What’s for Dinner in Federal Documents?

Feb 21, 2018

Here at the Wyoming State Library, we enjoy some of the quirky items we find in our historical government documents. We went exploring our early 20th Century copies of the Farmers’ Bulletin from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and found a few meals you might or might not want on your table. Have these recipes stood the test of time? We’ll leave that for you to decide.

USDA Farmers’ Bulletin No. 1451
Making and Using Cottage Cheese in the Home
Issued May, 1925; revised 1927

Need a new kitchen hobby? This bulletin details the steps and equipment needed to make cottage cheese, “A desirable food easily prepared.”

Remove the stones from cooked prunes. Stuff prunes with cottage cheese which has been seasoned with salt and pepper. Serve on lettuce leaves with mayonnaise dressing. Dates or figs may be used instead of prunes if desired.

USDA Farmers’ Bulletin No. 712
School Lunches
Issued March, 1916; revised June, 1922, and May, 1924

Too many students have peanut allergies for this one today, but Bulletin 712 recommended that “Peanut butter, which can be either bought as such or prepared at home or at school, can be quickly made into a good and nutritious soup.”

1 1/2 cups tomato juice
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
2 1/2 cups boiling water
Add the tomato juice gradually to the peanut butter, and when smooth add the seasonings and the water. Simmer for 10 minutes and serve with croutons.

USDA Farmers’ Bulletin No. 487
Cheese and its Economical Uses in the Diet


If you say you love cheese in all its forms, does that still hold true if someone combines it with Lima beans? There’s also a “Cheese Jelly Salad” in this bulletin that includes gelatin and whipped cream, served on lettuce with salad dressing.

2 cupfuls of cooked Lima beans
1/4 pound of cream cheese, commercial or homemade
3 canned pimientos chopped
Bread crumbs
Put the first three ingredients through a meat chopper. Mix thoroughly and add bread crumbs until it is stiff enough to form into a roll. Brown in the oven, basting occasionally with butter and water.

USDA Farmers’ Bulletin No. 559
Use of Corn, Kafir, and Cowpeas in the Home

October 16, 1913

Cowpeas, or black-eyed peas, are recommended as an inexpensive meat substitute in this bulletin.

1 tablespoonful butter
1 tablespoonful finely chopped onion
1 tablespoonful finely chopped sweet green pepper
2 cupfuls cooked cowpeas
1/2 cupful grated cheese
Press the peas through a sieve to remove the skins, and mix with the cheese. Cook the onion and pepper in the butter, being careful not to brown, and add to the peas and cheese. Form the mixture into a roll, place on a buttered earthenware dish and cook in a moderate oven until brown, basting occasionally with butter and water. Serve hot or cold as a substitute for meat.

Federal documents such as these often offer fascinating glimpses into history. If you need assistance with researching federal government documents, we have reference librarians who can help. Contact us at statelibrary@wyo.gov or (307) 777-6333.

If you have a question about this or any other article, please contact us at statelibrary@wyo.gov

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