Not Everyone Had The Liberty to Cook Like Julia Child in The 50’s

Julia Child SoupFrom the onset of Julia Childs culinary revelation in Paris in 1949 throughout the 1950s she was teaching cooking to American women in Paris and was also researching and testing recipes for her book. She is the “icon” for pushing recipes and raising the bar with proper descriptions and measurements. Also, by the looks at some of her recipes, she had access to probably the best ingredients, herbs and spices in the world at that time.

But others in the world were not so fortunate in the 50s (for example: those in the Canadian Prairies).

Winnipeg Cookbook 1950'sJust the other day, I pulled out some of my grandmothers cookbooks from the 1950s which were mostly printed pamphlets with local recipes from the Canadian Prairies. I sure get a warm and fuzzy feeling in my heart when I come across my grandmothers writing besides her favorite recipes.The first thing I think of is food, when I think of her. It really brings back fond memories going to her home every Sunday for dinner when I was a child.

Now that I have been paying attention to a lot of soup recipes, I found it a tad surprising to me that my grandmother was not so fortunate with ingredients for cooking in the 50’s. Take a look at these soup recipes below. They are a true reflection to what ingredients were available in the Canadian Prairies at that time:

So, what’s missing from these recipes above that we have access to now?

Besides better instructions, the big thing that sticks out for me is all of the recipes are missing herbs and spices! Nowadays, we can use a different combination of herbs and spices and make any soup a totally different soup from another with same core ingredients!

Boy, it sure makes me really appreciate what we have today. We are so fortunate with tons of unique ingredients at grocery stores and endless sources of herbs and spices to make any kind of wonderful soups! Skies the limit, really!

We should thank our lucky stars. *smile*

So what would I add to the soup recipes above? Below are some things I would add/change to enhance the three soup recipes from the 50’s.

For the French Pea Soup above, I would do the following:

  • add fresh thyme, fresh parsley, garlic gloves
  • garnish: spoonful of kefir, yogurt or crumbled goat cheese + fresh chives + diced pieces of ham or pancetta

For the Vegetable Soup above, I would do the following:

  • omit the meat because this soup is called “vegetable soup” and would be deceiving for the vegetarians today
  • omit the string beans – they get too mushy – yuck!
  • replace water with vegetable stock to give more depth
  • replace canned tomatoes with fresh seeded, peeled tomatoes
  • add bay leaf, garlic cloves, fresh dill, fresh oregano, fresh basil
  • add some gluten-free macaroni pasta
  • add garnish: roughly chopped fresh dill or basil leaves

For the Onion Soup above, I would do the following:

  • replace butter with olive oil
  • add garlic clove
  • add swiss cheese (or gruyère) with the parmesan (not pre shredded/grated cheeses as they may have gluten in them)
  • add some rice flour
  • replace regular french bread with similar gluten-free white bread or croutons
  • add garnish: parsley

What would you add to any of the three recipes from the 1950’s above? Feel free to share in comments below, love to share suggestions!

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