50 Vintage Recipes from the '40s Worth Trying Today (2024)

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50 Vintage Recipes from the '40s Worth Trying Today (1)Caroline StankoUpdated: Feb. 28, 2024

    The 1940s were full of swing music, victory gardens and the invention of the microwave. Get a taste of the 40s with these vintage recipes that are sure to take you back!

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    Meat and Potato Patties

    During World War II, when meat was rationed and had to be purchased with tokens, this recipe went a long way in feeding a family. To this day, I still reach for it whenever I want something different from regular hamburgers. By the way, children really like these (just as I did when I was a child!).— Gladys Klein, Burlington Wisconsin

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    Easy Coconut Cream Pie

    This coconut cream pie has been a favorite dessert for decades. I even made several of these pies to serve a threshing crew of 21 men! —Vera Moffitt, Oskaloosa, Kansas

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    If you’re looking for more sweets, check out how to make these lemon-frosted fruit bars from the 1940s.

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    Taste of Home

    Moscow Mule

    Here's an old-time co*cktail that was popular in the 1940s and '50s. A Moscow Mule is traditionally served in a copper mug with plenty of ice. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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    Taste of Home

    Parsnip, Pear and Pecan Salad

    I didn’t try parsnips until I was well into my 40s, but now I can’t get enough of them. This salad is so delicious, I defy your kids to turn their noses up at it. —Jodi Taffel, Altadena, California

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    Taste of Home

    Cape Cod Bay Brown Bread

    This reminds me of the brown bread my grandmother made whenever we went out east to visit. The aroma evokes fond memories of her New England home during the peak of fall. I use blackstrap molasses and agave nectar to make mine a little different without sacrificing any of the flavor. Cranberries are another special touch, but this would also taste delicious with raisins. —Kellie Foglio, Salem, Wisconsin

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    Taste of Home

    Cornmeal Pancakes

    I like to joke that these pancakes are so light, you have to hold them down! When we have a chance, we make them with freshly ground cornmeal bought at local festivals. —Betty Claycomb, Alverton, Pennsylvania

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    Tomato Hamburger Soup

    As a full-time teacher, I only have time to cook from scratch a few nights each week. This slow-cooker soup recipe makes a big enough batch to feed my family for two nights. —Julie Kruger, St. Cloud, Minnesota

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    Taste of Home

    Wonderful English Muffins

    When I was growing up on a farm, my mom always seemed to be making homemade bread...nothing tasted so good! Now I like to make these simple yet delicious muffins for my own family. —Linda Rasmussen, Twin Falls, Idaho

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    Almond Ginger Cookies

    Think outside the box this season and enjoy these traditional Chinese cookies, each one topped with an almond slice. —Shirley Warren, Thiensville, Wisconsin

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    Taste of Home

    Classic Egg Salad

    Egg salad is a refreshing, tasty change from lunchmeat or peanut butter sandwiches. The touch of mustard and lemon juice gives it extra zip. —Annemarie Pietila, Farmington Hills, Michigan

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    Taste of Home

    Double Chocolate Hot Cocoa

    I gave this away at our neighborhood Christmas party in cutie-patootie gift bags and was thrilled that I was able to give something to everyone. But the next week I started getting calls from the neighbors who had tried it, and I was blown away at the response. Everyone loves this! The white chocolate makes it extra creamy. —Mandy Rivers, Lexington, South Carolina

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    Taste of Home

    Old-Fashioned Applesauce

    We had all kinds of apple trees in the yard when I was growing up, so I don't know for sure which ones Mother liked best for applesauce. (Today I use Cortlands.) I do know that her applesauce was very white. The secret, she said, was to keep the apples in salt water while she peeled them so that they wouldn't darken. —Doris Natvig, Jesup, Iowa

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    Old-Fashioned Fruit Compote

    A perfect partner for your Christmas goose, this warm and fruity side dish can simmer while you prepare the rest of your menu, or make it a day ahead and reheat before serving. —Shirley A. Glaab, Hattiesburg, Mississippi

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    Radish Asparagus Salad

    Lemon zest and mustard in the dressing add the perfect punch to crisp asparagus and crunchy radishes in this fresh spring salad. My family loves it! —Nancy Latulippe, Simcoe, Ontario

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    Orange Soda Sherbet

    For birthdays, we pull out the old-fashioned ice cream maker and crank out a sherbet made with orange soda. We're all crazy about it, especially my son. —Heather Craft, Paducah, Kentucky

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    Apple Raisin Bread

    I've been making this bread for many years. It smells so good in the oven and tastes even better. I make bread almost every Saturday, and it doesn't stay around long with our sons home from college in the summer. —Perlene Hoekema, Lynden, Washington

