Love bites — delicious Valentine’s Day recipes from our archives – Chicago Tribune newstrendslive

Mary Meade loved a reason to celebrate, Chicago.

Meade was the pen name used by five Chicago Tribune food editors from 1930 to 1974, and the dedicated staff who worked on her behalf had to get creative during times of recession, war and other hardships.

Just before the end of World War II, sugar was hard to obtain in large quantities due to rationing. Yet, Meade — who was Ruth Ellen Church at that time — found ways to make February 14 seem special for everyone.

“Valentine’s day is one occasion when we all love to give parties!” she told readers on Feb. 9, 1945. “It’s not only that we’re sentimental about the meaning of the day but also that we can have so much fun prettying up our tables and food with hearts, flowers and other Valentine symbols.”

For Meade, part of the fun was coming up with creative ways to display the food she so carefully prepared: “A few red foods with some heart shaped accompaniments are all that is needed to create the holiday effect,” Meade wrote.

That’s the aesthetic award-winning photographer E. Jason Wambsgans and I stuck with for this recreation of four Valentine’s Day recipes from the Tribune’s archives (though we’ve been bolder with Christmas, Easter, Fourth of July and Halloween recipes). We hope you enjoy them!

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Follow us on Instagram — @vintagetribune.

And, catch me Monday mornings on WLS-AM’s “The Steve Cochran Show” for a look at “This week in Chicago history.”

Thanks for reading!

— Kori Rumore, visual reporter

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A youngster from the Lad n Lassie Nursery and Kindergarten School in Evanston uses edible clay in 1980 to fashion a message that says it all, loud and clear: Love––that's what Valentine's Day is all about.

Vintage Chicago Tribune


The Vintage Tribune newsletter is a deep dive into the Chicago Tribune’s archives featuring photos and stories about the people, places and events that shape the city’s past, present and future.

From making cut-out hearts at school to carving a message in the snow, here’s how Chicagoans have wooed their sweethearts. See more photos.

A recipe for Cherry Upside-Down Cake, shown here on Feb. 2, 2023, was originally published in the Feb. 12, 1939 Chicago Tribune.

Meade said this dessert was just as “appropriate for the other February holidays as for Valentine’s day.” Get the recipe here.

A recipe for Mocha Chocolate Mousse, shown here on Feb. 2, 2023, was originally published in the Feb. 15, 1969 Chicago Tribune.

By special request from a reader — who made this dessert “a thousand times” since it first published in 1957 — Meade ran it again in 1969. Get the recipe here.

A recipe for Cinnamon Candy Salad, shown here on Feb. 2, 2023, was originally published in the Feb. 12, 1954 Chicago Tribune.

Margriet Gilkison of Chicago submitted this recipe to the Tribune in 1954, and was awarded $5 (that’s about $55 in today’s dollars) for it. Okay, it looks scary, but it’s really yummy! Get the recipe here.

A recipe for Queen of Hearts Tarts, shown here on Feb. 2, 2023, was originally published in the Chicago Tribune on Feb. 12, 1964.

Just two ingredients — and two sizes of heart-shaped cookie cutters — produce these beautiful tarts. Get the recipe here.

Join our Chicagoland history Facebook group and follow us on Instagram for more from Chicago’s past.

Have an idea for Vintage Chicago Tribune? Share it with Ron Grossman and Marianne Mather at and

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