29 November 2023

100-year-old Salt Lake City recipes from the Sarah Daft Home

A collection of 100-year-old Salt Lake City recipes, for your consideration this holiday season.

These recipes are from the 1923 Sarah Daft Home Cook Book, as assembled by the Board of Directors.

The Sarah Daft Home, established in 1911, is one of the oldest nonprofit assisted living facilities in the USA and still utilizes its original Colonial Revival historic building at 737 S 1300 East SLC.

Many of the women who contributed to this cookbook were upper-middle-class club women; meaning, these women and their families were part of the professional working society (not millionaires) and likely cooked for their households rather than employing full-time servants. These women often hosted bridge parties, dinner parties, and holiday celebrations.

Many of these women were LDS but some were not and included here are some recipes with wine and spirits.

I tend to think of this collection as the 1923 version of “easy entertaining.” These recipes are economical, not complex, and are often quicker versions of traditional methods.

I chose not to highlight some of the more unusual recipes, such as “Fish Pudding” (described later as “a good use of sucker fish from Utah Lake.”)

Be assured, there are quite a few gelatin-based recipes, and certainly some similar to classic Utah Jello Salad creations.

Surprising to me was the inclusion of “pigs in a blanket” as I had assumed that was born in the 1950s.

Also fun is the term “alligator pear” which refers to avocados.

Of note, in 1923 Salt Lake, the avocado was fairly rare and expensive; so, the inclusion of an avocado salad recipe in this cookbook speaks to the higher social and economic status of these women.

In 1924 the Avocado Pear was described as the Thanksgiving season’s “freak food” and sold in a local store for 85 cents each… which equates to $15.20 in 2023 dollars.

I can see many of these recipes being well-suited for today’s holiday gatherings.

A tip from my Great-Grandmother: she always made her Fruit Cake around Thanksgiving and soaked it in Brandy until Christmas.

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