UNCG’s NC cookbook Collection offers July 4th Inspirations

Posted on July 03, 2023

UNCG Department of Nutrition sign with an upside down pecan apple pie and recipe.

If you’re looking for cookout inspiration this July Fourth, UNC Greensboro’s North Carolina Cookbook Collection holds hundreds of recipes ranging from side salads to desserts – going back 100 years. The UNCG Department of Nutrition in the School of Health and Human Sciences recently followed a 70-year-old apple pie recipe found in the University library’s archives.

The collection is part of UNCG’s Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives with more than 2,000 North Carolina cookbooks. Community cookbooks were typically created by a women’s group or church (though not exclusively) with the intention of raising money for a civic cause. Raising money through cookbook sales became the duty of female church goers, should the church require extra funds. The UNCG collection also features many cookbooks from schools and various women’s clubs.

70-year-old recipe brought to life

For the dessert table, Mrs. Everett B. Saslow’s Upside-Down Pecan Apple Pie is featured in the collection. The recipe was originally published in “Victuals and Vitamins” by the Junior League of Greensboro in 1952.

The 70-year-old recipe involves baking the pie, largely from scratch, with fresh apples, pecan halves, lemon, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and “your favorite pastry.” Once baked in the oven for about an hour, the pie is flipped over onto a serving plate. Just like the modern America’s apple pie, the Upside-Down Pecan Apple Pie dessert goes well with vanilla or butter pecan ice cream.

Full photos and video of the pie making process are available for download here. For media usage, please credit UNC Greensboro.

going back 100 years

Among the many summer recipes is a corn salad from “Milady’s Own Book,” published in 1920 by the Camp Fire Girls of Greensboro. Listed among a variety of salad options including fruit, cherry, vegetable, lobster, and Russian salads, the 103-year-old recipe is still relevant today as a quick 30-minute side dish for any party.

The corn salad calls for several ears of sweet corn, a small head of cabbage, seeded peppers, apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt, and ground mustard. Mix it all together and cook for thirty minutes, but University Libraries staff caution that the cooking time is not a hard and fast rule. During the 1920s, the most common forms of cooking would be a wood, oil, or gas stove, and cooking techniques were more of an oral tradition. The cook often would rely on the appearance of the dish, the way it smelled, and its consistency to determine when it was ready to eat.

University Libraries has compiled a full research guide on the North Carolina Cookbook Collection here.

Story by Avery Craine Powell, University Communications
Photos by Sean Norona, University Communications
Videography by David Lee Row, University Communications

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