On numerous occasions, I’ve said that there is much to found in a community cookbook. Wonderful recipes to be sure, but hidden between the lines and pages are gems that surpass usual bookmarks and cook’s notes.
Every year, just before the spring and fall community garage sales in our area, I glean cookbooks off my shelves to sale. I usually get nowhere fast; I end up reading each book or at least leafing through the pages. Some I know I will never part with. Such was the case this week when, tucked in between two for-sale volumes, was a small thin one from the 1960s.
A yellowed newspaper clipping was between "Beef Liver with Tomatoes" and "Baked Cream Chicken" Titled "The Class of 1922," it was a reunion photograph of Clark County’s Olive Branch High School. Some of the last names were familiar.
Further on in the book, an ad for Swans Down Cake Flour was found. Along with that yellowed clipping was a recipe for No-Knead Coffee Cake and a handwritten recipe for Rhubarb Crunch.
A small piece of paper floated out from between the page with Fudge Cake and the page with Pound Cake. On it, the following unidentified poem:
You got it from your father,
It was all he had to give.
So it’s yours to use and cherish
For as long as you may live.
If you lose the watch he gave you,
It can always be replaced,
But a black mark on your name,
Can never be erased.
So make sure you guard it wisely,
After all is said and done
You’ll be glad the name is spotless
When you give it to your son.
Whether son or daughter, the recipes were passed on in the form of a community cookbook that holds so much more than cookies and casseroles. Perhaps you have such a cookbook, stuffed with friends and family, bits of newspaper with names and dates and photographs of a whole generation of wise adults, mothers and fathers who passed on a name ... and a heritage.
• 4 cups diced rhubarb
• 1 cup sugar
• 3 tablespoons flour
• 1 cup brown sugar
• 1 cup rolled oats
• 1-1/2 cups flour
• 1/3 cup butter
• 1/3 cup shortening
1. Toss rhubarb with sugar and 3 tablespoons flour. Place in 2 quart casserole.
2. Mix together brown sugar, oats, and flour. Cut butter and shortening in as for pie dough. Sprinkle mixture over rhubarb.
3. Bake in preheated, 375 degree F oven for about 40-45 minutes.
4. Serve warm with ice cream.
• 2/3 cup vegetable oil
• 1 cup sugar
• Pinch of salt
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 egg
• 1 cup chopped walnuts
• 2 cups peeled, diced apples
• 1-1/2 cups flour
1. Mix together oil, sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Add baking soda and egg. Mix well. Add walnuts and apples.
2. Lastly, stir in flour until batter forms.
3. Pour into greased 9x9 pan or deep dish pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes or until done, tested with toothpick.
4. Can be frosted when cooled or eaten with ice cream, whipped topping, or hard sauce.
Very Rich Bars
• 1 cup unsalted butter
• 1 cup light brown sugar
• 1 egg yolk
• 1 teaspoon real vanilla
• Dash of salt
• 1/2 cup chopped pecans
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• One 6-ounce bag chocolate chips
1. Mix all ingredients except chocolate chips. Press into a greased pan (13x9).
2. Bake at 350 degrees F for about a half-hour, or until set.
3. Immediately upon removing from oven, pour chocolate chips over the top and let them melt. Use knife to spread the melted chocolate. Cool.
4. Cut into bars.
These bars are good with dark chocolate chips or a combination of chocolate and peanut butter chips.