How to Make Breaded Tomatoes

Gail Lee Martin originally shared this recipe on the eHow website in 2008. It’s a thrifty addition to a meal.

Breaded Tomatoes

This old-fashioned side dish is easy to fix when you need to fill everyone up cheaply. It’s one way to get more vegetables into your meals. Here’s how to make it.

Things You’ll Need:

  • jar of stewed tomatoes
  • bread
  • sugar or salt (your preference)
  1. Stewed tomatoes were just peeled tomatoes that are cut into chunks and cooked well before canning. You can buy canned tomato chunks at the store, but they probably need some extra cooking to soften them up. Put them in the microwave in a covered bowl and heat until soft.
  2. When serving just a jar or two of the plain stewed tomatoes, I usually heat them in a pot over a low fire. Add chunks of day-old bread (several slices). This is a good way to get rid of the heels of bread if no one will eat them.
  3. Salt to your taste. My husband likes his stewed tomatoes with a sprinkle of sugar. I never thought it needed anything but a slice of fresh bread and butter to go with it.
    Tile Vintage Kitchen Cook Retro Stylish Lady Chef

    Vintage Cook 

    by rainsplitter

Old Fashioned Muffins Made from Scratch

It seems like muffins evolved over the last 20 or 30 years into miniature cakes. They are baked in muffin tins in muffin-shaped paper linings, but they are different. They aren’t like the muffins we ate as children back in the 1950s and 1960s. Those were homemade from scratch, not from a mix and certainly not from a bakery or coffee shop.

Muffins often have fruit baked in them and are thus more of a breakfast food than cupcakes would be. They don’t have icing on top, so that distinguishes them from cupcakes too. The texture and sweetness of modern muffins seems more and more like cupcakes these days.


Old-fashioned muffins, not the cakelike ones. Photo by Virginia Allain. Muffins made by Karen Kolavalli.


Back when I grew up, we learned to make muffins in 4-H. They were bread-like, not sweet and cake-like. The old-style muffins benefited from liberal applications of butter then spread with jam or jelly. At times we put apple butter on them. These were the kind of muffins my mother ate as a child in the 1930s and baked for her young family in the 1940s.

Recently in a fit of nostalgia, my sister made some old-fashioned muffins for me. They tasted just as good as I remembered. She used the vintage Household Searchlight Recipe Book (published by Household Magazine)ir?t=ehow05-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B000ERQ30K that Mom always used.


searchlight cookbook

The 1940s Searchlight Recipe Book just like Mom had.

 (Originally published on the Daily Two Cents website by Virginia Allain)

Wilted Wild Greens or Lettuce

Here’s another recipe that Gail Lee Martin submitted to the Grandmother’s Legacy: A Collection of Butler County Recipes from the 1920’s and 30’s. The cookbook is out-of-print and is hard to find now.


Lamb’s quarters, a wild plant that is used in salads. Photo from Pixabay.

Wilted Lettuce or Greens

Dandelion leaves, few flowers

Wild lamb’s quarter

Goose grass



8 slices bacon, reserve the drippings





Optional additions: green onions, radishes, hard-boiled eggs

Gather the wild plants in early spring while still tender. Wash well, tear into bite size pieces and drain. (Add chopped green onions and radishes if wanted). Fry the bacon slices crisp, cool, and crumble. Mix together one-half cup of bacon grease and one-half cup of vinegar (or equal parts). Cover and reheat.

Fry the bacon slices crisp, cool, and crumble. Set the bacon aside to use later on the salad. Mix together one-half cup of bacon grease and one-half cup of vinegar (or equal parts). Cover and reheat those.

Add salt, pepper, and sugar. Add enough sugar so the mixture is slightly thickened. When hot, pour this over the greens, onions, and radishes. Cap the skillet on the top to wilt the greens. Stir the wilted greens, then serve. Garnish with bacon crumbles and slices of hard-boiled eggs if desired. Lettuce, by itself, can be served this way also.

lettuce from 2015 garden NH

Greens from Virginia Allain’s garden

Bake Beef Tongue and Dressing


Cut bread into the size you usually put in dressing. 

Baked beef tongue uses meat that many people have never tried.  It’s easy to fix and quite tasty.  Here’s how to fix it. My recipe disguises the meat, so it has more appeal. 


Things You’ll Need:

  • 1 beef tongue
  • 4 cups bread crumbs or chopped up bread
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped onions
  • salt (to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
  • sage (to taste)
  • 1/3 cup melted butter or margarine
  • broth from boiling the tongue
Wash the tongue.  Cover with water and boil slowly until tender.  Save the broth it was cooked in.

Remove the skin from the tongue after boiling it.

Slice the tongue or cut it into chunks.

Make the stuffing by combining bread, onions, and seasonings.  Add the melted butter and broth to moisten the stuffing.  Place the meat and stuffing in a roasting pan. Covering the pieces of beef tongue with the stuffing keeps the meat from drying out in the oven.
Bake the tongue and stuffing in the oven at 350 degrees until the stuffing is brown on top and done.

