This section is from the book "Mrs. Allen's Cook Book", by Mrs. Ida C. Bailey Allen. See also: The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat.
A potato to be baked to perfection demands a hot oven - then the result will be mealy. An oven that is too cool means a soggy, waxy potato that is indigestible.
In using a coal oven for this purpose put the potatoes on the upper grate near the fire-box where the hot air can circulate freely about them, or, better still, purchase a potato rack so that they can be more easily removed. Let them remain in the oven about forty-five minutes, or until "mellow," when pressed with the fingers. In using a gas oven the same rules must be observed, taking care that the oven is not too hot. If the skins are liked very soft, rub each potato lightly with butter, bacon fat or oleomargarine before baking. When done, remove at once from the oven - for just as long as they stand the steam is re-condensing and making them soggy - break open the top of each potato with a fork to let the steam escape, and serve wrapped in a napkin in a vegetable dish.
Baked Potatoes and Potato Rack.
Bake large potatoes according to the preceding directions. Slit lengthwise and crosswise of the potato, as in making a Maltese cross; lay open, dust the pulp with salt and plenty of paprika and insert a cube of butter, mixing the seasonings with the potato in the shell.
Select large shapely potatoes, scrub well and bake. Cut in halves lengthwise, scoop out the pulp, mash, season with salt, butter and cream, and then re-fill the skins. Brown in a quick oven.