An apple a day keeps the doctor away. We’ve all heard it, and by the 1920s it was a common saying. During the autumn and winter Twenties cooks attempted to keep the family healthy by providing a variety of foods. Since variety lessens with the wintertime if you eat local or regional foods, fruits like apples take on importance. Today Sue makes Baked Apples designed to tempt jaded appetites.
This is Lesson 10 of a 51-lesson cooking course from 1924 called When Sue Began to Cook. Click the link if this is your first exposure to the series and it will take you back to Lesson 1.
In the book this recipe is actually called Ruth Ann’s Baked Apples. Sue’s mother Bettina spends lots of time trying to devise a way to get Ruth Ann to eat more. She thinks of naming a food after Ruth Ann as an enticement. We’ll see how that works out in Sue’s notes from the day’s class.
Sue’s notes on Ruth Ann’s Baked Apples
It seems to me Mother is a good deal more interested these days in what Ruth Ann eats than in what I eat, and ever since she gave her the blue bowl she has tried and tried to improve her appetite. (Ruth Ann’s appetite, of course.)
“We must teach her to cook the things she ought to eat,” Mother said to me this morning. “Her grandmother doesn’t realize what a thin little thing she is. We’ll have to make her rosy and strong before her Mother gets home.”
Baked apples was one of the foods Mother thought Ruth Ann ought to eat, and of course it was one of the things she ‘specially disliked. But Mother told us she had invented a new dish called Ruth Ann’s Baked Apples, a kind that every child — girl or boy — was sure to like.
“Mmm,” said Robin. “Make enough for me, too!” But I guess he doesn’t need any new dishes to make him eat.
These baked apples were good, much better than the common ones. And Ruth Ann really liked them. In fact, she ate two which was as many as Robin had.
While they were baking, Mother talked to us about oven meals. And about learning to plan, when you were using the oven for one dish, to make it a whole oven dinner. Of course with our two pans of baked apples there wasn’t a lot of room left in the oven. But Mother popped a little casserole of escalloped salmon in for our lunch so it could be cooking at the same time. “By the time this year is up,” she said, “I want you girls to be able to plan meals as well as cook them, and plan sensibly, too.” And I want you to help me do the marketing this summer.”
“Goodie!” said Robin. “I’ll go along with my wagon and haul the things home.”
“Fine,” said Mother. “And we’ll all learn to keep account of the money we spend.”
“Can I go marketing too?” Ruth Ann asked. “Will I be in the way?”
“In the way? Of course not!” replied my darling Mother. “Why, I want you to learn how so you can be the housekeeper when you’re back in your own house again.”
“If that time ever comes!” sighed Ruth Ann. But her eyes were shining and I knew she was feeling happy.
Make your own Baked Apples
Baked apples can be as simple as hollowing out apples, filling them with butter and a little brown sugar, and baking them. This recipe adds a little more flavor to make them special.
Ruth Ann’s Baked Apples
- 4 large red apples all about the same size
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 tsp powdered cinnamon
- 4 marshmallows
- 4 halves English walnut meats
- 8 raisins
- 1 cup water
- 2 Tbsp butter
- First of all we washed the apples and then Mother showed us how to get the core out with the corer. We did it by digging a hole right around the core but not clear through the apple. You see we had to make a cup of each apple to hold the filling, so it had to be a hole and not a tunnel. Then we washed the apples again and we each set ours (open side up, like a cup) in a little whte enamelled baking pan.
- Next, Mother had us each take one third of our cup of light brown sugar and mix it with the cinnamon. We put this into the cavities of our apples and then stuffed a marshmallow, a nut-meat, and two raisins in on top of it. On top of that we put half a level tablespoon of butter in each apple. Then Mother had us mix the rest of the sugar (we each had two-thirds of a cup left, of course) with the water and pour that over the tops of the apples.
- Then we put the baking dishes in the oven, just a moderate oven, Mother said [350º F]. And baked our apples 40 minutes. Oh yes, I forgot to say that Mother had us baste the apples several times while we were cooking. I had heard people talk about basting a turkey, and I always supposed that meant sewing it up with a thread. It doesn't at all. Basting means to take a big kitchen spoon and dip up the juice in the pan and pour it over whatever is cookihg. Well, we basted our baked apples several times to make them juicy and good, and it surely worked. They were the nicest, fattest, juciest baked apples you ever saw.