An Autumnal Vintage Menu Madness

Tuesday 12 September 2023


An Autumn Vintage Menu

I had a ton of fun doing my Vintage Menu Madness last week, and I think you all really enjoyed it too. If you are reading this for the first time, Vintage Menu Madness is a new feature I have added to my blog. Once a week, I will explore a menu from one of my many Vintage Cookery Books.

I love Vintage Recipes and Recipe books.  It is a love that started when I was a child. I think there is a lot of value in these older recipes. In my case, it reminds me of meals my Grandmother would have cooked and also of meals that I enjoyed as a child.

When I was in Grade School (Kindergarten to Grade 5) my father used to come home for his dinner at noon. Our school was only a short walk from the house, so we were able to also come home. My mother always made our big meal at noon in those days and I have really fond memories of many of them.  She often also included a dessert and some kind of bread, even if the dessert was only tinned fruit.

She took her mother's job to provide us all with nutritious, healthy, and well balanced meals very seriously!  I don't think we put as much care into planning our meals and menus these days as they used to do. Meal planning was very serious business way back when!  A large portion of these Vintage Cookbooks was given over to meal planning and menus.  I like that!

Mind, most women did not work outside the home and so they had a lot more time for these sorts of things!

Good and Easy Cookbook

The Menu I am sharing today comes from a reprint of the 1954 cookbook by Betty Crocker called The Good and Easy Cook Book. I got my copy on Amazon

Betty Crocker was never a real woman, but a character created by the General Mills company and has come to symbolize food and recipes which are synonymous with quality, reliability and trustworthiness.  I have a few Betty Crocker Cookbooks, and whether a real person or not, they are some of my favorite books to use.

This book is a wonderful reprint of an old 1951 classic and would make a great addition to anyone's cookbook library.  It is filled with an abundance of valuable, stalwart tried and trues, timeless classics and hidden gems.

Autumn Vintage Menu

Since we are now coming into Autumn, I thought I would choose a menu this week that very much spoke to me of the "ber" months, with a Baked Ham Dinner.  It sounded delicious and actually was incredibly tasty. Everything went together like "peas and carrots!"

Vintage Menu

This menu was for a Baked Ham Dinner. I made very few alterations to the menu, although I did choose to cook a Baked Ham Slice rather than a whole ham, being that there is only myself in the house.  Here is the Menu I cooked:






I chose to add a small batch of North American Style Biscuits to round out the menu. My mother would have always added a bread of some sort and I felt that they would go very well with everything else.

Buttermilk Biscuits, small batch

The recipe I chose for my Biscuits was my QUICK & EASY BUTTERMILK BISCUITS FOR TWO.  The recipe makes only four of the  most delicious, light as air buttermilk biscuits that you could want to eat!  

It is the ideal recipe for the smaller family, or for a meal where you are feeding four people and don't want a lot of leftovers.

Baked Ham Steak

Of course the star of this menu is the Baked Ham Steak.  Although I was not able to get a ham steak the exact size of the one in the recipe, the one I was able to get worked very well. There was no fatty edge to insert cloves in and so I just added about 1/4 tsp of cloves to the orange juice before pouring it over the steak and baking.

This was such an easy entree to cook.  Just lay the steak in the  dish, pour over the juice, sprinkle on the brown sugar and bake.  I can't think of anyone who wouldn't like a sweet and tender glazed ham steak with bright citrus notes, can you?

Yield: variable
Author: Marie Rayner
Baked Ham Slice

Baked Ham Slice

Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 2 HourTotal time: 2 H & 10 M
Tender and juicy with a nice flavored glaze and notes of citrus.


  • 2 inch thick center cut slice of ham (see notes)
  • cloves
  • 1 cup (240ml) of pineapple or orange juice
  • 1/2 cup (100g) soft light brown sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 325*F/165*C/ gas mark 3. Cut slashes in the fatty edge of your ham every two inches and insert a whole clove into the fat.
  2. Place the ham into a baking dish large enough to hold it snuggly. Pour the fruit juice over top and then sprinkle evenly with the brown sugar.
  3. Bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, basting two or three times during the bake time.


My ham was a center cut round ham steak which was only 1/2 inch thick. I used roughly half the amount of brown sugar and orange juice and added a generous pinch of cloves to the orange juice. It was cooked perfectly in about an hour.

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Candied Sweet Potatoes 
One of the side dishes was Candied Sweet Potatoes. The instructions in the book said to cover cooked yam or sweet potato halves or slices with equal amounts of brown sugar and butter, and then simmer or bake until browned.

I did not have cooked sweet potatoes. They are not something you really see in a tin here where I live in Canada. This is what I did.  This made a generous serving for two people.

I took a medium sized sweet potato and peeled it. I cut it into six nice chunks and popped them into a baking dish along with about 1/4 inch of water.  I covered the dish tightly with a sheet of aluminum foil and then baked them along side of the ham steak in the oven.

