Classic Recipes: Then and Now
Classic Meets Modern
Some recipes you just can't shake. Here, we share our best recipe memories from the 1930s until now, including cheesy potatoes, crispy chicken, and intoxicating cinnamon cake. Check out the differences in flavors, trends, and more!
Then: Somerset Sirloin
In efforts to "tempt the appetites of women-folk," Navy cook J.F. Ruhnka submitted his flawless beef recipe to a men's cooking competition back in 1930. The hearty strips of broiled sirloin covered in creamy mushroom sauce wowed the all-women panel.
Now: Mediterranean Strip Steaks
Today's take on steak is less saucy, more fresh. The sunny flavors of Mediterranean cuisine inspired this lemon-splashed grilled steak. Top your strips with creamy avocado and crumbly feta.
Then: Goldilocks Potatoes
A must-make for holiday tables past, these golden potato pots feature minimal ingredients and lots of creamy cheddar goodness. A squeeze of whipping cream makes the stunning side extra luscious.
Now: Twice-Baked New Potatoes
Still a snap to prepare, these cheesy potato sides sport new and exciting ingredients, such as tangy Dijon and smoked paprika.
Then: Chicken Salad
The 1940s made condiments on salad cool. Home-canned pickles and a creamy jar of mayonnaise dressed up this colorful chicken salad, while a few spears of garden-fresh asparagus topped it all off.
Now: Cashew-Curry Chicken Salad
This sandwich-friendly recipe ditches the mayo used in the original salad, dressing the chicken in a pina colada-flavor low-fat yogurt. Fresher ingredients like grapes, coconut, and mango chutney are also introduced in this tropical twist.
Then: Mexican Tomato Soup
Made-from-scratch meatballs put an authentic Mexican spin on any simmery tomato soup. This 1940s recipe pairs them with al dente spaghetti, crisp onions, and a sprinkling of feisty chile powder.
Now: Tomato-Tortellini Soup
Pasta and tomatoes meet again in this contemporary take on tomato soup -- this time using canned tomato bisque, cream cheese, chicken broth, and cheese-filled tortellini. Fewer ingredients get this soup on the table faster.
Then: Cinnamon Coffeecake
Eating cake for breakfast has always been A-OK in our books. Aside from California walnuts, this prize-tested recipe -- from Chicago in 1949 -- uses only pantry staples, making it a perfect choice when baking on a whim.
Now: Amaretto Cake with Cinnamon Swirl
Modern-day kitchens welcome a little boozy baking. New and infused, this cinnamon cake recipe uses a splash of Amaretto -- an almond-flavor Italian liqueur -- to add sweet richness to the cake.
Then: Macaroni 'n' Cheese
This war-weary decade called for comfort food, and what better pick-me-up than homemade mac and cheese? Mrs. Blake -- winner of this prize-tested recipe -- uses canned cream of mushroom soup to make the bake extra creamy.
Now: Macaroni with Brie and Crab
Macaroni gets a coastal, upscale makeover thanks to crisp onion, smooth Brie, and flaky crabmeat. You can find creative mac-and-cheese dishes such as this on modern restaurant menus across the country.
Then: Crusty, Herb-Fried Chicken
It's back to basics with this 1950s Southern staple. Essential seasonings such as thyme, rosemary, and a pinch of marjoram liven up this soul-comforting fried chicken recipe.
Now: Green Chile Fried Chicken
You just can't beat Grandma's fried chicken -- until now. South-of-the-border ingredients such as chile peppers, lime, and hot pepper sauce all play a part in this fried chicken's crisp, addictive coating.
Then: Satin-Top Brownies
In the midst of the baking-mix breakthrough, Ms. Leila Dawson of Texas stuck to her made-from-scratch ways. These satin-top brownies star crunchy California walnuts and her secret ingredient: salad oil.
Now: Brownie-Raspberry Dessert
Today, dessert is just much about the toppings as it is the treat itself. These twisted brownies get down and fruity in this 2008 recipe thanks to pureed raspberries, melty marshmallows, and white and milk chocolate.
Then: Cinnamon Fantans
Looks like a cake roll, tastes like a cinnamon roll. Recipe winner Mrs. Almous Austin slit the dough before baking to give the powdery treats a playful fantail shape and a sweet sneak peek at the cinnamon-walnut filling.
Now: Apple-Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread
Cinnamon does it again. This time, sidekicking it to baked apples and a heavenly citrus glaze. Adding cream cheese to the mix makes this biscuit-based dessert extra intoxicating.
Then: Hash Brown Omelet
The quick and easy dinner trend made its debut in the '60s as busy home cooks turned more toward convenience items. This one-skillet omelet uses frozen hash brown potatoes, bacon, and a slew of veggies.
Now: Hash Browns Taco
New-age cooking focuses on all things fresh, so it should come as no surprise that these hash browns are homemade. Vibrant produce such as avocado, roma tomatoes, and green onion also make a tasty appearance.
Then: Cream of Chicken and Cheese Soup
For an easy way to get homemade flavor in minutes, recipe winner Mrs. Jay Palmer of Kansas dressed up a simple can of chicken soup using chopped veggies, American cheese, and chicken breast.
Now: Three-Cheese Beer Soup
An icy bottle of beer snuck its way into this spiked cheese soup alongside bacon, potatoes, and broccoli florets. 2013 fired up this fall favorite with tangy mustard and a dash of always-handy hot sauce.
Then: Oatmeal Jam Bars
Gone were the days of mixes and canned items -- cooking the old-fashioned way was all the rage in the 1970s, making homemade desserts such as these lemon-blackberry jam bars a go-to goodie.
Now: Cherry Crumb Bars
Days are busier than ever, meaning less time spent baking. Pinterest and bloggers are reigniting the dreamy-desserts renaissance of the 1970s, infusing Grandma's recipes with new, in-a-snap methods. A quick oatmeal cookie mix and frozen red cherries help make up these nostalgic fruit bars.