Saturday, January 18, 2014

A retro recipe

From my collection of vintage cookbooklets
This week I had some leftover ham and wanted to make a simple scalloped potatoes with ham for my dad's meal (as well as our own supper that night).  I had cut leftover ham off the bone earlier and cut it in bite sized pieces, but didn't really have a specific recipe in mind.  I looked in a few cookbooks without seeing any good possibilities, and then finally, in desperation, turned to an old one I had bought at an antiques mall some years ago.

The book is Keep Cooking the Maine Way, by Marjorie Standish.   It was published in 1973, a followup to Mrs. Standish's earlier and very popular cookbook Cooking Down East.  For at least 25 years, she wrote a "Cooking Down East" column in the Maine Sunday Telegram.  I knew that this worthy lady would not let me down -- she was sure to have a tried and true recipe for scalloped ham and potatoes.  And she did!  Here it is:

5 cups thinly sliced pared raw potatoes
3 cups diced cooked ham
1 cup thinly sliced onions
3 cups thin white sauce (recipe follows)

Arrange potatoes, ham and onion in alternate layers in casserole.  (I used 2 layers of each and I used 2 casseroles as I was preparing this for 2 households.)  Pour the white sauce over all, cover and bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour.  Remove cover and bake 30 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender.

3 tablespoons margarine
3 tablespoons flour (I used white rice flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt (yes, this sounds like a lot, but it is the only salt in the recipe for all those potatoes)
Dash of black pepper (I used more like 1/4 teaspoon)
3 cups milk

Melt margarine over a low heat.  Stir in flour, salt, and pepper.  Add milk gradually; continue to stir and cook over a low heat until sauce thickens.

I didn't have enough potatoes, so I peeled and sliced a large sweet potato and layered that in as well.  It came out really well.

If you'd like to try a nice retro recipe with some leftover ham, I highly recommend this one.  Thank you, Mrs. Standish!

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