It's been a crazy year, but one of the things that helped me maintain my sanity in 2020 was scouring the Old_Recipes subreddit, looking for the best vintage recipes Reddit had to offer.
I've learned to make a spicy Indo-Portuguese vindaloo and melt-in-your-mouth manicotti from scratch. I've discovered recipes for chocolate cake and lemon bars that will forever have a home in my recipe box. I've made Chinese restaurant-quality hot and sour soup, and I'm on the naughty list with my husband's co-workers for the amount of sugary baked goods I've sent into his office.
I've also heard stories: from loving grandmas who used their cooking to express how deeply they cared for their families to parents who immigrated to the U.S., started businesses and raised their kids to love food as much as they did. I've seen weathered photos of relatives long gone but always remembered, and I've squinted to decipher beautiful, worn recipe cards written in someone's great-grandmother's cursive handwriting.
Cooking through this subreddit has proven time and again that food connects families, shows love and triggers powerful memories. These beautiful recipes have become a part of my heart, and like my children, it's difficult to pick my favorites. Still, as 2020 comes to a close, these are the ten old recipes recipes I've loved the most.
This decadent chocolate cake was moist and flavorful, and the chocolate fragrance it caused to waft through my home will not be forgotten by my kids any time soon.
I loved everything about this cake, from its beautiful Bundt shape to the glossy chocolate ganache I topped it with. Don't get me started on its chocolaty perfection — just trust me and make it yourself.
This savory take on French toast involves dipping bread in a tomato soup mixture and frying it in butter. Not only was it delicious on its own, but when we tried using the fried bread to make grilled cheeses, we took it to the next level.
As a long-time lover of Indian cuisine, I was eager to try out this Indo-Portuguese recipe from the 16th century. It's a labor of love, but it pays off in a big way when it's time to eat.
I learned so much while preparing and cooking this dish, from how to make a flavorful vinegar-based marinade for the chicken thighs to how to spice things up by infusing the cooking oil with chilies. And I learned that most traditional vindaloo recipes do not involve potatoes.
The thing that made this apple cream pie stand out was the grated apples in the filling. The small bits of apple really combined with the sugary, buttery filling to make something great. My 10-year-old daughter insists traditional apple pies pale in comparison to this delicious treat.
As a lover of all things fresh and citrusy, eating these decadent lemon bars were a life-changing experience. The buttery crust was nothing short of extraordinary and the sweet-yet-tart lemon filling cut right through it in the best way possible.
A bonus: They look beautiful on a platter, sprinkled with powdered sugar.
This dish is pasta perfection. Whether you're serving it up to a large crowd at a family gathering or halving the recipe for a Sunday evening dinner, it's delicious and it's bound to make whoever you're serving feel special.
It's also made with super-simple ingredients, right down to the Ragu spaghetti sauce.
I'm not sure what I loved more about this dish from the '70s; the unique sherry cheese sauce topping or the sweet-and-salty pieces of pickle relish mixed into the ground beef.
My 12-year-old son, a picky eater, devoured it, too. I'm always thrilled to find something new he'll actually eat at dinnertime.
There was much to love about this Chinese soup, from the delicious broth that made me tip up my bowl at the end to the savory mushrooms and tofu filling the bowl.
This was one of the most fun recipes I've made this year, mostly because tracking down ingredients like dried wood ear mushrooms was an adventure … an adventure what was so worth it.
Since I made this recipe for Alice Cookies, I've caught myself daydreaming about the way the buttery whipped shortbread melts in your mouth when you bite into it.
Like the Alice Cookies, this incredible cheesecake, topped with sour cream icing, is daydream-worthy.
As someone who prefers more custard-based desserts over chocolaty treats, this was my dream dessert and is one I'll definitely be making again … and again.