Monthly Archives: April 2011


The following was sent to me by a penpal in Canada, so this much of the text wasn’t composed by me:


1. You have to wash the clothes line before hanging any clothes–walk the entire lengths of each line with a damp cloth around the lines.

2. You have to hang the clothes in a certain order, and always hang “whites” with “whites,” and hang them first.

3. You never hang a shirt by the shoulders, always by the tail! What will the neighbors think?

4. Wash day on a Monday! Never hang clothes on the Weekend, or Sunday, for Heaven’s sake!

5. Hang the sheets and towels on the outside lines so you can hide your “unmentionables” in the middle (perverts & busybodies, y’know!).

6. It doesn’t matter if it is sub zero weather….clothes will “freeze-dry.”

7. Always gather the clothes pins when taking down dry clothes! Pins left on the lines are “tacky!”

8. If you are efficient, you will line the clothes up so that each item does not need two clothes pins, but shares one of the clothes pins with the next washed item.

9. Clothes off of the line before dinner time, neatly folded in the clothes basket, and ready to be ironed.

10. IRONED? Well, that’s a whole other subject!


A clothesline was a news forecast
To neighbors passing by,
There were no secrets you could keep
When clothes were hung to dry.

It also was a friendly link
For neighbors always knew,
If company had stopped on by
To spend a night or two.

For then you’d see the “fancy sheets”
And towels upon the line;
You’d see the “company table cloths”
With intricate designs.

The line announced a baby’s birth
From folks who lived inside –
As brand new infant clothes were hung,
So carefully with pride!

The ages of the children could
So readily be known
By watching how the sizes changed,
You’d know how much they’d grown!

It also told when illness struck,
As extra sheets were hung;
Then nightclothes, and a bathrobe, too,
Haphazardly were strung.

It also said, “Gone on vacation now”
When lines hung limp and bare.
It told, “We’re back!” when full lines sagged, with not an inch to spare!

New folks in town were scorned upon
If wash was dingy and gray,
As neighbors carefully raised their brows,
And looked the other way.

But clotheslines now are of the past,
For dryers make work much less.
Now what goes on inside a home
Is anybody’s guess!

I really miss that way of life. It was a friendly sign.
When neighbors knew each other best by what hung on the line.

–author unknown

I’m one of a dying breed, I suppose..recently, Bob was finally able to put cement posts into the ground behind the garage and when the cement had hardened and the posts stood firm, he strung up 4 clotheslines for me. (Finding clothesline is not as easy as it used to be!—we did finally find some at Walmart and got the only package they had). Clothespins, on the other hand, are easy enough to find! Go figure!

I often hung laundry on the line at our Arleta house and still prefer hanging sheets and pillowcases or blankets and comforters on the line to dry. There is nothing to compare with sheets dried in the sun and then put back on a bed. I also prefer to dry bras on the line, instead of inside a dryer which tends to shrink the elastic.

When I was a child, my mother did the wash in the basement on Sutter Street, and carried it outside to hang on the lines. She had one of those wooden folding drying racks and it was my job, as a very small child, to hang all the socks over the rungs of the drying rack. During WW2, my mother used her home made lye soap, cut into chips, to wash the clothes. She made lye soap about once a year out of lye and an accumulation of grease that was saved up in coffee cans or jars. That lye soap was also great for washing dirty knees and feet, when we ran barefoot in the summertime.

When I was a child, mom didn’t trust anyone but herself to feed the clothing through the wringer—everyone knew horror stories of someone –child or adult-getting a hand or arm stuck in the wringer. But you learned at an early age to sort the laundry; all the whites and lights together in a pile, followed by the dark pieces of clothing and in a separate pile, all the towels and wash cloths. Whites and lights went first into the washer, followed by colored clothing and finally the towels.

My sister recalled helping mom on wash day. She wrote, “We didn’t use store-bought detergent back then! On Laundry Day, you grated mom’s lye soap into the wringer- washing machine full of steaming hot water. You had to use a laundry stick to retrieve the clothes from the washer. In the back yard, clothes lines were strung from tree to post waiting for the newly cleaned laundry to be hung. My job was to hang socks on a wooden rack to dry. When the socks were dry, I had the chore of matching up the pairs of socks. When I grew older, I was taught how to darn the socks…” (Obviously, Becky graduated from socks to hanging clothes once I was old enough to take over the job of socks on a rack).

