Remember the dishes of your grandparents or great grandparents? Have the recipes been lost over the generations? In steps Louis Alexander Tamasi, armed with his background as a professional chef and passion for history to help you recreate nostalgic foods from days gone by through his blog, The Vintage Recipe Blog. He practices what he preaches, cooking each recipe and testing how it holds up with modern ingredients. i love this because as a so, so home cook, I need all the help I can get! Please give a warm welcome to Louis, and prepare yourselves for growling tummies as you explore the world of The Vintage Recipe Blog.
What is your name?
Louis Alexander Tamasi b. January 13, 1974 - New Brunswick, NJ m. July 10, 2007 - Davao City, Philippines to Veronica Tamasi (nee Jandog)
Tell our readers a bit about The Vintage Recipe Blog and how it came to be.
While I was living in the Philippines I had another blog about life over there but it was never as popular as I had hoped it would be so it transcended into a food blog focusing on how to make American style foods with the ingredients found over there. After coming back to the USA in 2010 I wanted to start blogging again but I really wanted it to be a niche blog, something that I loved but nobody else was doing. Enter The Vintage Recipe Blog. While there are many vintage recipe blogs and websites, none of them ever cook the recipes to make sure they work as they should. Ingredients have changed over the years and I often have to tweak my recipes slightly in order for them to come out correctly. The blog has allowed me to focus on the two areas I love most, history and cooking.
What are your favorite eras and why?
I'd have to say the 1920's has fascinated me the most as of late. It was the last great gasp of American Prosperity and we would not have a standard of living even close to that decade again until the 1950's. The recipes from that era focus as much on presentation as on taste and nutrition but it's not the frilly almost soulless presentation we have now, rather it's a simpler look designed both to impress the family and make gracious meal for any guests.
Do you like cooking or history better? What is your background in both these areas?
This is like asking a mother which child she likes best, I love them both equally. I have always had an intense fascination with history going back as far as I could remember. This was nurtured by my parents and even by my teachers in school. Cooking I learned at my mother's knee as she always took the time to let me help as it were and explain what she was doing. Later in I spent time working as a professional chef in a haute restaurant in Frederick, Md. and so I have a rather extensive cooking background.
You include quite a bit of historical information with your posts. What's your primary method of research? How many cookbooks do you own?
Much of what I've written I've been able to find on the internet, oftentimes the company websites themselves include a history and I quote my sources whenever possible. As for my cookbooks I own around 50, some were handed down from my grandparents others I acquired on Ebay and the rest I had sent to me by 2 very lovely people 1 of whom I met through the blog and the other was a friend of a customer at work.
What did you do to grow your blog to its current readership?
Writing articles, and lots of that. Even now the single best thing you can do to increase your readership is valuable content. I was able to get a large following on Facebook before they went to the pay system and clamped down on how many people get shown my posts.
In one of your blog posts from 2011, you answered a 21 question meme. Your response to the question "What's a question you'd love to answer?" was "What do think sets you apart from everyone else?" So please answer your question. :)
I touched on this before but it's the fact I kitchen test every recipe I post about. There are many vintage recipe sites out there and most of the recipes are worthless to the modern cook as it uses esoteric ingredients or measurements or more likely is the instructions are just too vague. I've had quite a few kitchen disasters while trying out vintage recipes simply because I did something wrong due to the instructions. I correct these mistakes and then pass on the recipe to my readers. Food was, in the main, simpler back in the vintage era and I love discovering how tasty a simple meal can be without the stress of modern recipes and having to hunt down expensive ingredients and equipment.
What are 3 things many people don't know about you?
I lived in the Philippines for 3 years with my wife before getting her a visa moving back to the USA I worked as a security guard for a salmon cannery on Bristol Bay in Alaska for 5 seasons (May-August) My parents worked a lot of weird hours growing up so I spend more time at my grandparents house. This allowed me to be raised with the values of the Depression Generation. It wasn't until later that I started realizing that even in the late 70's early-80's my grandparents cooked meals that were from the Depression Era.
What are your goals for the upcoming year?
I'd like to expand upon my recipe base and get some more vintage cookbooks. Having just purchased a 1940's Hamilton Beach stand mixer look for more cakes and dessert items to be featured on the blog.
Connect With Him
I am always open to reader feedback and suggestions and I have been able to locate long lost recipes for some of my fans so never hesitate to contact me with any questions.
by MRH, CMO