Peanut Macaroons

I prefer using old cookbooks in my kitchen. One of the reasons is that the recipes use common ingredients, many of which I grow in my garden, just like the cookbooks’ readers would have. Another reason is that the recipes use those common ingredients in creative ways. During World War I, U.S. residents were encouraged to limit their use of wheat, meat, and sugar, and increase their use of fruits and vegetables. A century later, we’re playing the same tune…

Peanut Macaroons is a recipe from a wheatless cookbook published in 1918, 100 years ago. I’ve made it several times and enjoy this variation of a regular peanut butter cookie. They are unmistakably peanutty, but light and crispy.  

Normally, peanuts (or nuts in general) aren’t considered a frugal ingredient, but for the housewives in 1918, peanuts would have been a crop most could grow in a home garden, unlike other wheat-free flours. In my case, Wal-mart put all their baking nuts on clearance after Christmas. I paid less than $1 a pound, which is cheaper than most wheat-free flours.

Incidentally, that’s one reason why it’s so hard to label foods as frugal or expensive. A bargain for one person is a luxury for another. Depending on where I’ve lived throughout the U.S., shrimp, pecans, and raspberries have been so abundant that they’ve become staples and taken for granted.

 

Print Recipe
Peanut Macaroons
a 1918 recipe, created during WWI as an alternative to wheat-based cookies
Cook Time 30 min.
Servings
cookies (approx.)
Ingredients
Cook Time 30 min.
Servings
cookies (approx.)
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Chop or blend the peanuts into finely ground. Beat egg white until stiff, slowly add sugar, salt, peanuts, and vanilla. Drop by tablespoon on a greased pan and bake in a slow oven (300-325 degrees) for about 30 minutes or until brown.

An Early Breakfast

“If you want an early breakfast, you must have potatoes and cracked wheat or oatmeal boiled the day before; then coffee can be made, beefsteak cooked, potatoes stewed or fried in American style, the mush steamed or fried brown, and griddle cakes begun or eggs boiled, in fifteen minutes from the time you come down.  Time yourself by the clock, day after day, until you can do this.” -1884

I must admit, ever so humbly, that I have mastered the art of pulling boxes of cold cereal from the cupboard and cartons of yogurt from the refrigerator, and turning on the coffeemaker, all in less than 15 minutes.  I’m a blur of housewifery in action.

But a fast breakfast isn’t always the cheapest option so I’m always looking for ways to save time as well as money.  How am I working to speed up the breakfast process? The advice from 1884 holds true. Plan ahead!  Why is it that any job, however simple, seems to take less time in the evening than it does in the morning?  Here are a few examples that have helped me.

 

  • I cook 2-3 times the number of potatoes I’d normally cook for a meal, then store the rest in the refrigerator.  I’ll shred them up and fry into hash browns, with a fried egg on top or slice them up for a fried potatoes.  Precooked potatoes also give me a head start for breakfast burritos.
  • I always make multiple batches of muffins, waffles, and French toast.  They freeze and reheat just fine.
  • I soak oatmeal the night before.  I combine equal parts oatmeal and water with a spoonful of yogurt in a saucepan.  In the morning, I add the same amount of water again, with some sort of fruit and heat it up.  By the time it’s warmed, it’s cooked and ready to eat.
  • I schedule a breakfast routine.  Sunday is always cold cereal, Monday is oatmeal, Thursday is pancakes or waffles.  Having a regular routine reduces my need to think and not having to think always speeds my life up considerably.

These are a few of the strategies that I’ve intentionally begun to use.  It’s been an incredibly useful plan once it’s established.  Not only is breakfast served with less preparation time, but I get on with my day sooner because there is less clean-up involved.

Do you have any tips to make your breakfast routine smoother?  If you ask me, there’s no such thing as too much help in this area!

Using What We Have on Hand

…we women should seek first the kingdom of righteousness in making ourselves efficient users of those things around us, things we can be bountifully supplied with at all times, before we aspire to become users of articles that come from distant parts and are not always easy to get.  -1905

Healthy food blogs nowadays have become a little wearisome.  The recipe looks delicious,  but wading through the ingredient list is complicated–

  • lard (home-rendered from grass-fed organic heritage pork fat)
  • milk (raw, organic, A-2 spring milk, preferably)
  • mayonnaise (homemade from organic avocado oil and organic brown eggs)
  • honey (raw, local) and my favorite,
  • pastured eggs (because eggs like to roll in the grass under open skies as much as anyone else!)

Anything less than the finest quality ingredients will result in irritable bowels, a leaky gut, gout, and cancer (or worse!), so we’re told.

Of course we want to provide our families the best of everything.  But sometimes, the best is cost-prohibitive, out of season, or simply not easily available to us.  If we could afford it, I don’t think any of us would decline a juicy, garden-grown tomato for one of those dry, tasteless ones shipped from parts unknown in the winter.   It’s not as if we intentionally bypassed all the cheap, raw, grass-fed milk available at every convenience store in town and drove to the next county to buy a farmer’s expensive pasteurized, homogenized, antibiotic-laden skim milk.  Only in recent history have we had access to food sourced from all over the world.

We women often feel pressured to supply our families with the very best quality ingredients at any cost.  To those of us struggling to maintain grocery budgets, health experts advise, “What you don’t spend in quality food now, you’ll spend in medical bills later!”  How discouraging is that?  I hardly think that a cause of death has ever been attributed to “consumption of imitation vanilla” or “a chia seed deficiency.”  Stress causes health problems, and maybe the pressure to eat perfectly increases stress?

No one can guarantee a formula for perfect health.  In ancient times, absolutely everyone ate organic, free-range, non-GM food, but Jesus had no end of people that needed healing and Hippocrates had enough business that he became the “father of medicine.”

Take heart, housewives.  We’re all doing the best that we can in our own way.  Don’t feel guilty or be made to feel that you love your family less because you don’t have the resources someone else does.  The American pioneer women didn’t have cassava flour, quinoa, avocado oil, or even name-brand essential oils tucked into their covered wagons, but they managed to muddle through life fairly well.  They made the most of the limited variety available to them.  It must have been adequate, because thanks to them, many of us are here now.

It’s very simple, really.  Learn the basic principles of cooking and eating healthily and be content with doing your best.