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article number 738
article date 10-04-2018
copyright 2018 by Author else SaltOfAmerica
1918 Fish: Broiled, Fried or Baked ― From the 1918 Metropolitan Life Cookbook for "Healthful Eating"
by Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, 1918

From the 1918 Metropolitan Life Cookbook for "Healthful Eating"

EDITOR’S NOTE: The article is decorated with ads from 1918 Ladies’ Home Journal Magazines.


Fish, like meat, is a building food and contains some mineral matter. For variety it can be used in place of meat. At some seasons of the year, fish from local waters can be bought very cheap.

Fish contains the same food value as meat at a much smaller cost, tastes good, and is easily digested.

As white-fleshed fish is considered more easily digested than the red-fleshed, it should be selected for invalids, convalescents or those suffering from weak digestion.

Select a fish that has bright eyes and gills, shiny scales, firm flesh, and is free from a disagreeable odor.


Cover board or table with paper before laying fish down. Remove scales by scraping a dull knife from tail to head, snapping scales off. Rinse knife in water occasionally.

Wet hands before touching fish, and odor will come off more easily.

Dip hands in salt so that fish will not slip, and hold by tail.

If inner organs have not been removed in market, make a lengthwise incision in belly and draw or scrape them out carefully, so that membrane which lines cavity is not broken. Remove head if desired. Remove fins with scissors.

Wash inside and out in salted water. Sprinkle fish with salt if it is to be kept overnight.

Handle fish carefully when cooking, as flesh falls apart easily, and have all utensils well greased, as skin sticks readily when heated.


Fish suitable for broiling are: Split mackerel, whitefish, cod, shad, trout, etc.; sliced halibut and salmon, white smelts and small fish. To broil—brush with melted fat, sprinkle with flour, salt and pepper, and cook over a flame or clear fire.

Fish suitable for baking whole are: Whitefish, cod, haddock, small salmon, shad. Follow directions for baked fish.

Fish suitable for boiling are: Salmon, halibut, cod, haddock, trout, etc. Cook in piece of cheesecloth. Add 1 tablespoon vinegar and 1 tablespoon salt to each quart of water.

Fish suitable for frying are the white-fleshed ones. Cook in deep fat, or saute in a little fat in a frying pan.


Baking—thick fish, a pound . . . 10 to 15 minutes
Baking—thin fish, a pound . . . 8 to 10 minutes
Boiling—thick fish, halibut, salmon, a pound . . . 15 minutes
Boiling—thin fish, such as flounder, a pound . . . 8 minutes
Frying—fillets or steak . . . 4 to 7 minutes
Frying—smelts or trout . . . 3 to 5 minutes

When the fish can be easily separated from the bone, the fish is sufficiently cooked.

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Select a fish weighing from 2 to 4 pounds. Bake with the following stuffing:

• 1 cup crumbs (bread or crackers, or half and half)
• 1/4 cup melted fat
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/8 teaspoon celery salt
• 1/8 teaspoon pepper
• Few drops onion juice, if liked
• 1/4 cup water

Mix ingredients in order given. If a dry filling is desired, the water may be omitted.

Three tablespoons catsup, chopped parsley, capers, pickles, or oysters may be added.

Clean and wipe the fish. Rub the inside with salt. Fill with stuffing and sew together.

Cut diagonal gashes 1 1/2 inches apart on both sides of the fish and place a strip of bacon or salt pork fat in each gash.

Brush with melted fat, sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Dredge with flour, tie in the shape of a letter “S” and bake in a dripping pan.

When the flour is browned, baste the fish once in 10 minutes. Cook until the flesh is firm and separates easily from the bone.

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Wash the fish thoroughly; let soak 1/4 hour in cold water, skin side up.

Cover with water which is simmering, not boiling.

Let stand 15 minutes, then drain carefully and wipe dry, brush over with fat and broil over slow fire about 15 minutes.

Remove to hot platter, sprinkle with bits of butter, and with juice of 1/2 lemon. Serve at once.

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Put Finnan-haddie in a baking pan, cover with cold water. Bring water to boiling point slowly.

Cook over low fire 1/2 hour. Drain and rinse, separate fish in flakes.

Make White Sauce No. II, add flaked fish and 1 or 2 hardboiled eggs sliced.

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CREAM OR WHITE SAUCE II (from SaltOfAmerica article, "1918 Meats Part 1: Meats Overview, Stuffing and Sauces ― From the 1918 Metropolitan Life Cookbook for "Healthful Eating"

- II -
• 1 cup milk
• 2 tablespoons flour
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 1/4 teaspoon salt

Melt butter in saucepan, then add flour, stirring till mixture becomes foamy, but not brown. Add milk, continue stirring to insure smoothness, cook till thickened. Season.

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Let soak in cold water 12 hours, skin side up.

Drain and wipe dry. Brush over with melted fat.

