Herbed Potato Cakes from 1917

June 15, 2014 | No Comments

Welcome to Week 24 of Reddit’s 52 Weeks of Cooking challenge. This week’s theme is historic foods.

I did a Google search on historic foods one day and I ran across the food blog theoldfoodie.com. Janet Clarkson is not only the voice of  The Old Foodie, but she has written many books as well. She is passionate about food and food history and she loves to tell fascinating stories to her readers. I chose to make my version of potato cakes, a recipe from a posted letter written to the editor of The Times in 1917. I found the letter to be very real and human and for some reason it just captured my interest.

These potato cakes are simple to make. You can add as many herbs as you desire, or none at all, following the original recipe. The author of the letter to The Times, wrote, “Owing to flour’s being dearer than potatoes, potato cakes would bevery appetising at breakfast or tea.” The author rolls them in balls and bakes them. I did that and they dissapeared before I could take a decent picture.

I also made a version where I rolled the potato balls and then flattened them. These are more versatile. You can dip them,  top them, sandwich them, or just eat them as is. However you chose to make these potato cakes,  I hope you enjoy these as much as my family did.

I adapted this recipe from the letter to The Times in this blog.

Herbed Potato Cakes from 1917
Author: Jillian
  • 1 lb butter mashed potatoes, with skins (be careful about over salting these)
  • Small handful of basil, thyme and parsley, chopped fine
  • Salt and pepper to taste (pinch of each)
  • 1 large egg lightly beaten
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cover sheet tray with parchment or a Silpat
  3. Mix all ingredients except egg until thoroughly incorporated
  4. Taste and season if needed
  5. Add egg and mix again
  6. Scoop 1- 2 Tbsp and roll in a ball and place on sheet tray
  7. Repeat until you get a whole 1/2 sheet tray filled (they do not spread)
  8. Flatten gently with palm (if you are adding yummy toppings, dipping, using in the place of bread, or making mini pizzas)
  9. If you leave them in a ball, you can carefully pipe a greek yogurt dip or cheese filling into them when they are fully baked, and cooled if you wish
  10. Bake in preheated oven for 30-45 minutes or until golden and crispy on outside
  11. Enjoy!

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