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Here’s A List Of Forgotten Cooking Ingredients That You Should Use Every Day

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My grandma was a GREAT cook. I remember, just about every day when I would be at her house, we would spend the majority of the day cooking or baking.

She definitely showed her love through food, and I was just fine with that!

There are 15 ingredients that we used to use all the time, but I don’t really hear people talking about anymore. With new, possibly easier ways to do things, these ingredients may have been forgot, but nothing will taste as good as the originals.

15 Ingredients That Grandma Cooked With, And So Should You



Molasses is made from sugarcane, and it is so dang good! My grandma used to put molasses on the table, so we could put it on biscuits. We also used to make gingerbread cookies with the thick, honey-like, rich, sweet, condiment.


You could always get molasses in both a light and darker color, and you can still sometimes find it on the baking aisle, or by the maple syrup.

Bacon Grease

My grandma used to keep a can of bacon grease in the refrigerator, and pull it out to use in baking or frying. It is made from frying up a bunch of bacon, and then pouring the rendered fat off the meat product.

You can STILL do this, and I know professional cooks and bakers who still make their own cans of bacon to use in their personal cooking.

Vegetable Shortening

Vegetable shortening is made by adding hydrogen to a vegetable oil (soybean, coconut, etc). It isn’t the best for your health, but it is FANTASTIC for making those flaky crusts that are so great on pies.


Grandma also used to use vegetable shortening in all her cookies and biscuits. She used to swear that it made them lighter and more flavorful!

Corn Syrup

Corn syrup gets such a bad rap these days. It is known to be high in calorie content, and super sweet. But it was, and still is, so tasty!


Okay, don’t judge, my dad used to pour corn syrup on our waffles, for a Sunday treat. We would also use maple syrup, but it was a total TREAT whenever we would get to use the corn syrup.


Grandma also used to use corn syrup in her baking, and she would swear that it was a secret ingredient that would make her pies and cookies 10 times better than others. And, she wasn’t wrong.

Sweet Milk

This is a total old school ingredient. I’m not 100% sure this can still be used. Back in the day, when people used to own cows, the sweet milk referred to the milk that had JUST come from the cow. It was known to be sweeter than if the milk were to sit for a bit.


Currants are smaller than a raisin, but they also come from a grape. These can still be found around Christmas time, or Thanksgiving, or sometimes in select stores year round. They are totally flavorful and delicious, but people tend to just use the regular grape, which is definitely easier to find.

Whole Nutmeg

Now, you can find nutmeg that is already ground. It is right on the spice aisle, all prepacked and easy to use. But, my grandmother SWORE by the whole nut-shaped nutmeg that she would grate straight into her recipes, or even into her coffee. Nutmeg tastes just like Christmas, and it is so fresh when you grate it yourself!

Cake Flour

People these days tend to just use all-purpose flour in their baking, but cake flour tends to have less protein than regular flour, meaning less gluten. It gives your baking a lighter, flakier flavor.


Self-Rising Flour

I have recently found the wonders of the self-rising flour! Sure, it is just all-purpose flour with baking powder and salt added, but it makes me feel like a real chef!! I use it in breads, cobblers, and whenever else the recipe calles for flour, baking powder, and salt.


Incidentally, to make your own self-rising flour, you can combine 1 cup of all-purpose flour with 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Evaporated Milk

Grandma would ALWAYS use this in soups to make them creamy and thick. It is still used a lot in the south (from personal experience), but it has kind of fallen off the grid in other parts of the country.


My dad says that when he was young, when they didn’t have milk in the house, my grandma would combine evaporated milk with some water, and they would use it on cereal.

Sweetened Condensed Milk

I’ve included this one, but I use the HECK out of some sweetened condensed milk!! This has made a resurgence, because people put it in their coffee to take the place of cream and sugar. And, I’m not going to lie, it is GOOD!!


It can also be used to make an easy rolled ice cream, people use it to make caramel sauce, and you can drizzle it on fresh fruit for an OMG treat. You should also ALWAYS use it on your snow cones. DELICIOUS!!

Instant Coffee

My grandma used to use instant coffee whenever a recipe would call for coffee as an ingredient. NOW, people tend to just use leftover brewed coffee, buy you can use instant coffee to give your baking, cooking, smoothies, or whatever you are making an extra kick of coffee flavor.


Incidentally, you can use instant coffee to make Dalgona Coffee, made famous on TikTok.



Bones are so easy to toss, but many people just tend to buy boneless meats. Grandma, however, always used to use leftover bones to make really good broths that she would then use in soups, stews, or sometimes recipes like mashed potatoes, meatloaf, gravies, or even as a marinade.


Grandma ALWAYS had gelatin in the cupboard, but then, way back in the day, they would use gelatin for EVERYTHING. Can you say, Spaghetti-Ohs in gelatin (GROSS). You can also use gelatin to thicken up soups and stews.


Pasta Water

This is something that grandma would SWEAR by. Whenever she made pasta, she would save some of the water. Not only will just a little in the spaghetti stop it from sticking, it also thickens up the sauce, and makes it have sort of a richer, thicker flavor.

Here is an easy cheat sheet for you!

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