As we wade through the heat of summer, nothing is quite as refreshing as a nice lemony drink or dessert. Although I’m a true chocoholic, I can be tempted away by a nice tangy or sour lemon treat. Luckily, our Chronicling America* collection of historic American newspapers provides plenty of recipes from drinks to main courses to desserts. Take a look at some these delicious delights and let us know in the comments if you end up making any of them!
Lemonade is a staple of summer, but it can be a challenge to make the perfect drink so that it’s not too sweet or too sour. It’s all about the ratio of lemon to sugar to water. The Day Book (Chicago, IL) provides instructions along with this recipe: “Allow ½ lemon and 2 teaspoons of sugar to each glass of lemonade.”
Lemon Milk Sherbet
This recipe from The Kennewick Courier-Reporter (Kennewick, WA) was one I hadn’t heard of before. I assume the salt and sugar keep the milk from curdling?
“Blend ¾ cup sugar, few grains salt, 2 cups milk. Add ½ cup lemon juice. Freeze in tray of automatic refrigerator, with control set at point recommended by manufacturer for freezing ice cream. Stir well every half hour. Serves 4.”
Lemon Chantilly Cake
This recipe from the Evening Star (Washington, DC) is more my speed, using a pre-made lemon velvet cake mix and pre-made frosting mix.
The Laramie Republican (Laramie, WY) provides us with a recipe for an old-fashioned lemon meringue pie, although you’ll need your own recipe for the “flaky pastry” crust. For a real deep dive into lemon pies though, you won’t want to miss this blog post from our colleagues over at Inside Adams: “When Life Gives You Lemon Pies: Consuming History Through a Community Cookbook.”
If you love the filling to a lemon pie, but don’t want the crust, this recipe from Evening Star for Lemon Pudding is perfect. Don’t miss the other recipes on the page for other lemony delights such as Lemon Mist Pie, Lemon Sours, and fish salad!
Although it might not have the most appetizing name, this recipe from the Richmond Planet (Richmond, VA) for “Lemon-naise” is for a refreshing, lemony salad dressing. Just note that modern food safety warns against using raw eggs, so look for ways to cook the egg or find a replacement such as store-bought mayonnaise.
Lemon Barbequed Chicken
If you’re looking for a main dish, this Lemon Barbequed Chicken from Diario las Américas (Miami, FL) is sure to please. It can even be made ahead of time. The sauce, in fact, is best made a day or two in advance: “For 2 chickens, combine ½ cup salad oil, 1 cup lemon juice, 4 tablespoons chopped onion, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1 teasoon [sic] salt, and 1 clove garlic, mashed.”
The Glacier County Chief (Browning, MT) provides us with some excellent tips on how to cook fish with lemons. They also provide a recipe for a “Lemon Tartare Sauce” to be served with fish. For those of you who might be feeling especially adventurous, you can also see a recipe for “Fish in Lemon Aspic.”
Lemon Prune Whip
And because you can’t search old newspapers without finding a few bizarre recipes, you can find the recipe for Lemon Prune Whip and other prune themed recipes here from the Evening Star.
* The Chronicling America historic newspapers online collection is a product of the National Digital Newspaper Program and jointly sponsored by the Library and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
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