe that befuddles. I don’t mind explaining to my child that oleo in a cookbook means margarine. I remember oleo after all.

On the other hand, I came across a recipe for “Angel Food Heavenly Hash” today. I can guess at the dimensions of the 1 large homemade angel food cake and won’t fault that.
The 7 5 cent Hershey bars present more of a puzzle. Enough research and I could determine the ounces involved. (How much chocolate did 5 cents buy in 1958?)
But 4 oz “Dot” chocolate? What? A bit of googling indicates this is most likely a chocolate made for coating candy–like a chocolate bark or the melting chocolate for candy making/dipping.

It’s a reminder that no matter how much you think a product won’t vanish, change names or expand into various varieties–if you want or expect people to use the same recipe years from now–it helps to explain the specifics.

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