Category Two: BEVERAGES

What did people like to drink in the early 1900’s? I’m pretty sure it’s different than the beverages we think of today. The average family wouldn’t have had a fridge full of Coke*. (The average family didn’t have a fridge at all, only an ice box.)

On the Beverage page of “Recipes-My Friends and My Own,” you can see someone glued a newspaper clipping for Hot Spiced Cider. And what will we find next ?

Here’s a surprise! Cheesed Potatoes? Rice & Cheese Balls? Cheese Crumbs? Baked Cheese Tapioca? Looks like someone was a bit confused about what constitutes a beverage!

Rice & Cheese Balls (Copied as written)

1/2 grated cheese, 1 pt boiled rice

season with salt and cayenne pepper

add 1 well beaten egg; moisten with a little cream sauce. Form in balls, egg & bread crumb them & fry in hot fat.

Okay, next page…

Maybe we’ll find some enticing, old fashioned drink recipes now.

And… nope. I guess my great great grandmother wasn’t interested in beverages, because the next ten pages are completely blank!

I looked up popular non-alcoholic drinks of the early 1900’s and found Beef Tea, Tea, Coffee & Coffee Substitutes, Cream Coffee (whipped cream), Chocolate (made with scraped, unsweetened chocolate), and Cocoa. For cold beverages, Iced coffee, Iced tea (with or without lemon), Lemonade, Ginger Ale, Raspberry Vinegar Switchel, Carbonated water (soda water, with or without flavored syrups), and Mineral water*. (From the Food Timeline Library.) I don’t think I would bother to keep those recipes myself, although the Switchel sounds interesting.

‘A Harvest Drink. Mix with five gallons of good water, half a gallon of molasses, one quart of vinegar, and two ounces of powdered ginger. This will make not only a very pleasant beverage, but one highly invigorating and healthful.’—From Practical American Cookery and Domestic Economy, by Miss Hall, 1855,

*Here’s an interesting Coke fact from the Coca-Cola website: “On May 8, 1886Dr. John Pemberton sold the first glass of Coca-Cola at Jacobs’ Pharmacy in downtown Atlanta. Serving nine drinks per day in its first year, Coca-Cola was new refreshment in its beginning. See the story here of how it all began.”

Next Category: Soups

Happy Cooking!

About Mollie Hunt

Loves cats. Writes books.
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5 Responses to RECIPES FROM THE GHOST BOOK: Beverages

  1. Brian says:

    WOW, that is some big drink!

  2. Diana says:

    I enjoy your exploration of the ghost recipe book. It made me remember some old recipes I inherited from my grandmothers. Many I used over the years with my growing family, and many are scant on details just like your rice ball recipe.

  3. Mollie Hunt says:

    Here’s a recipe for Switchel from a friend of mine who makes it all the time:
    Some juice (raspberry is good, also cherry). A little apple cider vinegar. A splash of ginger juice, or some shredded ginger root. So maybe a total quarter to a half cup of stuff in a quart jar. Fill jar with water and refrigerate. If it’s really hot out, a tiny pinch of sea salt adds electrolytes.

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