Well, even though 2020 was a trash-can fire of a year, I still had a lot of fun doing recipes for the blog. Admittedly, I didn’t get as many recipes done as I wanted to, but that was pretty much the theme of everything this year. Besides some really fun recipe tests, I also shook things up on the blog this year with a new blog design that I really, really love. I know a lot of people miss the traditional “blog” design of the previous site, but this upgrade included a very cool recipe-only section that I think really improved the ability to find a recipe from the blog that you want to replicate or cook-along with. The new recipe page was also the most visited page on the blog this year, even out-performing the main landing page of the site. So it seems that the recipe section is a hit, and I’m glad. I always feel terrible when someone emails me to ask where a recipe is because they can’t find a post, and I feel like this is a good solution. I also added a membership option, so you can bookmark your own favorites and leave reviews and comments.
This year also introduced the Patreon account, which has really been a big, big financial help to the blog. At almost 12 years old, this blog is hefty and hosting is a bear, so I really appreciate the support I’ve received from a rotating cast of patrons. It has enabled me to remove questionable ad serving code from the site. It also turned out to be fun in its own right, as the most popular perk has been the ability to vote on what recipes I test on Tom!
But enough yakking. Time for the countdown! Click on the title or image to go to the post!
#5 – Peanut Butter Sandwich Bread
This year had some really, really low lows. One of those for us was navigating the grocery-store system. This was compounded by the fact that many stores in our area ran out of food. This is terrifying at any time, but when you are a parent it is so, so much worse. (Please donate to your local food bank!) This got better as weeks went on, but it still continues today with sporadic shortages in products and ingredients. One of these hard-to-find items was bread. While others turned to bread machines, I turned to my vintage cookbook and made loaves and loaves of quick bread for sandwiches. This was by far the favorite in the house.
#4 – Beer Cheesecake
This was one of those Patreon-chosen recipes that I mentioned above, and I have been really enjoying how they are making me stretch myself when I usually would go for an easier recipe. Plus, this recipe came from my collection of radio and TV personality cookbooks, which I think might be my favorite section of my cookbook collection. At the end of the test, it was determined that this is more of a savory cheesecake than a dessert, but that it might be possible to change this one up with your choice of beer addition. It also was added to the fun and unusual breakfast menu in our house, as Tom and I mostly ate this for breakfast.
#3 – Cranberry Cold Cake
What was I just saying about unusual breakfasts? This is another one in that category. It’s also a great dessert, especially if served with pumpkin ice cream. It seems like kind of an obvious recipe if you are a fan of icebox cakes, but for some reason, layering cranberry sauce with graham crackers never occurred to me before this. And I don’t know why, because this was actually a good recipe. The bonus was that it was really easy to throw together.
#2 – Jellied Hamburger Loaf
Okay, now this is getting nuts. Another recipe chosen by Patreon, this one was strangely…good. I mean, it was salty as all get out and was hilarious with the alphabet macaroni (which is actually time period appropriate!), but if you like cold meatloaf then this recipe could be your jam. Especially with mustard. This recipe was also one that met with the ingredient shortage block. Can you believe at one point this year there was a shortage of plain gelatin? That seems really apocalypse-y to me. And also proof-positive that there are more of us out there.
#1 – Lima Beans and Marshmallows
Here it is! The most popular post of 2020. Seems kind of appropriate, right? And not in a flavor way, because this was actually, legit good and my family ate it all. But it hit all the categories from this year, made up and real. It was made from dried beans, it had cured meat on it, (apocalypse food) it was unexpected breakfast food, AND it was a Patreon-chosen recipe. But on the serious side, it showed me that I don’t actually hate lima beans, and bacon and marshmallows work really well together. I’m not sure if that last one is going to be practical knowledge, but you never know what 2021 might bring!
Thank you so, SO much for keeping this going! Your posts have brought so many laughs and been the highlight of many a Friday.
I discovered your blog in late 2019 – great timing, as it turned out. A couple of days after Christmas, my mom had the first (of what turned out to be three) surgery in the last year. She’s had a lot of medical problems, but never been in as much pain. While staying up with her, reading your posts, and laughing at Tom’s faces, were the only thing that kept her from crying nonstop for several days. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
(Also, thanks for trying the cantaloupe chiffon pie from the 1960s Dessert Cookbook – I’ve owned that book for a few years but never had the guts to try the pie!)
Oh, Maria!!! I am so, so happy that we were able to make your mom laugh and forget her pain, even if it was for just a little while. Thank you so much for sharing that, it seriously made my month, and possibly even my year. 🙂 Let me know if your mom has any requests she would like to see tested! Much love and strength to you and your beautiful mom!
Since March 2020, I have been working from home and supervising my mother who is in early stage dementia. Acting upon inspiration from you, I have procured as many Mary Lee Taylor booklets as I can. Mom is eating well and I am not stuck with a week’s worth of leftovers. We have established the “Pizza Clause.” That is if it is bad, we call for pizza. We have not had to yet. Good work and keep going. Yours for more and better Jello (plus PET milk,)
Mary! I am so glad that you were able to use those Mary Lee Taylor booklets, I have always thought the way they presented their recipes so smart. Modern cookbooks should copy their format! Tell your mom that a crazy lady from the internet wishes her well. 🙂
Thanks Ruth for all you do here. This blog is something I look at for inspiration all the time. I have about 40 vintage cookbooks but many have repeats. I come here to find the treasures I can count on you to post about. Thank you very much for all your hard work. I look forward to your blog in 2021!
Thank you for sharing all your experiments (and Tom’s faces), and how you’ve been dealing with the crazy shortages here in Michigan. Your blog has been a source of smiles for me for years now, even if I don’t have the guts to try many of the things you make.