Cookbooks hold memories


By Betty StreetCook Big

I cleaned out my cookbook shelf yesterday and discovered many treasures I had forgotten. Sometime over the last 40 years, I became a cookbook collector. I have no idea when or how this happened, but part of the collection includes 10 cookbooks assembled by women from North Carolina, South Dakota, Idaho, California and Alaska.
The community cookbooks (I do not know what else to call them) are like our Trinity Lutheran and Catholic Church Ladies’ cookbooks, and I learned something from each one. For example, in the “American Baptist Women’s Ministries Cookbook” from the First Baptist Church of Boise, Idaho, there’s a chart listing food quantities for 25, 50 and 100 servings. I did not know that it takes 150 pounds of watermelon to make 100 servings or that 13 pounds of beef wieners will make 50 servings. That cookbook was copyrighted in 1996.
I have a 1979 cookbook published by the same group of ladies, which was not copyrighted. It has a section on canning recipes. There’s also an extra sheet of corrections and additions to the recipes, which is the first time I ever saw a cookbook with a correction sheet.
Two of the most special cookbooks are collections made by Jo Hall. One is “Cook of the Week 1995,” the other “Reader’s Choice Recipes Cook of the Week 1998.” Those recipes from friends are very precious and special to me.
“Our Family Cookbook” was given to my husband at school by the Jostens representative. Jostens are the people who print high school yearbooks and make class rings. The first recipe is called “Cowboy Caviar” and it looks very tasty (see below).
My mother purchased “Out of Alaska’s Kitchens” when my father was stationed in Alaska in the late 1950s. Members of the Alaska Crippled Children’s Association Territorial Headquarters in Anchorage, Alaska, assembled the book in 1958. That was the year prior to Alaska becoming a state.
“Great Chefs of Butte Valley” was a Christmas gift from my mother-in-law, who is one of the great chefs. The Butte Valley is in northern California and her recipe below makes a delicious, very good, lip-smacking pie. I really liked it the time she made it for us, and that was before Gary and I were married.
The last community cookbook I have is called “Queen of the Pantry” and it is by the Episcopal Churchwomen of Grace Church in Weldon, N.C. I have two copies of it, the second printing from 1923 and the third printing from 1975. One of my mother’s sisters was one of these Episcopal ladies.
I’ve never used a recipe from either cookbook and I don’t really want them, but I can’t bring myself to throw them away. Where do old cookbooks go to die?
It’s not one of these community-type cookbooks, but I have my mother’s first cookbook as a bride: “The Good Housekeeping Cook Book,” 7th Edition (Revised) from 1944. She wrote recipes on nearly every blank space in this book. She has a label from Libby’s Pumpkin with their pie recipe, and she has a mimeographed recipe for Sweet and Crunchy Blueberry Muffins.
Mom also has a handwritten recipe in red ink for doughnuts and it looks very good. The recipe is signed by Catherine Manning and dated August 28, 1941. Even though it doesn’t say how to cook the doughnuts, I’ll print it below. Probably another cookbook will have a standard cooking method for doughnuts of any kind.


Ginger Cookies
(Cook of the Week 1995, Vi Martin)
2 cups sugar
1½ cups shortening
2 eggs
¾ cup molasses
4 cups flour
3 tsp. soda
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Combine ingredients in order given. Roll in balls and place on cookie sheet; flatten with fork. Bake only until set at 350 degrees.

Breakfast in a Skillet
(Reader’s Choice Recipes Cook of the Week 1998, De Lila Bezenek)
2 med.-sized potatoes, peeled and diced
½ green pepper, diced
1 slice ham, diced
1 slice onion, diced
Put small amount of vegetable oil or margarine in skillet; add above ingredients. Brown and sauté until tender. Served topped with any style egg you prefer. NOTE: Makes a wonderful brunch dish.

Cowboy Caviar
(Our Family Cookbook, Jostens)
1 Tbs. red wine vinegar
1½ tsp. hot pepper sauce
2 tsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 firm, ripe avocados
1 15-oz. can black-eyed peas, drained, or 1 can corn kernels
1½ cup frozen white corn
2/3 cup sliced green onions
2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
½ lb. Roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped
Salt to taste
Tortilla or any other chips
In a large bowl, mix vinegar, pepper sauce, oil, garlic and pepper. Peel and cut avocados into ½-inch cubes. Add to vinegar mixture and toss lightly.
Drain and rinse peas. Add peas, corn, onions, cilantro and tomatoes. Mix gently to coat. Add salt to taste. Refrigerate and keep well sealed.
Serve as an appetizer or toss with 2 cups shredded cabbage to make a salad. Makes 12 appetizer portions or 6 salad servings.

Pudding Delight
(Great Chefs of Butte Valley, Marie Street)
1 cup flour
¼ lb. margarine
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup powdered sugar
1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1 sm. pkg. instant vanilla pudding
1 sm. pkg. instant chocolate pudding
3¾ cup milk
1 cup Cool Whip
Mix flour, margarine and walnuts together. Press into 9 x 13-inch pan. Bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees; cool. Combine powdered sugar, Cool Whip and cream cheese, spread over cooled crust. Mix vanilla and chocolate puddings with milk. Pour over cream cheese mixture. Refrigerate until set. Spread additional Cool Whip over pudding. Sprinkle walnuts over top.

(Catherine Manning, 1941)
4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/3 tsp. salt
4 Tbs. butter
½ cup milk
2 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
Sift flour, salt, baking powder and nutmeg twice. Beat eggs good, add sugar and melted butter. Then add flour and milk alternately stirring good after each mixture. Makes approximately 4 dozen doughnuts.

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