3 Vintage Tomato Recipes for Gardeners With Too Many Tomatoes


Not only do I love gardening and growing vegetables, I also love cooking and collecting old cookbooks. Since many of us may be blessed with an overabundance of tomatoes this summer, I thought it would be fun to share a few tomato recipes with my garden readers.

These recipes are from The White House Cook Book, published in 1887, by Mr. F. L. Gillette and Hugo Ziemann, steward of the White House. According to the book: “Hugo Ziemann was at one time caterer for that Prince Napoleon who was killed while fighting the Zulus in Africa [Imperial Prince Napoléon IV, France]. He was afterwards steward of the famous Hotel Splendide in Paris. Later he conducted the celebrated Brunswick Café in New York and still later he gave to the Hotel Richelieu, in Chicago, a cuisine which won the applause of even the gourmets of foreign lands… Mrs. F.L. Gillette is no less proficient and capable, having made a life-long and thorough study of cookery and housekeeping, especially as adapted to the practical wants of average American homes.”

Stewed Tomatoes

Pour boiling water over a dozen sound ripe tomatoes; let them remain for a few moments; then peel off the skins, slice them and put them over the fire in a well lined tin or granite ware sauce-pan. Stew them about twenty minutes, then add a tablespoonful of butter, salt and pepper to taste; let them stew fifteen minutes longer; and serve hot. Some prefer to thicken tomatoes with a little grated bread, adding a teaspoonful of sugar; and others who like the flavor of onion chop up one and add while stewing; then again some add as much green corn as there are tomatoes.

Scalloped Tomatoes

Butter the sides and bottom of a pudding [baking] dish. Put a layer of bread crumbs in the bottom; on them put a layer of sliced tomatoes; sprinkle with salt, pepper and some bits of butter, and a very little white vinegar. Then repeat with another layer of crumbs, another of tomato and seasoning until full, having the top layer of slices of tomato, with bits of butter on each. Bake covered until well cooked through; remove the cover and brown quickly.

[I’d bake this at 375 degrees and maybe run it under the broiler at the end to brown the top. And a little Parmesan cheese on top might not hurt either.]

To Prepare Tomatoes (Raw)

Carefully remove the peelings. Only perfectly ripe tomatoes should ever be eaten raw, and if ripe the skins easily peel off. Scalding injures the flavor. Slice thin, and sprinkle generously with salt, more sparingly with black pepper, and to a dish holding one quart, add a light tablespoonful of sugar to give a piquant zest to the whole. Lastly, add a gill [1/2 a cup] of best cider vinegar; although, if you would have a dish yet better suited to please an epicurean palate, you may add a teaspoonful of made [prepared] mustard and two tablespoonfuls of rich sweet cream.

I was going to publish a graphic of a tomato with this blog post. However, since you are probably up to your eyeballs in tomatoes already, I’m showing you the cool vintage art on the title page of this fine cookbook instead. Drop by my cooking and kitchen art website MomsRetro.com to find more recipes.

Happy Cooking!