Just finished reading Ontario Teachers’ Manuals: Household Management by Ontario Ministry of Education, published in 1916. Home Ec sure was different back in the day. No mention of sewing, knitting or other handiwork other than as something students could do while waiting for something to cook, but they were learning how to cook complete meals, from bread and soup through to roast and dessert. Also taught were housecleaning, laundry and home nursing. My first years of home ec involved nothing more challenging than making muffins and an apron.
I came across this recipe in the manual for basic biscuits with variations and thought I’d post it. I haven’t yet tried these myself but certainly intend to. At the moment, getting some cookies baked is more pressing.
BASIC RECIPE FOR BISCUITS, ETC.
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons fat (butter, lard, or dripping)
About 2/3 cup milk
Like most old recipes, they don’t bother to give any directions as to how to proceed, how to cook, or how much it makes. My guess, based on similar recipes is:
Combine the dry ingredients. Cut in the fat. Stir in the milk. If it’s sticky, drop by spoonfuls, otherwise roll out and cut. A 350° oven is usually a safe bet. You’ll have to keep an eye on things to figure out how long to bake for.
Add 2 tablespoons of sugar after the fat is added.
Add 2 tablespoons of sugar and ½ cup of fruit (currants, raisins, peel, or a mixture of all) after the fat is added.
Add 2 tablespoons of sugar and use one egg and only ½ cup of milk. Beat the egg until light, add to milk, and use this for liquid. Form into round cakes about eight inches in diameter, and cut into quarters.
Add ½ cup of fruit to the scone recipe.
SHORT CAKE FOR FRUIT
Same as scones but double the amount of fat.
DUMPLINGS FOR STEWS
Use the basic recipe, leaving out the fat.
STEAMED FRUIT PUDDING
Use the basic recipe to make the dough that encases the fruit.