When I was old enough to REACH the clothes line, my mother taught me the proper way to hang clothes—all shirts and blouses by the bottom, socks by their toes, towels all together so that two towels shared one clothespin. By the time I was twelve, it was one of my jobs to do all the ironing, except for my dad’s bowling shirts, which often had intricate designs and needed special attention to iron (like placing a thin towel over the design in order to press it).
It was a huge job as almost everything had to be ironed. I stood on a cement floor in our basement to do the ironing—until I got married—and sometimes wonder if my chronic leg pain might be traceable to all those hours of standing on a cement floor.

I don’t remember when we finally got an automatic washer and a gas clothes dryer; my father loved gadgets and any kind of new household equipment, so we might have had early models as they became available. (We had the first TV set in our house on Sutter Street). Once, Dad gave mom a new Electrolux vacuum cleaner for her birthday; she refused to use it for over a year because it wasn’t a personal gift. We learned that lesson EARLY—a household present was suitable for an anniversary but everything else – her birthday, Christmas, valentine’s day, sweetest day—required personal presents. (How we ever managed to BUY anything remains a mystery to me; we never had any allowances and I didn’t make much money babysitting for neighbors at 50 cents an hour).

When I was first married in 1958, my husband and I lived on a steep street in South Fairmount, downstairs from his mother; there was a basement with a wringer washer—and clothes lines in the back and side yards. After Michael was born, I was washing diapers several times a week (despite working full time) and hanging them outside to dry. When weather was too cold or rainy, the laundry was hung to dry in the basement where it might take 2 days to dry. I can remember bringing frozen diapers inside to thaw out. And, we didn’t have permanent press fabrics in 1958—the shirts, pants, blouses and skirts would be dampened down and rolled up to put into a bag in the refrigerator, until I could spend a day ironing everything. None of my children wore disposable diapers—the closest thing I had to luxury was 3 months of diaper service given to me by a girlfriend when Chris was born.

What is unfathomable to me is the reason why we came to California with the ironing board tied to the roof of the car. An IRONING BOARD? Something you could buy in 1961 for under ten dollars? What was I thinking?

When I am back in Ohio visiting relatives who live in the north, west, east, and south of the State, we often see clothing drying on clotheslines in northeast and northwest sections of Ohio – and correctly assume those are the homes of Amish. Seeing quilts on a line always reminds me of a time in American history, when the underground railroad helped fugitive slaves from southern states make their way north towards Canada and freedom. (When I was in Ontario, Canada, a couple of years ago, visiting a girlfriend, we visited one house that was actually a part of the underground railroad. It was now a dollhouse museum). Many slaves continued on to anti-slavery Canada to live.

By visiting Google, I found many, many sources for information about the underground railroad quilts. Here is a little of the information I found:

One of the most critical components of the Underground Railroad was secrecy.
The federal laws, as well as most state statutes expressly forbade the sheltering of runaway slaves, and there were stiff fines, some as much as $50,000 levied against anyone convicted of such an offense. This enormous sum would have spelled financial disaster for anyone, thus the need for airtight secrecy. There were some individuals who, by virtue of a sterling reputation or great political or financial wealth, were able to embrace the movement and thumb their noses at the rest of the world.

One aspect of the Underground Railroad that is not always understood today was the use of quilts to aid the escaping refugees by acting as clandestine maps, hung out on clotheslines or fences in full view, but whose message was hidden except for the initiated. Basically, there were fifteen or so different patterns used in this secret language, all of which are still very much in use by modern quilters.

The Monkey Wrench Quilt was the first quilt displayed as a signal for any slaves who planned to escape. A monkey wrench is a metal tool used to turn nuts such as held a wagon wheel onto the axel. Hung out on display it symbolized the need to collect the tools that would be needed on the long and dangerous journey that lay ahead. Wagon Wheel quilts have a round pattern and during the era of the Underground Railroad, wagons with hidden compartments were one of the primary means of transporting
runaways. This quilt was a message to pack provisions for their journey as if they were packing a wagon.

