Started in a cold oven.

Starting food in a cold oven can have certain culinary advantages for certain kinds of dishes (custards, for example, or those being cooked from frozen), but it wasn’t the final result that made these kinds of recipes popular in two specific decades. In the 1920s and 1970s, cold oven dishes were promoted as being more cost-effective ways to use energy.

Here’s a public service announcement on conservation techniques (the cold oven bit is at the bottom) that appeared in the August 2, 1923 edition of The Pinedale (Wyoming) Roundup:

Either of These Two Good Types of Oven Will Save Gas
(Prepared by the United States Department of Agriculture)

A small portable oven used over a burner on the top of a gas stop effects considerable saving in gas consumption, points out the United States Department of Agriculture. Baking small amounts of biscuits, muffins, potatoes and other foods requiring high temperatures for a short time in a large oven wastes gas needlessly. Double walls and if possible some insulation should be insisted on when selecting one of the various types of small portable ovens.

THe oven burners in the ordinary gas stove oven may use 40 to 50 cubic feet of gas an hour when turned on full at the higher pressures. A large proportion of this heat is lost unless the oven is insulated between the outer and inner walls. Asbestos paper one-eighth inch or more thick may be used in small ovens but larger ovens need better insulation than this.

Low or moderate baking temperatures can be used to a much greater extent then most cooks realize. Preheating the oven often consumes 50 percent of the entire amount of gas and is in many cases entire unnecessary. Many foods could be started in a cold oven.

And since we’re making public service announcements…
Don’t forget to vote for Dinner is Served 1972‘s Hawaiian Coffee Jelly Parfaits over on Rantings of an Amateur Chef!

I suppose you could hypothetically vote for something else, but I would point out that a jelly parfait is clever. Meanwhile, a baba au rhum that isn’t yeast-based is actually just a liquored-up coffee cake. And while there’s nothing wrong with liquored-up coffee cake, I’ve long been a fan of James Beard’s vision of honest American cookery.

So basically, if you don’t vote for Hawaiian Coffee Jelly Parfaits, it means you hate America. NBD.

From the box of L.R. from Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Meat Loaf

  • 3 lbs. ground beef
  • 2 eggs — beaten separately
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 1 large sweet green pepper
  • 1 39-cent glass jar of whole button mushrooms
    (Be sure to drain and wash before adding to mix. Keep about 6 to add to top of loaf.)

  • 1/3 cup of Heinz Chili sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 level Tablespoons of flour
  • a scant teaspoon of salt to each pound of meat
  • use dust of black pepper

Beat eggs separately before adding to meat; mix above ingredients and make out in loaf.

Add to top of meatloaf:

  • teaspoonful of chili sauce
  • sprinkle with black pepper
  • add mushrooms

Wrap in foil–place in cold oven and cook 20 minutes to pound–when loaf has finished cooking, turn foil back and brown for about 8 minutes.

Bake on about 350 deg. heat.



    I need a cake recipe thats easy. I need it for a Church Birthday! I volunteered to bring it. Thanks for your help


    I need a cake recipe thats easy. I need it for a Church Birthday! I volunteered to bring it. Thanks for your help

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