Tips & Warnings

  • It’s OK to substitute a box stuffing mix for the homemade stuffing.
  • Make sure the meat is covered well by the stuffing so it doesn’t dry out in the oven.
  • Cold, sliced tongue makes tasty sandwiches.
  • Beef tongue is cooked in Mexican recipes too and called lengua.
 Originally published on the eHow website. 

Mom Discovers TV Dinners

My mom, Gail Lee Martin, served hearty farm fare, like fried chicken and mashed potatoes, to keep eight people well fed. Every meal featured potatoes in some form; either mashed, fried, scalloped, baked or in the spring, creamed new peas and potatoes. Vegetables tended to be green beans, peas, and corn. We didn’t adventure into exotic things like asparagus or broccoli. She learned much of her cooking from her mother and also from between the black covers of the Searchlight cookbook.

searchlight cookbook

Putting food on the table was pretty labor intensive. It started with planting, hoeing, weeding, watering and harvesting. From there it progressed to canning and freezing. For meat, we raised the chickens, rabbits, and beef that filled our plates. Preparing a chicken dinner started with catching the hen, cutting off its head, dipping it in boiling water and pulling out all the feathers. Then she cleaned out the interior and cut it into pieces to cook.

Feeding eight people was a daily chore, even when her daughters were old enough to fetch the canned green beans from the root cellar and to peel the potatoes or churn the butter. To further complicate her workload, Dad worked shift work. That meant reheating everything to feed him when he came home late from his oil field job. There was no microwave to speed the cooking or hasten the thawing in the 1950s.

Television advertising in 1954 showed an innovative, time-saver… the TV dinner. The meat, vegetable, and dessert filled a compartmented aluminum tray. Covered in foil, it went straight from the freezer to the oven. It seemed like the perfect solution to late evening meals for Dad. Mom loved the concept and bought some right away to try them on dinners

Unfortunately, these prepared meals seemed pricey and didn’t always have the foods my dad liked. Mom saved the metal trays and started making her own TV dinners. For regular meals, she fixed just a little extra each time. She used the leftovers to fill the compartmented TV dinner trays. Covered with aluminum foil, these stacked compactly in our large freezer.

Now when Dad arrived home from his late shift, a hot meal was soon on the table. To supplement the TV dinner, she opened a jar of homemade applesauce, put out a stack of white bread with home-churned butter, and poured a tall glass of milk from our cow.

Her next discovery was ethnic food. She found a package of eight enchiladas in the grocery frozen foods section (probably next to the TV dinners). Our meals were typical midwestern meat-and-potatoes fare, all cooked from scratch. This was a big step introducing the family to store-bought, foreign food.

She served two trays of the beef enchiladas. That allowed two per person. To round out the meal, she fixed a big batch of mashed potatoes with a golden lump of homemade butter melting on the top. Opening and heating several Kerr jars of home-canned green beans took care of the vegetables. The family loved the spicy new food.

A plate stacked with slices of Rainbow bread passed around the table. Anyone who was still hungry could spread it with butter or sop up the enchilada sauce with it. There were plenty of refills of milk from our jersey cow. No one left the table hungry.

white bread pixabay

White bread – Photo courtesy of Pixabay

When I lived in South Texas, my Hispanic friends laughed with me when I told them of my first experience with Mexican food. The concept of green beans and mashed potatoes with enchiladas seemed odd to them. I love all types of Mexican food now and even made my own enchiladas from scratch. Thanks, Mom, for taking that first adventurous step in culinary diversity.

(Originally posted on Our Echo by Virginia Allain)

Summer Food Memories

(This post written by Gail’s daughter, Virginia Allain, for the Our Echo site.)
Many childhood memories of Mom are centered on food. Perhaps that’s natural since motherly caregiving included keeping six children well-fed. We probably seemed like bottomless pits to her. After playing around the farm for hours, wading in the creek and wandering the pastures, we were ravenous. Many of our games involved running like wild yahoos through the sparse Kansas woods or galloping our pretend horses across the prairie. These activities guaranteed a good appetite.

Many childhood memories of Mom are centered on food. Perhaps that’s natural since motherly caregiving included keeping six children well-fed. We probably seemed like bottomless pits to her. After playing around the farm for hours, wading in the creek and wandering the pastures, we were ravenous. Many of our games involved running like wild yahoos through the sparse Kansas woods or galloping our pretend horses across the prairie. These activities guaranteed a good appetite.

To stave off the hunger pangs until supper time, we had some favorite snacks to fill the void. Bread with a liberal layer of white sugar, saturated with rich cream, was a favorite. We spooned the cream onto the sugar since it was too thick to pour. The golden cream from our jersey cow soaked into the sugar coating in a most satisfying way. Probably a nutritionist would cringe, but we worked off the extra calories running around the countryside, working in the garden and hauling buckets of water to the rabbits. Chubbiness was not a worry.

The garden yielded another favorite snack of tomato sandwiches. We sliced an oversized beefsteak tomato and placed the slices between two pieces of white bread. Of course, we slathered Miracle Whip salad dressing on the Rainbow bread first. We didn’t mind when the juicy tomato and excess Miracle Whip dripped down our chins. We ate the sandwiches outside anyway. When we couldn’t wait to return to our play, we just grabbed a tomato and bit into it. A little sprinkle of salt enhanced the flavor.

