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Tomato Sauce from the 1920’s

Tomato sauce recipe from the 1920's
This tomato sauce recipe can be made either tangy or sweet, depending on your choice of vinegar.

Published in 2012 in “The Downstairs Cookbook. Recipes from a 1920’s Kitchen” (originally published as The Margaret Powell Cookery Book in 1970).


  • 1 lb or 480gm of tomatoes – chopped
  • 1 small onion – chopped
  • 2oz or 60gm of diced ham
  • 4 teaspoons of butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • cayenne pepper
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 teaspoons vinegar (I used white wine vinegar for a tangy sauce but a sweet balsamic vinegar would also be very nice)
  • 2 1/2 Australian/UK tablespoons or 3 US tablespoons of corn flour (known as corn starch in the US)


Put the tomatoes, onions, ham and seasonings in a saucepan and cook over a gentle heat for 5 minutes.

Add the vinegar and simmer until all the ingredients are completley softened.

Turn off the heat and either rub through a coarse seive or remove thebay leaf and blitz in a blender.

Return the mix to the saucepan if you removed it 🙂

Mix the corn flour to a paste with some water and add to the cooked mixture.

Stir over a low heat until thick.

Serve with meat or use in a recipe that calls for tomato sauce.

Copyright Sarah Bradberry, February 15th 2013. All rights reserved.