Heirloom Recipe – Corn Meal Muffins

Stalk of corn

Heirloom Recipe from 1891 The Cookery Blue Book

One of the most simple recipes I’ve seen. However, I think people back then probably knew how to do things without it being written out in a cookbook!

Corn Meal Muffins

1 pint milk, 1/2 pint Indian meal, 4 eggs, 1 tablespoonful butter, salt,
and 1 teaspoonful sugar. Pour the milk boiling on the meal. When cool
add the butter melted, salt, sugar and yolks of eggs; lastly, the
whites, well beaten. Bake in a well-heated oven.

If you make this, please let me know how it turned out. If you’re a cook (which I’m not) you probably know what temperature the oven should be. If so, please post in the comments so I’ll know too !

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  1. I have my mother’s cookbook. the problem with many of her recipes is that she listed the ingredients including the amounts but NO instructions. For some of them I have to guess and try to remember whether they were cooked or not.

    1. Hi Shirley,
      Well, that sounds about right! My problem is that my mom never measured anything, so I have no idea how to replicate some of her favorite recipes šŸ™


  2. Hi Nancy,
    … getting to this very late! However, most muffins are baked at 400 degrees F., again, most for about 20 to 25 minutes. If you have smaller or more ‘tender’ (sometimes Pumpkin muffins are done more quickly, for example) muffins they may bake more quickly, that is, some are 15 to 18 minutes.
    That said, this recipe does not sound ‘typical’ and if I were making these, the first time I would watch them closely for how browned they were getting. The recipe seems like it might make a more ‘delicate’ muffin – partly because of the folded in egg whites.
    Must muffins I have made you can use a cake tester or a toothpick. If it comes out clean from the center they are done.
    One other suggestion is to look in some old cookbooks for similar recipes and see what instructions they have. My mother was also famous for a list of ingredients and ZERO directions … she knew what she was doing but that didn’t help me so I got quite handy with the ‘similar recipe’ technique!

    1. Hi Lynn,
      Clearly you are a far better baker than I !!
      Thanks for the idea about looking for similar recipes – that’s definitely something I can do. And yes, I also wondered about the egg whites.
      I’ll post my results!


      1. I followed up with a couple of OLD cookbooks I have but they are perhaps too old. The oldest – from 1876 – predictably has recipes very much like your original one! No details.
        It was such a different environment. The kitchen would probably have a stove/oven going constantly with a fire and temperature control might be how hot the oven was in one spot or another. So different kinds of dishes to be baked or roasted, etc., would be placed closer to the hottest spot or farther away. And the experienced cooks knew by looking whether something was done or not!
        I do not know very much about this … just have a memory of my very early years when the farmhouse of my great-grandparents was still standing (early 1950s and my uncle was the 3rd generation to own the farm) and the kitchen still had the old stove. I think it was wood but maybe coal. There was a heating stove in the center of the house that was a coal stove, but somehow it sticks in my – vague and far away memory! – head that the kitchen stove used wood.
        I am writing some of the stories my Dad told about my grandmother cooking, baking, and canning – they canned and preserved everything: beef, veggies, fruits – and lots of the other farm stories.

        1. Lynn, I LOVE that you’re saving the stories.

          My aunt and uncle lived on a farm in Kansas; my uncle’s dad came from Norway and started the farm back in the day. I spent many a summer days at the farm – – chasing fire flies and cranking ice cream. I remember my aunt cooking what seemed like all the time – back in those days she cooked for the farm hands who helped out – and the meals were immense. I admit, there are days I’d like to time travel back to the farm.


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