Remember that cookbook I've been working on for, like, the past three years? No? That's probably because I haven't been working on it (or writing about working on it) in months. My cookbook of trendy recipes from the past century got put on hold for the past six months or so while my creative muse took a break. Sometimes you just gotta wait until inspiration strikes. Thank goddess I don't do this cookbook author thing for a living.
Anyway, inspiration has struck. And I'm back in the game. I realized, though, that the only way for me to get this book done is to go in chronological order. Since I started working on this second cookbook in 2012, I've been developing recipes from the various decades — the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, and so on — in all kinds of crazy order. I've already got at least 50 or more recipes developed, but they span various decades. But my brain doesn't really work that way. I need to start back at the beginning, back at 1900.
Luckily, my editor gave me a book all about dining out between 1900 and 1910 that she reviewed for our paper, The Memphis Flyer, awhile back. It's called Repast: Dining Out in the Dawn of the New American Century, 1900-1910, and it's filled with images of menus from restaurants during that decade.
I've been studying those menus for ideas. And when I spied Denver Omelet on a menu, I knew I just had to develop a Tofu Denver Omelet!
I used a mixture of silken tofu, chickpea flour, and some other spices and such for the omelet, and the filling is made from homemade steamed seitan (recipe will be in the book), red and green bell peppers, onions, and vegan cheese. So good!
Omelets are still popular today obviously. But I spotted another menu item that I'd never heard of — Milk Toast. And after some research, I learned that milk toast was a popular comfort food breakfast in the early 1900s. And it's just what it sounds like —toast with some warm milk and butter poured over it. I used sprouted grain bread, Earth Balance, and cashew milk.
That milk is slightly thickened with flour, so it's more like a gravy. And from there, you can make it savory or sweet. I tried it both ways — once with salt and pepper and once with cinnamon and sugar. Even though I typically gravitate toward savory things, I actually preferred the cinnamon sugar on this! And I know it sounds totally weird, but milk toast is so good! It's very soul-satisfying, and I can see why it was considered a comfort food back then. Definitely adding this to my breakfast rotation.