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18 Vintage Recipes From Early America

From simple sweets to hearty stews, these recipes are inspired by early America. Learn which all-American eats have withstood the test of time!

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Chunky Apple Cake

Inspired by apple tansey, a staple in Colonial Virginia, this cake is bursting with big apple chunks. The addition of butterscotch sauce gives it a special, old-world feel.
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Golden Apricot-Glazed Turkey Breast

A favorite protein of American colonists, the turkey became a fixture on holiday dinner tables. This version roasts the apricot preserves and turkey breast until they’re golden brown and delicious.
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In the early days, apple cider was one of the easiest beverages to produce as there were plenty of apples groves around. This drink was incredibly popular throughout the colonies.
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Fresh Asparagus Soup

Rumor has it that asparagus soup was one of Thomas Jefferson’s favorite dishes; he even had asparagus planted and grown at Monticello.
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Molasses Cookie Mix

Before the Molasses Act of 1733, which taxed the sticky sauce, cookies rich with ooey-gooey molasses were common treats. When the price of molasses eventually lowered again, these cookies regained their popularity.
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Fresh Corn & Potato Chowder

Quickly adopted by settlers, corn was planted and grown throughout the colonies. Corn chowder, like this recipe, was one way colonists used up their fresh produce.
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A Bit Nutty Boston Brown Bread

Originally developed when wheat crops wouldn’t grow, this sweet and hearty bread is still common in the Northeast.
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Apple Pie

Though apple pie’s roots are from Europe, it didn’t long for this pie to become quintessentially American.
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Rump Roast in the Slow Cooker

Slow roasted and chalk-full of hearty vegetables, dishes like this rump roast were common for special events.
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Jumble Cookies

Simple and easy to throw together, these cookies were a common treat. Martha Washington even had her own recipe!
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Pumpkin Gnocchi in Sage Butter

Though pumpkin gnocchi may seem strange, pasta was a very common way colonialists incorporated pumpkin into their dishes. Paired with a simple and delicious butter sauce, you’ll find love at first bite!
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Buttermilk Pound Cake

Classic cakes were originally made with just four ingredient: a pound of butter, flour, sugar and eggs. This version has a few more ingredients that make it even more delicious.
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Beef Barley Soup with Roasted Vegetables

Since barley grew in abundance in Colonial America, barley soup was a common way to warm up on a cold day.
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Apple Dumplings with Sauce

Apple dumplings were incredibly popular throughout the middle colonies, since boiling was one of the most common way to cook food in the area. This particular recipe is inspired by the Pennsylvania Dutch’s baking method.
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Sausage Johnnycake

Cornmeal johnnycakes rose to popularity when wheat crops failed to flourish in the colonies. This version add sausage for a hearty touch.
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Granny's Gingerbread Cake with Caramel Sauce

This treat was as popular during Christmas in Colonial America as it is today. Though, our modern-day gingerbread cake recipe has an extra-sweet touch of caramel sauce.
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Easy Homemade Pickles

Since pickling was one of the simplest way to preserve fresh produce, pickles were commonly eaten during dinner or as an appetizer.
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Cranberry-Orange Roast Ducklings

Roast duck was a favorite of colonists, especially when stuffed with a citrus.

Caroline Stanko
As Editor, Caroline writes and edits all things food-related and helps produce videos for Taste of Home. When she’s not at her desk, you can probably find Caroline cooking up a feast, planning her next trip abroad or daydreaming about her golden retriever, Mac.