Broil on a well greased broiler skin side down, basting with butter once or twice.

Remove carefully to serving dish and pour over 1/2 cup of hot White Sauce.

Sprinkle with finely chopped parsley. It may be served with melted butter in place of the white sauce.

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To clean smelts, spread open outer gills, and with the forefinger take hold of the inner gills and pull gently; the parts unfit for food are all attached to these inner gills, and come away together, leaving the smelt in perfect shape.

Rinse thoroughly and wipe dry.

If smelts are small, dip in milk and roll in flour, or in egg and bread crumbs.

Fry in deep fat.

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• 1 cup salt codfish
• 2 cups potatoes
• 1 egg
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Wash fish in cold water and pull into small pieces, keeping fish in water while doing so.

Wash and pare the potatoes and cut into pieces before measuring.

Cook the fish and potatoes together in boiling water until the potatoes are tender, then drain and shake over the fire until dry.

Mash, and beat thoroughly with a wire potato masher.

Add the butter, pepper and salt if needed.

Cool slightly, then add beaten egg, and beat until light.

Take up mixture in a spoon, molding slightly with a knife, and drop into deep hot fat. Fry until brown, about 1 minute.

Drain on absorbent paper.

Mixture for codfish balls may be served hot, without frying, or turned into a buttered baking dish and browned in the oven and served as a baked dish, or shaped into flat cakes and sauted in frying pan.

To make codfish puff, prepare in same manner, only use 2 well beaten eggs. Cook like an omelet.

The Government Says: "Use No Butter in Cooking." You are fortunate in having Crisco because by using it you easily can carry out the wishes of the Food Administration.

Crisco gives perfect satisfaction in all war-time recipes calling for "butter substitutes" and in fact in any recipe in which you have been accustomed to use butter.

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• 1 pound flaked cod
• 1 1/2 cups white sauce
• 1/4 cup buttered crumbs

Arrange fish and sauce in layers in a well greased baking dish.

Cover with bread crumbs. Bake until heated throughout and crumbs are browned on top.

Any kind of cooked fish may be flaked and prepared in this way. Layers of boiled onion or green peas may be used in this recipe.

This recipe is suitable also for canned salmon or tuna fish.

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• 1 cup flaked cooked salmon or canned salmon
• 1 cup stale bread crumbs soaked in 1 cup scalded milk
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 1/2 teaspoon onion juice
• 2 egg yolks, beaten
• 1 teaspoon lemon juice
• 2 egg whites, stiffly beaten

Combine ingredients in order given, folding in the stiffly beaten whites last.

Place mixture into a well greased and crumbed pan and bake in a moderately hot oven or steam the mixture. Serve with White Sauce or the following "Sauce for Fish".

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• 2 tablespoons butter
• 2 tablespoons flour
• 1 1/2 cups milk, scalded
• 1/2 cup liquid from fish
• 2 tablespoons lemon juice
• 1 egg yolk

Melt butter, add flour, then heated milk gradually.

Add liquid from fish and lemon juice just before removing from fire.

Just before serving, beat sauce into yolk of egg. Serve hot. One tablespoon catsup may be added, if desired.

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Select large oysters, remove pieces of shell, wash and wipe dry.

Roll in well seasoned, dry bread crumbs, which have been sifted.

Dip in egg (beaten with 1 tablespoon water or oyster juice), and again in the crumbs.

Fry in deep fat.

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• 1 quart oysters
• 2 cups crumbs
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• Cayenne
• 6 tablespoons butter
• 3/4 cup liquid

Wash oysters with 3/4 cup cold water in colander and remove pieces of shell.

Strain the juice. Melt butter, add crumbs and seasoning.

Line the bottom of a greased baking dish with 1/4 the crumbs, then add 1/2 the oysters.

Add 1/4 more crumbs, and remainder of oysters and liquid, which may be liquid from oysters, or milk.

Cover with buttered crumbs. Bake in a moderate oven 30 to 40 minutes.

A large shallow pan is always preferable to a deep baking pan, as there should be only 2 layers of oysters.

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• 1 quart oysters
• 1 quart milk
• 1/4 cup butter
• 1/2 tablespoon salt
• 1/8 tablespoon pepper

Clean the oysters by placing in colander and pouring over them 3/4 cup cold water. Pick over carefully, removing any bits of shell that adhere.

Reserve liquid, heat to boiling point, strain through double cheesecloth over wire strainer.

Add oysters, cook until edges begin to curl.

Add oysters and liquor to hot, scalded milk; add butter and seasoning. Serve at once.

Paprika, celery salt, onion juice, parsley or mace may be used as additional seasoning, if desired.

For oyster soup, thicken the milk, using tablespoon flour for each cup of milk. Prepare as for white sauce.

Heinz Vinegars. Strictly pure and wholesome, they can now be bought attractively bottled wherever the 57 Varieties are Sold.
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