Sometimes we pulled out the standard peanut butter to spread on bread or saltines. Again we added extra sustenance by spreading home-churned butter on top of it all. Our peanut butter came in bucket-shaped tins, not in a jar. An oily layer rose to the top and had to be stirred in for creaminess. A topping of Mom’s jam or jelly or preserves completed the sandwich.

Mom kept the cookie jar full. She taught us all to make no-bake cookies, snickerdoodles, brownies and muffins. These weren’t the spongy, cakelike muffins served nowadays. Muffins in the 1950s were similar to hearty bread in texture. We also learned to make fudge, but it didn’t always stiffen properly.

karens muffins

Old-fashioned muffins like we ate in the 1950s and 1960s. Gail’s daughter, Karen, made these recently.

I tried raiding the cookie jar, but it was hard to lift the lid without making a clinking noise. Sneaking a piece of cake was even harder, especially since I cut so crookedly that it was easily detected.

Sometimes we had waffles or pancakes for supper. We looked forward to this treat, but I’m guessing it was a last minute measure when Mom forgot to defrost meat for the meal. She made the pancakes special by pouring the batter into odd shapes. Other families can have their stacks of round pancakes, but we had cloud shapes, turtle shapes, and even swans. Drowned in Log Cabin syrup, from the can that was shaped like a little cabin, the pancakes filled all our hungry tummies. Sometimes we spread jam on the pancakes or sprinkled on powdered sugar. I even remember putting peanut butter on pancakes.

log cabin syrup tin etsy

Photo of Log Cabin Syrup tin from Nutmeg Cottage on Etsy

Eating out was a rare treat. The A&W Root Beer stand was an occasional stop. They had 5 cent (was it really that cheap?) kid’s mugs of root beer. The mug was tiny but coated with frost and the tangy root beer tasted so good on a hot summer day. It was one of the few affordable places to take six children.

Sometimes we visited the Dairy Queen to get the soft serve vanilla ice cream cones. These were the ones with the curl on top. My Mom was a very brave woman to take a carload of kids there. We left with six of us licking our treat as fast as we could to keep the ice cream from melting in the searing Kansas heat. Even so, we always ended up with drips running down our arms and creating sticky spots on our clothing.

retro ice cream cone classic round sticker
retro ice cream cone  by doonidesigns

We sometimes went to a tiny diner where one day a week they had eight hamburgers for a dollar. They weren’t very large hamburgers, but it fit the family budget to eat there on the rare occasion. I think we drove the counter girl crazy when we ordered our eight hamburgers. Each child had their own preferences; with pickles, no pickles, ketchup, no ketchup, mustard, lettuce, etc.

I’d better stop now, as this is making me hungry for a tomato sandwich. I’d love to see other people’s food memories in the comment section.

P is for Pancakes

Cora Joy Martin shared some of her recipes with her daughter-in-law, Gail. She raised eight children and when the crops were ready, Cora fed a whole harvest crew. One of the recipes that Gail Martin inherited from her was her hardy sourdough pancake recipe.

You need to plan ahead to make these. The night before, you mix the milk, flour, salt and sourdough starter. Leave that in a warm place overnight. Check out the rest of the ingredients and instructions below.

Art Deco Glenwood Stove Poster

Art Deco Glenwood Stove Poster by Vintage_Obsession

Hearty Sourdough Pancakes Ingredients

2 cups milk
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup active sourdough starter
2 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
3 tbsp melted lard
2 tbsp sugar

Mix the first 4 ingredients and let stand overnight in a warm place. In the morning, remove one cup of the mixture, to replenish the sourdough starter. To the remaining mixture,

pancakes-white plate pixabay

Pancake photo courtesy of Pixabay.

To the remaining mixture, add the baking soda, the eggs, lard, and sugar. Mix well, then bake on a hot frying pan or griddle that has been greased. This serves 6 people.

Sourdough Starter (Cora’s Version)

1 cup milk, 1 cup flour

Let the milk stand at room temperature in a glass bowl for 24 hours. Do not use a metal container. Then mix in the cup of flour and place it in a warm, but not hot place for 3 or 4 days. It is ready when it begins to smell sour and bubbles.

After that, keep it in a cool dark place when not in use. Stir twice daily. This was used before packaged yeast was available.

eggs bowl pixabay

Eggs in a bowl – photo from Pixabay

You can make the sourdough starter another way. Below is the recipe passed down to Gail Lee Martin by her mother.

Kansas Sourdough Starter (Ruth McGhee’s Version)

1 potato, peeled and grated
3 cups water
1 cup sugar
3 cups flour

Combine the grated potato, sugar, water, and flour. Let stand in a gallon crock, lightly covered with a cloth for 3 days. Every time you remove a cup of starter for a recipe, add 1 cup of water, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1/2 cup flour to the starter.

Gail Martin shared these recipes when the Butler County Historical Society collected 1920’s and 1930’s recipes. They were published in the cookbook, Grandmother’s Legacy.