While searching for a recipe request, we came across a cake recipe named Old Lady Cake. Well, it got me to thinking about fancy versus plain cooking. Just what is the difference? Age certainly has something to do with it, but age of who or what? Is the recipe plain if it is over fifty years old? Or maybe it’s plain cooking if the cook is over fifty? Or is plain cooking a term for anything fixed on a regular basis with regular ingredients and eaten on a regularly scheduled day? You know, like years ago Mondays were bean soup day (because it could simmer all day while the laundry was being done) or Sunday was pot roast day (because it could cook in the oven while everybody was at church).

Another way to look at this age-related cooking question is found in the popular commercial ending of “What’s in your wallet?” You might recognize it as a Capitol One charge card slogan. But for us old folks, a charge card today is synonymous with cash in our wallets (years ago), and that has a direct bearing on what is in our cupboards. A loaded wallet tends to make for a cupboard (freezer, refrigerator, pantry, etc.) well-stocked with high end items. Therefore, some fancy cooking might take precedent over plain, everyday cooking.

So, what’s in your cupboard?

How you look at it is up to you. We took that ‘old lady’ cake kind of personally. So, here are some other old, plain, but definitely tasty dishes too.


Old Lady Cake

  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sour milk

Cream butter and sugar. Add egg, beat well. Sift all dry ingredients together 3 times. Add dry mix to creamed mixture alternately with milk. Bake in greased tube pan at 350 degrees for 45 – 55 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted in middle of cake. Cool for 5 minutes, release from pan. Cool completely. Ice with favorite frosting or glaze.

Recipe source: Culinary Arts Institute Encyclopedia Cookbook, 1948.


1930 Meatloaf

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 cup well-crushed soda crackers*see note
  • ½ to ¾ cup tomato sauce
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • Salt, pepper or other seasoning

In large mixing bowl, break up meats. *Note: old-fashioned oats or quick oats may be substituted for the soda crackers. Add crackers and rest of ingredients. Mix thoroughly by hand. Place mixture in a baking dish or pan. Shape into loaf. Bake 350 degrees for about 45-60 minutes or until juices run clear. A top sauce of tomato sauce or ketchup stirred with 2 tablespoons of brown sugar is a nice touch. Pour it over meatloaf last 15-20 minutes of cooking.


Fried Cabbage

  • One head of cabbage
  • 2 tablespoons lard, butter, oil or other shortening
  • Salt, pepper, other seasoning

Wash cabbage head. Discard tough outer leaves. (If you raise chickens, rabbits or hogs they’ll love the greens.) Remove core from cabbage and cut into wedges. Then slice wedges into smaller wedges. Place in skillet in which lard is melted. Add about ½ cup water. Season to taste. Bring to boil, reduce heat to simmer. Cover skillet and cook for about 20 minutes or until cabbage is tender crisp.


Apples & Sweet Potatoes

  • 3 medium sweet potatoes
  • 3 apples
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Butter or margarine

Boil sweet potatoes until almost done. Cool. Peel. Slice into chunks. Peel, core and slice apples. Apples should be of good quality for cooking/baking. You want them to hold their shape. In a greased (buttered) casserole dish, layer potatoes and apples, sprinkling the brown sugar over each layer. Dot with butter. Cover, bake at 325 degrees for about 30 minutes, until slices are fork tender.


Rice Muffins

  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 5 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 ½ cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Dash of salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder

Beat rice, milk, egg and butter. Sift together flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Mix into the wet ingredients just till incorporated. Pour into greased 12 muffin cups. Bake at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes or until firm to the touch. Cool for a few minutes, then remove from pan and serve warm with butter and jelly.


Contact Connie at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Box 61, Medway Ohio 45341.