As soon as they were fork tender, I drained off any water and then dotted each piece with a bit of butter and a sprinkle of brown sugar. They caramelized beautifully.

Buttered Cauliflower

Again, because there is only me I cooked only 2 portions of cauliflower.  I broke four decent sized florets of cauliflower from a head of cauliflower and placed them into a saucepan. I covered them with water to which I had added a teaspoon of vinegar. (This helps to keep the cauliflower white.)  Do not add salt at  this time.

Bring to the boil and then simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the cauliflower is to your taste. I like my cauliflower to be crispy tender.

Drain well and then toss together with a tablespoon of butter, a pinch of salt and some cracked black pepper.

Apple, Grape and Celery Salad

The salad suggested in the menu sounded very delicious to me!  However, there was no recipe in the book for one. I did a search online and found one on the Martha Stewart site.  It sounded perfect!

It was light and fresh, with only a simple vinegar and oil dressing.   I figured it would be perfect as with everything else in the menu, you didn't need anything really heavy to go alongside. I was right.

This was crisp, tart as well as being a bit sweet from the grapes at the same time. I really enjoyed it!  I also took the liberty of cutting the recipe in half as I felt that would be plenty. I also left out the toasted pecans.

Apple, Grape, and Celery Salad

Apple, Grape, and Celery Salad

Yield: 2
Author: Marie Rayner
Prep time: 10 MinTotal time: 10 Min
Fresh, light and tasty!


  • 1 stalk of celery, trimmed and thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 1/2 Granny Smith Apple, stemmed, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 8 seedless red grapes, halved
  • 1/2 TBS white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • coarse salt and black pepper to taste
  • celery leaves to garnish


  1. Combine the celery, apple and grapes in a bowl. Add the vinegar and olive oil and toss everything together to combine. Season to taste with some coarse salt and black pepper.
  2. Garnish with some celery leaves and serve.
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Pumpkin Pie for One

The final part of the menu was Pumpkin pie. Once again I did not want to bake a full pumpkin pie as I am only one person.  Instead I baked Pumpkin Pie for one in a 4 inch round deep pie dish.  You can get that recipe here.  It says that it is perfectly sized for one, but I have found that, especially with a full menu like this one, it is perfect ample enoug for two people to enjoy, especially with some squirty cream on top.

If you are wanting to feed more people I can highly recommend my recipe for Easy Pumpkin Pie.  It makes a 9-inch pie, suitable to feed 6 to 8 people!

Vintage Menu Madness

I thought this was a really delicious meal. Very well structured and nutritious without going over the top. The meat was tender and juicy and had a lovely flavor.  I used a bottled horseradish sauce to dollop alongside.

That salad was crisp and fresh and really tasty!  The sweet potatoes just sweet enough without going over the top and becoming dessert.  The cauliflower went well with everything else and looked nice on the plate.

The biscuits were not really necessary but I thought they made a nice extra touch, and the pie, well, it was the perfect finish for what was a really delicious Vintage Menu Madness meal!  I thoroughly enjoyed this!

 Tune in next week to see what Vintage Menu I will be cooking up next!

Vintage Menu Madness

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  1. I am really enjoying these posts! Thank you.

    1. Thank you so much Denise! It is nice to be appreciated! xo

  2. Hi, I'm English and you've some interesting recipes here, but what you in the USA call 'biscuits' are actually scones and the plain ones are served with jam and clotted cream- - an old Cornish type of delicious cream. There are also scones with dried fruit and also cheese scones, either usually served with butter. Fillings are inside a split scone. We done have 'gravy' with them because that is something you'd have with a meat dish for example, but there are beef, chicken, veggie gravy too. It is a savoury sauce. The 'gravy' I read about on US websites is actually a sweet white sauce. A sweetened bechamel. People, try your scones the proper way, much nicer. Biscuits are what you call 'cookies'. Hope you find this interesting and helpful. Sarah

    1. Hi Sarah. I am well aware of what scones are, having lived a third of my life in the UK. I know what British Biscuits (cookies are) I know what a gravy is. I think you are a bit misinformed when it comes to North American cooking. I am not sure where you have been looking for our gravy is not a sweet white sauce, or sweetened bechamel, but made with meat juices and is indeed just like a British gravy!

      I do have a proper scone recipe which you can find here:

      I also have a classic gravy recipe: (Unlike many British I make my gravy from scratch rather than using Bisto.)

      There is a huge difference between British Scones and North American biscuits. They have completely different textures and tastes. I think if you were to make a batch of each you would see what I am talking about. Perhaps then you would have a more informed opinion, but I thank you very much for your comment.

      I lived, as I said, for a third of my life in the UK, half of the time in a small village in Kent and the other half in Chester in the North West, and have been well travelled throughout the rest of the UK. I don't think there is a lot that you can tell me about British cookery that I don't know and, by the way, I am not in the USA. I am in Canada, with British colonial, Irish and Scottish roots.


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