Old Recipes

Here’s a nostalgic way to promote healthier eating. Start cooking from your mother or your grandmother’s old cookbooks. According to new research, the average calorie count of some of the Joy of Cooking’s classic recipes rose 63 per cent between its 1936 and 2006 editions.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion studied 18 recipes, including apple pie, corn muffins, beef stroganoff and chili, which appear in all editions of the book. In 2006 the average calories per recipe was about 384, up from 268 in 1936.

There are two culprits: The use of more high-calorie ingredients such as cheese, meat and sugar, and growing portion size.

On average, a 2006 recipe one fewer serving than in 1936. The nine-inch apple pie, for instance, used to serve eight; now it serves six. Researchers say serving sizes started to expand after the Second World War, but the biggest jump has been a 33-per-cent increase since 1996.

Another factor may be that households have shrunk over the years. Cookbooks may be responding to the tendency to feed fewer people with the same amount of food. Not to mention that portion sizes outside the home have been getting bigger, and so have kitchen tools like muffin and cake tins. So just remember, an old-fashioned depression era recipe may help get back your old waist size.

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