Learn some of the best vintage cooking skills that will take you, your kitchen, and your recipes to the next level!
“My Grandma was the BEST cook!” How often have you heard that phrase? Its true! Women of the past really knew how to make magic happen in the kitchen.
Not only did they create delicious meals and recipes for their families, they did it all with the vintage cooking skills that very few people practice today.
If you are looking to hone in on some of your vintage cooking skills and are wondering where to start, look no further. Here are 9 AMAZING vintage cooking skills that you can start practicing today.
These are the types of skills that were commonplace for women in the past. They likely contributed to the delicious cooking we always hear about.
After all, when you have to (out of neccessity, not nearly as much convenience back then) spend time understanding how to cook, learning what works together, and cooking from scratch, you’re bound to turn into an amazing cook.
Try some of these out today, and continue to practice and hone in on your vintage cooking skills anytime you’re in the kitchen.
PSA: Did you know I have a FREE eBook on my 5 Secrets to SIMPLE, SEASONAL, OLD-FASHIONED, Homemaking?! Its an actionable guide that will help you to embrace this vintage lifestyle in your own home. I think you’d love it! Sign up for my email list HERE to get access to yours today!
Butchering & Dressing
Back in the day chicken didn’t come in pretty packages, boneless, skinless, and ready to heat and eat. No meat did. Rather, you butchered your own chicken, plucked the feathers, scalded it, cut the limbs off, gutted it, and cut it up or packaged it how you pleased.
Then came the process of making it into something delicious for dinner. Most often a whole chicken was cooked at one time and used for dinner and meals throughout the week. Do you know how to cook a whole chicken? Its a great skill to have!
This goes the same for all different kinds of meat. To know how to butcher an animal from start to finish and then make the different cuts into a variety of dishes is an awesome vintage cooking skill.
Dressing refers to a similar process done with wild game. The wild game is gutted and taken care of right away so it doesn’t go rancid. My husband loves to hunt and is very familiar with this, and though I’ve never had to dress an animal myself (he always does it) its valuable knowledge to have.
Cooking Over a Fire
Have you ever been camping and struggled with having to cook over a fire if you didn’t have a camp stove? Well, in times past, that was the only way men and women cooked, not just when they camped but at home!
There was no such thing as a camp stove or an electric stove. If you want to give yourself a good challenge, try cooking over a fire the next time you have the opportunity.
You’ll have to learn how to start the fire, how to build it to the right heat, and how to cook over it without burning or under cooking your food! Camping or a picnic outside is a great time to practice.
Canning and other preservation techniques were done out of necessity in the past. Preserving whatever surplus the garden produced was the only way to continue to have delicious and nutritious foods throughout the cold months.
Canning can be so fun! If you take the time to learn the necessary precautions and a little canning 101, you can start preserving anything you want.
Not only will canning save you money, you’ll be eating healthier (who knows what can be in the canned goods you purchase from the store), and you can have plenty of home-canned goods to enjoy throughout the winter.
I was reading a Little House on the Prairie book recently, and Laura was talking about how they were preparing for winter by drying large cuts of meat from their pigs and a deer.
The drying processed allowed the family to continue to enjoy and live off of meat throughout the winter season, when meat was harder to come by. It was so interesting!
Drying can be done with meat (think beef jerky), fruits, vegetables, fish and seafood, and even nuts. Again, drying is just another way to preserve food so it can last longer without going rancid.
If you have a dehydrator drying foods can be a really simple and easy process. If you don’t you can go really vintage and try your hand at sun-drying foods.
Not only is fermenting great for you (hello healthy gut!), its another easy way to preserve food. You can make things such as sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir, other fermented vegetables, and more!
HERE is a great article explaining what fermentation is and why its great for us, as well as a few tips on how to ferment your own food.
Fermented foods have been around for years and years, and we are still tapping into the amazing benefits they can yield. Try your hand out fermenting today! One of the easiest fermented foods you can care for I think is kefir. Start there and when you’ve mastered it move onto something else!
Pickling is another ancient food preservation method, and a valuable vintage cooking skill to have. Pickling and fermenting are similar and can sometimes get confused.
HERE is a great article explaining some of the differences between pickling and fermenting foods. Basically pickling is when a food is preserved in a brine which can include salt water, salt, vinegar, or lemon juice (an acid).
Up your vintage cooking skills repertoire by learning how to pickle different foods. Start with the basics, cucumbers! You’ll be able to enjoy homemade, crunchy and flavorful pickles anytime you want.
Making Homemade Bread & Bread Products
Fresh, homemade bread used to be a common occurrence in a vintage kitchen. Can you imagine?! My mouth is watering at the thought of it; a loaf of fresh out of the oven bread, dosed with a heavy layer of homemade butter, and topped with raw, local honey.
If you want to go really vintage you can try keeping your own sourdough
starter (which is what was used before commercialized and packaged yeast came about), and use that to leaven your bread products.
If you’ve never made homemade bread before, you will so surprised at how easy it can be! Don’t just stop with bread either. Once you’ve learned how to make bread you can learn to make other things like scones, soft pretzels, donuts, muffins, tortillas, anything!
Make it a goal of yours to not purchase any of these kinds of products from the store, but to make them at home! It can seem intimidating, but with a little research and practice you’ll be golden. This is one vintage cooking skill you WILL NOT regret having.
Using Simple and Basic Kitchen Tools
Kitchenaids weren’t a thing back in the day; neither were food processors, instant pots, bread machines, etc. Of course, modern day appliances and technologies are a blessing!
Sometimes though, its nice to take the time to learn how to do things the old fashioned way. Even if you won’t necessarily do it this way all the time, its a good skill to have and it can help you to slow down and really appreciate what you’re making.
It can also help you to truly understand each recipe and cooking process. You get to understand why certain things are done the way that they are in a recipe.
So, next time you’re in your kitchen, try not plugging a single thing in. Use your hands and your trusty wooden utensils to get the job done.
Cooking Completely From Scratch
Along the same lines as learning to make homemade bread products, is learning to make from scratch…..well, pretty much anything!
Cooking from scratch is so much better for you, more delicious, and an awesome vintage cooking skill. You get to control exactly what goes into each of your recipes and dishes.
As mentioned before, women in the past didn’t have the convenience of groceries stores and packaged foods. Everything was made from scratch from things they grew and harvested, raised and butchered, and a few basics that may have been purchased from the store.
Find as many from scratch recipes as you can, and get to cooking. Condiments are a fun place to start as well. Yes, you CAN make your own ketchup, mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, etc.
Obviously, learning a few vintage cooking skills can really up your game in the kitchen. They’ll teach you valuable lessons and help you understand and relate to women of the past.
The nine vintage cooking skills above are the perfect place to start! Practice a few of them every day in your kitchen, and you’ll be a vintage cooking queen in no time.
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