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    Bratwurst Supper

    After trying a few bratwurst recipes, I've found this meal-in-one is ideal for camping since it grills to perfection in a heavy-duty foil bag. Loaded with chunks of bratwurst, red potatoes, mushrooms and carrots, it's easy to season with onion soup mix and a little soy sauce. —Janice Meyer, Medford, Wisconsin

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    Spiced Pickled Beets

    With sweet, tangy and spiced flavors, these pickled beets are so good that they'll win over just about everyone in your house. Jars of colorful beets make great gifts, too! —Edna Hoffman, Hebron, Indiana

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    Taste of Home

    Best Ever Potato Soup

    You'll be surprised at the taste of this rich and cheesy easy potato soup. It really is the best potato soup recipe, ever. I came up with it after enjoying baked potato soup at one of our favorite restaurants. I added bacon, and we think that makes it even better. —Coleen Morrissey, Sweet Valley, Pennsylvania

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    Tomato Juice co*cktail

    This recipe came from my mother-in-law and many say it’s the best tomato juice they’ve ever tasted. It has a little eye-opening kick to it that’s wonderful! —Beverly Cottrell, Ipswich, Maine

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    Oh-So-Good Creamy Mashed Potatoes

    Yukon Golds are ideal when making mashed potatoes because of their buttery flavor and low moisture content. These taters easily absorb the warm milk or melted butter you add to your smooth spuds. —Brittany Linzmeier, De Pere, Wisconsin

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    Meat Loaf with Oatmeal

    A simple blend of seasonings results in a hot and hearty meat loaf that's big on flavor and very satisfying. —Lauree Buus, Rapid City, South Dakota

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    Grilled Corn on the Cob

    I'd never had grilled corn until last summer when my sister-in-law served it for us. What a treat! So simple, yet delicious, grilled corn is now a must on my summer menu. —Angela Leinenbach, Mechanicsville, Virginia

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    Mom's Chopped Coleslaw

    For Friday dinners, my mother made coleslaw to go with our fish. It’s still a family tradition, and the tangy dressing even works on a tossed salad. —Cynthia McDowell, Banning, California

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    New England Baked Beans

    For a potluck or picnic, you can’t beat this classic side that starts with a pound of dried beans. Molasses and maple syrup give it a slight sweetness. —Pat Medeiros, Tiverton, Rhode Island

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    Roasted Radishes

    Radishes aren't just for salads anymore. Roasted radishes makes a colorful side to any meal. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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    Mom's Soft Raisin Cookies

    With four sons in service during World War II, my mother sent these favorite cookies as a taste from home to "her boys" in different parts of the world. These days, my 11 grandchildren are enjoying them as we did, along with my stories of long ago.— Pearl Cochenour, Williamsport, Ohio

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    Taste of Home

    Party Franks

    These tiny, tangy appetizers have broad appeal. I prepare them often for holiday gatherings, weddings and family reunions. They're convenient to serve at parties since the sauce can be made ahead and then reheated with the franks before serving. —Lucille Howell, Portland, Oregon

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    Honey Horseradish Dip

    We love having appetizers on Friday night instead of a meal, and during the summer we enjoy cooler foods. This surprising dip adds just the right amount of zing. —Ann Marie Eberhart, Gig Harbor, Washington

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    Taste of Home

    Lemon-Butter Brussels Sprouts

    Kick up these stovetop lemon Brussels sprouts with fresh lemon zest. Even my toddler will eat this up! — Jenn Tidwell, Fair Oaks, California

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    Satisfying Tomato Soup

    After craving tomato soup, I decided to make my own. My sister Joan likes it chunky-style, so she doesn't puree. Serve it with a grilled cheese sandwich. —Marian Brown, Mississauga, Ontario

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    TMB studio

    Mint Julep

    It wouldn't be Kentucky Derby Day without this mint julep recipe! But, really, this Kentucky Derby mint julep recipe is good anytime. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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    Taste of Home

    Fluffy Scrambled Eggs

    When our son, Chris, wants something other than cold cereal in the morning, he whips up these eggs. Cheese and evaporated milk make them especially good. They're easy to make when you're camping, too. —Chris Pfleghaar, Elk River, Minnesota

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    Taste of Home

    This seafood starter is so good that it makes me love a food I usually don't—radishes! This recipe also calls for spicy V8, but Zing Zang Bloody Mary Mix works just as well. Serve the co*cktail straight up, with tortilla chips or on a bed of butter lettuce. —Heidi Knaak, Liberty, Missouri

