All photos/art by Heath Robbins
Recipes tell a story. Not in the familiar sense–there are no plot points in the ingredients list, no surprise endings in the method (except, maybe, when it comes to soufflés). But if you step back and look at recipes over time and as a whole, they tell a rich story about how people lived: how, for example, the invention of jet airliners and the post-war economic boom coincided with the efforts of a Cambridge, Massachusetts, cookbook author named Julia Child to bring about an interest in French cuisine–which, in turn, made fondue and crepes Suzette the go-to foods for entertaining in the 1960s.
They also teach us about how times change and how fashions fall away. Remember chicken Kiev? Blueberry “boy bait”? Those recipes were the blockbusters of their day, but were eventually replaced by the next food fad or dietary restriction. Some were forgotten for good reason. When’s the last time you craved jellied bean salad or deviled-egg casserole? But anyone who grew up eating made-from-scratch cheese straws and lobster pie remembers them, even if the recipes were lost to time. And they’re well worth revisiting.
And that’s what inspired us to scour Yankee‘s archive of more than 75 years’ worth of food stories in search of “lost” and vintage recipes worthy of revival. We retested them and tweaked them as needed for contemporary tastes–but we stayed true to the spirit of the dishes. Preparing these recipes brought us happily back to our own family dinner tables and reminded us that what’s old can be great again.