15 Forgotten Old-School Cooking Ingredients


Ever wonder what ingredients your grandparents used to cook with? Many delicious and versatile foods have been pushed aside by modern trends. Let’s explore  15 ingredients that have largely disappeared from mainstream kitchens and understand why they fell out of favor. 

Good Old, White Lard

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This sticky, white substance made from pig fat is now often replaced by clearer-looking vegetable oils. Lard would amplify the cholesterol and fat quotient of the dishes, so vegetable oils have become the more popular choice. 

That Hard Suet


The hard fat around the kidneys was used in traditional puddings and pastries but soon fell out of practice because of the health hazard it had the potential to cause. Even though it would fit well with the taste buds, it had to be done away with. 

Beef Dripping 

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Rendered from beef fat, beef dripping was mainly used for frying and roasting. The fat contributed to the crispness of the dishes, but it was soon replaced by vegetable oils, which are now preferred worldwide. 

Tapioca Pearls 

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These dark-looking pearls would make some amazing pastries and could add that bubbly visual to boba tea. Although less in use now, tapioca pearls are still relished for the rare flavor they bring to the table. 

Salt Pork

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No matter what health experts have to say about pork, this red meat in any form is loved by the masses. Salt pork was one such popular delicacy that was loved by all, but it has run its time. 

Old School OleoMargarine 


This early form of margarine was extracted from animal fats, and even though it tasted better than butter, it contained a lot of trans fat that could contribute significantly to heart diseases. Today, because of its low health quotient, margarine is replaced by vegetable oils. 

Traditional Buttermilk 


Traditionally, buttermilk is the liquid left over from churning cultured or fermented cream into butter. Contrary to traditional buttermilk, modern buttermilk is usually cultured buttermilk created from low-fat or skim milk mixed with lactic acid bacteria.

Bouillon Cubes


Bouillon cubes are dehydrated broth or stock cubes. Made out of meat and vegetable stocks, they were primarily used to add flavor to soups, sauces, casseroles, and other types of curries. Their usage has declined with the increased preference for homemade options. 

Orange Blossom Water 


Orange blossom water was a flavorful syrup retrieved from the bitter orange tree. The aromatic experience of consuming it is what made it popular. Today, other sweetening essences and substitutes have replaced this.

Sweet Sorghum Syrup 


Changing agricultural practices and a shift towards large-scale monoculture crops have reduced the cultivation of sorghum. The rise of more readily available and cheaper sweeteners like corn syrup, refined sugar, and maple syrup has overshadowed sorghum syrup. These alternatives are produced on a larger scale, making them more economically viable and widely distributed.

 Arrowroot Powder

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Arrowroot powder, once a popular thickening agent, has seen a decline in usage due to several factors. Modern culinary practices have introduced a variety of alternatives, such as cornstarch, tapioca starch, and all-purpose flour, which are more readily available and often cheaper. Additionally, the rise of gluten-free diets has increased the demand for other starches that serve similar purposes.



Rennet was used as a crucial ingredient in cheese-making, facilitating the coagulation of milk to form curds and whey. With various types available, including animal, vegetable, microbial, and genetically engineered rennet, cheese makers have options to suit different dietary needs and preferences. 

Fish Sauce 


As more people adopt vegetarian diets, fish sauce, made from fermented fish, is not suitable for their consumption. Moreover, fish allergies are relatively common, and those affected must avoid fish sauce, leading to a preference for other seasonings. 


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Isinglass is a traditional and effective fining agent used primarily in the brewing and winemaking industries to clarify beverages. While its use has declined with the advent of modern synthetic and plant-based alternatives, it remains a notable part of the history and technology of beverage production.

Gumbo File 

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Gumbo filé is made from dried and ground sassafras leaves. The sassafras tree, native to North America, is not widely available everywhere. The reduced use of gumbo filé in contemporary cooking stems from its limited availability, health concerns, the emergence of substitutes, evolving culinary trends, and changing consumer preferences.


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