Lost Recipes: These Depression-era lamb dishes were all the rage in the 1930s

I’ve eaten lamb maybe once before. Maybe. I don't recall disliking it, not at all.

That said, it seems like my taste in meats — chicken, beef and pork — are pretty much in line with the vast majority of modern America. Studies from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show that lamb is just not what most of our our carnivore sides desire.

Looking through recipes from 1936 in the Montgomery Advertiser, I’m almost convinced that the general public had a much higher affinity for lamb back then. As the Advertiser wrote, lambs were in season all year round.

I’m not talking about the fancy lamb chops you might expect from a fine dining place, either. We had recipes that normal cooks — mostly 1930s housewives — could make in their own kitchens.

Lamb meats appear to have been more popular with the general public in the 1930s U.S. than they are today.
Lamb meats appear to have been more popular with the general public in the 1930s U.S. than they are today.

Potatoes stuffed with lamb hash

This seems like an early variation of the modern crispy potato skins people enjoy as snacks and appetizers, but with lamb instead of today’s beloved bacon bits. I’d be tempted to try this one.

  • 3 cups of chopped cooked lamb

  • 6 medium-sized potatoes

  • 3 peppercorns

  • 1 bay leaf

  • Salt and pepper

  • 3 medium-sized onions

  • 1 cup diced fresh mushrooms

  • 3 tablespoons of butter

  • 2 tablespoons of parsley

  • 3 whole cloves

Chop onions. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper, and brown in a skillet with butter. Add the lamb and mix thoroughly with seasonings. Moisten with lamb stock. Cook the potatoes, slice them in half and scoop them out. Then fill the potato bowl you’ve made with the lamb mixture, place in a baking pan and bake at 350 degrees until potatoes are done — about 30 minutes. Sprinkle them with parsley and enjoy.

The one thing this recipe seems to be missing is cheese… and bacon bits. Top it with those, and I’d eat these lamb potatoes.

Breast of Lamb

The recipe recommends braising to prepare breast of lamb. “For a rolled breast, use shank and breast in one piece and after removing the bones roll, skin side in, and fasten with skewers.”

Rub the surface of the meat with salt and pepper. Sear it on all sides in a small roasting pan. Add a cup of hot water or stock and bake in a slow oven at 300 degrees until the meat is tender. Remove the cover and let the meat brown. Use the liquid in the pan to make a gravy. Season it with a few drops of Worcestershire sauce.

Serve it with your favorite vegetables. The recipe recommend string beans.

Annette Carter, you're hamtastic

We got a response off last week's lost recipes from Annette Carter, who immediately recognized the Heart of Ham one as jello salad.

"I'm 82 years old and when I got married in 1962, jello salads were still popular," she wrote. "Many of them contained dairy (whipped cream, Dream Whip), cottage cheese, buttermilk, etc.). I even sent off for a small cookbook called 'The Joys of Jello.' I'm enjoying reading these recipes."

Thank you, Annette! We've got a lot more recipes to come.


If you decide to try one of these lost recipes, please send us a photo and a note on how it went. Send it in an email titled "Lost Recipes" to Montgomery Advertiser reporter Shannon Heupel at sheupel@gannett.com.

This article originally appeared on Montgomery Advertiser: Lost Recipes: Try these Depression-era lamb dishes