Recipes We Remember From Home Ec Class
Sift some flour and break out the bread board—but first, make an apron.
Long, long ago, in a land without cell phones, iPads, internet, social media, or really good takeout, Southern girls took Home Ec (as in Home Economics). And while it was likely the aim of school systems to teach these young women to be good wives and homemakers, some Home Ec pupils went rogue and became Southern Living food editors and test kitchen pros. (That doesn’t mean they weren’t also wives and homemakers—it just means their kids got some truly righteous leftovers as our foods staff took new recipes home for their families to try and critique.)
Recently, we asked our Facebook Brain Trust to tell us: What recipes do you remember from Home Ec? They named everything from homemade bread, brownies, and “plain ole sugar cookies” to baked Alaska, chocolate pie, and Waldorf salad.
Here are more of their Home Ec memories. Tell us about yours!
“And I still have that recipe!”
“Sift flour, measure flour, measure all the other ingredients, sift again. Pour in liquids. Mix till it sticks all over everything, but not too much (you don’t want ‘them biscuits’ getting tough). Knead the dough. Cut out and bake. Then go to Phys Ed as if you didn’t already get a workout making those biscuits.
“Our teacher, like Mark Childress, said that the plural had no ‘s’ on the end.”
Indian Chicken Curry
“I still love this dish. We also had to design and make a dress. I took home economics every year from 5th grade on. We learned cleaning, sewing, ironing, EVERYTHING about cooking (how to substitute and measure, including some palate classes)—and our best colors.
Coconut Pie & Biscuits
“Those are the only two dishes I remember making. We cooked in groups of four. We also made an awesome apron. I made mine from flour sacks! (I think my mom didn’t want to waste money on material that I would surely mess up!)”
More on the Home Ec Apron . . .
“In addition to making our little apron, we had to learn all the parts of the sewing machine. From the bobbin binder spindle to the reverse stitch lever (with something called “feed dog” thrown in for good measure). Comes in so very handy when there’s a lull in the conversation—not!”
Chicken Salad Stuffed Tomatoes
“Mrs. Virginia Sharbut taught us, and I still remember making those stuffed tomatoes.”
“We made horrible biscuit-like cupcakes. If you stirred the batter too long, they would peak and have tunnels throughout = F. Nicely domed tops and fine crumb = A. Glad I learned to cook from my mom! Home Ec recipes were the worst.
“Crisp but not burnt = A+”
“When the bubbles appear, it’s time to flip!”
Lemon Meringue Pie
“We had Home Ec in our grammar school, 4th through 8th grades, while the boys had shop. I still have some of my old recipes from those years.”
Purple Cow Float
[For the uninitiated, picture a marriage of vanilla ice cream and purple grape soda.]
Hamburger Patties in the Oven
“Meat, salt, pepper, mixed well and made into a patty with a big dimple in the middle. ‘Otherwise, you’ll have a golf ball,’ said Mrs. House. (Great name for a Home Ec teacher!)”
Roux, of course . . .
[We’re going out on a limb here and guess that this Home Ec class was taught in Louisiana.]
Tuna Pot Pie
“Remember, this was the late fifties.”
Not Food But . . .
“I don’t remember any recipes—just the white shirt and jumper from hell we had to make LOL!”
WATCH: Here's How Chick-Fil-A Makes Their Famous Biscuits
Dear Chick Fil-A: In the event that you should ever find yourself in need of official biscuit tasters—you know, for quality control and all that—please feel free to call on us.