I am converting my mother's recipes in a book for our family. The recipe calls for a 10 cent package of instant potatoes and biscuit mix. does anyone have any idea of what that would equal out to be. Not sure how old the recipe is. My mother passed in 2000 and she collected recipes for years.

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    Welcome to the site @chris. I've been down this road more than once, trying to convert my grandmother's recipes into something that made sense. It would help if we had the entire recipe, could you edit it in as text or a picture? What is it a recipe for?
    – GdD
    Aug 8, 2017 at 14:18
  • You can give an indication of the age. That depends on the age your mother passed away.
    – user34961
    Aug 8, 2017 at 15:20
  • @JanDoggen : in the case of my great-grandmother, she kept handwritten 'receipts' (more like 'grocery list') for every time that she entertained ... so many of them were decades before she died. (and sometimes it was by weight / volume ... and sometimes by cost or packaging unit, like this). Luckily, she would have notes on some like 'Christmas 1952', and we assumed that they were in chronological order, so we had some basis for estimating sizes. Some items in the family cookbook are 'Ang's version of Josephine's ...' (sometimes multiple people's versions), as we didn't know exactly.
    – Joe
    Aug 8, 2017 at 15:41
  • @Joe: makes sense considering this: worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-rec1.htm
    – ChefAndy
    Aug 8, 2017 at 15:56
  • @SomeInterwebDev : I agree. I just explained it as most people assume a different meaning for 'receipt'. (but let me go link that to cooking.stackexchange.com/q/784/67 ) And related to the original question : cooking.stackexchange.com/q/54543/67
    – Joe
    Aug 8, 2017 at 16:28

4 Answers 4


The R.T. French Co. (French's) introduced instant potatoes in America in the early 1950's. From early ads, the boxes in the 50's & 60's contained either 8 or 10 servings. A serving is probably the same as later years, which would be 1/4 cup dry or 1/2 cup prepared.

Biscuit mix has been around since around 1930.

If the recipe has both instant mashed potatoes and biscuit mix, it would have to be from the 1950's or later. Because of the 10¢ reference, it was more than likely the 50's.

During this time frame, it was most likely the 8 or 10 serving box of mashed potatoes, 2 - 2.5 cups dry. Jiffy baking mixes in 8 oz boxes sold for 10¢ in the mid to late 1950's.

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    True, in 50's an even larger package than those envelopes may well have been 10 cents so full recipe may help narrow it down.
    – dlb
    Aug 8, 2017 at 20:53

A 10 cent box of Jiffy Mix was 8oz in 1957-58. I remember those well.


Without a good timeline to reference I don't know if we could directly answer your question. I will offer you an alternative, there is an excellent book Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking which describes how many recipes can be analyzed as a ratio of A:B (for instance instant potatoes-to-biscuit mix). In this case you would need to figure out a good reference point, a third (or forth) ingredients (say, butter or water) which has a known value and reverse the math. From there you may need to experiment to find that balance that reminds you of 'how Mom used to make it' but this can get you on the right track.


Historically, they may have come in more sizes, but back in the 60's and 70's there were a lot of recipes written this way that were written for Idahoan instant potatoes which came in envelopes. I recall there being some rivals at the time, but most were in the same size pack. Have seen them listed as 10 cent, 15 cent envelopes, maybe even 25 cent, but I really only recall one size being common and I think they are still available at about 2 oz.

If a book like Cos mentions does not have it, you may need to experiment, but with the full recipe it may be a lot easier to eyeball and say, yeah or nay that it seems about the correct size. It can be quite to mystery experience to break the codes of some of these old family recipes. I think my Mom's favorite was "one pink scoop, not the red one", because, of course, everyone had the same color coded measuring scoops she had. ;)

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