Some classic Midwest recipes are better left lost (the entire genre of gelatin-based salads gets our vote).
But for local culinary history you'll want to relive, there's Lost Recipes Found, a new website from local writer and de facto historian Monica Kass Rogers.
Rogers hunts down old company recipes from the backs of boxes and pamphlets, from department store cafés (such as Marshall Field's cookies and Hess Bros. strawberry pie), from vintage cookbooks and more. She's ventured into the vault holding back issues of United Airlines' defunct Mainliner Traveler magazine, and pumped Hal Binyon--of the now-closed Chicago classic Binyon's--for his classic shrimp Binyon and ox joints jardinière recipes.
The site is fueled by reader requests and gems Rogers discovers through her research. The focus is Midwestern, though classics from across the country occasionally find a home there too.
Coming soon: video demonstrations of old recipes by current chefs--including the Palmer House's pastry chef, Fabrice Bouet, who plans to revive the hotel's circa-1940 recipe for dark chocolate ice cream.
Upcoming recipes will feature barbecue and state-fair blue-ribbon winners.
Currently, we're most excited about the creamy, fluffy griddle cakes from Fritzel's, a legendary Chicago restaurant that closed in the 1970s (click here to download the recipe), whose pancake savvy never should have been lost.
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