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    Molasses Cookie Mix

    These spicy, old-fashioned treats are sure to be a hit with your family and friends. For holiday gift giving, I put a batch of this cookie mix in an attractive basket along with the recipe and a festive tea towel. —Barbara Stewart, Portland, Connecticut

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    Taste of Home

    Ground Beef Barley Soup

    I first tasted this soup when a friend served it to our family one day after church. It's now a favorite with our family, especially our three children. —Maggie Norman, Stevensville, Montana

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    Lemon-Garlic Lima Beans

    When I was growing up on Cyprus, my mother would often make this side dish to have with roast lamb. Although I hated lima beans when I was a kid (who didn't?), I love them now. They always remind me of home. —Paris Paraskeva, San Francisco, California

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    Homemade Butterscotch Pudding

    Homemade pudding reminds me of my grandma and how she turned milk and eggs into creamy textures before my eyes. The butterscotch in this recipe adds a caramel-sweet touch. —Teresa Wilkes, Pembroke, Georgia

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    Taste of Home

    Fruit Cup with Citrus Sauce

    This fruit salad is so elegant that I serve it in my prettiest crystal bowls. With its dressed-up flavor, it's perfect for a special event, but easy enough for every day. —Edna Lee, Greeley, Colorado

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    Oyster Fricassee

    I oversee the gardens at Colonial Williamsburg. We've learned that the colonists had a ready source of oysters from Chesapeake Bay. I enjoy this rich, creamy casserole, a special dish from this area's holiday recipe collection. —Susan Dippre, Williamsburg, Virginia

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    Taste of Home

    Corn Chowder with Potatoes

    I developed this soup out of two others to create my own low-calorie recipe. It turned out so well that I entered it in my county fair and won a blue ribbon. —Alyce Wyman, Pembina, North Dakota

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    Taste of Home

    Mushroom Pea Casserole

    This is one of my go-to side dishes that my whole family loves. It's great with chicken, ham, beef and pork; in fact, I haven't found anything it isn't delicious with. —Lisa Lyons, Westerville, Ohio

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    TMB studio

    Veggie Meatball Soup

    It's a snap to put together this hearty soup before I leave for work. I just add cooked pasta when I get home, and I have a few minutes to relax before supper is ready. —Charla Tinney, Tyrone, Oklahoma

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    Slow-Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage

    This corned beef and cabbage slow-cooker recipe is a fuss-free way to cook the traditional dish. I tried it for St. Patrick's Day a few years ago. Now it's a regular in my menu planning. —Karen Waters, Laurel, Maryland

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    Taste of Home

    Horseradish Deviled Eggs

    People say "Wow!" when they taste these flavorful, tangy horseradish deviled eggs. The bold combination of ground mustard, dill and horseradish is so appealing. The plate is always emptied when I serve these eggs. —Ruth Roth, Linville, North Carolina

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    Lemony Parsley Baked Cod

    The trick to avoid overcooking a good piece of fish is to cook it at a high temperature for a short amount of time. Do that and the fish stays moist and tender. —Sherry Day, Pinckney, Michigan

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    Taste of Home

    Festive Tomato Wedges

    Since I have a large vegetable and herb garden, many of the ingredients in this recipe are truly "homegrown". I found this simple recipe in a magazine years ago and it quickly became a favorite at family picnics. I have five married children and seven grandchildren, and they all love to come home for some of "Mom's cooking". —Wilma Purcell, Alma, Illinois

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    Icebox Honey Cookies

    My Grandma Wruble always had a batch of these cookies in the cookie jar and another roll in the refrigerator ready to slice and bake. Their honey and lemon flavor is delicious! —Kristi Gleason, Flower Mound, Texas

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    Originally Published: December 31, 1969

    50 Vintage Recipes from the '40s Worth Trying Today (49)

    Caroline Stanko

    Caroline has been with Taste of Home for the past seven years, working in both print and digital. After starting as an intern for the magazine and special interest publication teams, Caroline was hired as the third-ever digital editor for Taste of Home. Since then, she has researched, written and edited content on just about every topic the site covers, including cooking techniques, buzzy food news, gift guides and many, many recipe collections. Caroline also acts as the editorial lead for video, working with the Test Kitchen, videographers and social media team to produce videos from start to finish.When she’s not tip-tapping on a keyboard, Caroline is probably mixing up a killer co*cktail, reading a dog-eared library book or cooking up a multi-course feast (sometimes all at once). Though she technically lives in Milwaukee, there is a 50/50 chance Caroline is in Chicago or southwest Michigan visiting her close-knit family.

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