At the food52 launch party, Tamio gave Merrill and me a great little book, The Metropolitan Cook Book, published by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in 1924.
The book begins with a quote by Ruskin that mirrors so much about our approach to cooking at food52: "Cookery means carefulness and inventiveness and willingness and readiness of appliances. It means the economy of your grandmothers and the science of the modern chemist; it means much testing and no wasting; it means English thoroughness and French Art and Arabian hospitality." We may need to work on the French Art and Arabian hospitality, but we're getting there.
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Little did Tamio know we have a thing for old recipes -- we've spent the past 5 years testing more than 1,200 New York Times recipes going back to the 1850s. Many of the Metropolitan recipes mirror those in the Times in the 1920s. There are potato croquettes, oyster chowder, Apple Snow (an apple-scented meringue dessert), brownies, doughnuts and iced coffee.
In this spirit of this week's stuffing theme, I thought I'd include the Metropolitan's recipe for Prune and Apple Stuffing. To make it, I suggest mixing together all the ingredients, spooning them into a buttered baking dish and baking it at 350-degrees until crisp on top. If you'd like to update the recipe, add a teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme, 1 cup chicken broth and a few splashes of brandy.
Prune and Apple Stuffing
3 cups bread crumbs
1/4 cup melted fat
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup apples, pared, cut in eighths, and stewed in a little sugar
Few grains pepper
1/ 2 cup soaked, stewed and stoned prunes
1/ 2 cup nut meats, broken into pieces, if liked
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).