A quilt of secondary importance in the list of escape quilts is the Carpenter’s
Wheel Quilt, which symbolized to the slave their reliance on religion, specifically Jesus, the master carpenter in their lives. As they worked in the fields, they sang spirituals such as “Swing low, sweet chariot”, which soon took on the hidden meaning of their coming escape attempt. The Carpenter’s Wheel consists of patterns made of small triangular blocks, and by carefully placing the darker ones with the point aiming in a specific direction, gave the proper direction to safety.

Another quilt in the sequence of escape was the Bear’s Paw. Runaways were directed to follow the actual trails of the bears that populate the Appalachian Mountain range, and as most escapes occurred in the Spring, because with spring rains, the paw prints would be easily seen, and the same rains would minimize the ability of search dogs employed in capturing the runaway slaves.

The Basket Block Quilt is a symbol of the provisions needed for the long journey north. As provisions were the most difficult (and dangerous) commodity, safe houses would display this basket quilt signifying that food could be obtained there. Food and other necessities were often carried in clothesbaskets, which were not likely to raise suspicions.

Once fugitives made it through the Appalachian Mountains, the Crossroads Quilt signaled that they had to travel to a crossroad, or city where they could find protection and refuge. There were code words for these crossroads; Cleveland, Ohio was “Hope”, Detroit, Michigan was “Midnight”; men ready to be delivered were “hardware” and women were “dry goods”.

Underground Railroad Log Cabin quilts often had a black center indicating a “safe” house. Another variation was a yellow central square, indicating a light or beacon in the wilderness.

Shoo-Fly Quilts are made up of small squares and triangles. They represented an actual person who might have helped escaping slaves. The slaves hid out in churches, caves or sometimes graveyards, waiting for a signal from the local facilitator.

The Bow Tie Quilt was the seventh quilt displayed on the fence or clothesline to teach slaves how to escape to freedom. It was a directive for them to dress in a formal manner. When they first escaped, they wore their work clothes, making them easy to identify. Friends would meet them in safe places and give them fresh clothing. In “satin bow ties”, runaways wouldn’t stand out among city folk, and on the final leg of their journey, they would walk undetected to the shops that would take them across the water
to the safety of Canada.

When the Flying Geese Quilt made its appearance, it informed the slaves that they were to take their directions, timing and behavior from migrating geese. Geese patterns can be sewn together in four directions. A clever quilter could show direction simply by making one set distinct from the others.

The Birds in the Air Quilt is symbolic of flight or migration, and like several of
these quilts, could be made into an arrow that pointed in the correct direction.

The Drunkard’s Patch Quilt is next in the secret code. Slaves were encouraged to travel in a staggering fashion to confuse any following slave hunters. They were encouraged to even double back occasionally to throw off pursuers.

Sail Boat Quilts were a symbol of safe passage to freedom. Black sailors and boat owners helped many escaping slaves. When the Compromise of 1850 strengthened the Fugitive Slave Act, allowing slaveholders to retrieve slaves in Northern states and free territories, runaway slaves weren’t safe until they reached Canada. Many depended on ships and ferries to cross icy Lake Erie.
The North Star Quilt, when seen along the way indicated that they were on the
right track, as the North Star was the guiding light to Canada. It was also important to navigation, especially boat owners who crossed Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.

If you are interested in learning more about the underground railroad quilts,
Check out “Hidden in Plain View: A Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad” by Jacqueline L. Tobin, Raymond G. Dobard and Maude S. Wahlman, available on There are many other books about the underground railroad and the significance of underground railroad quilts available on
Some advantages of a clothes line
 Saves money
 Zero greenhouse gas emissions per load (2 kg of greenhouse gas emissions from the average mechanical clothes dryer per load)
 Laundry smells “clothes-line fresh” without using chemicals
 Less fabric wear and tear]
 Laundry items do not shrink (hot air from a mechanical clothes shrink items)
 No static cling
 Laundry items stay softer to the touch (mechanical clothes dryers tend to remove short, soft, fine fibers)
 Laundry items may be less wrinkled
 Avoids the potential of airborne lint and reduced air quality
 Eliminates the noise from a mechanical clothes dryer
 Does not vent to the outside and waste the large volume of conditioned (heated or cooled) indoor air that a mechanical dryer’s blower does.
 For a simple line drying arrangement (rope and clothes pins) the repair and replacement costs are about $20.00 per 1,000 loads of laundry or 2 cents per load. For non-commercial mechanical clothes drying the repair and replacement costs (including labor expenses) is about $200.00 per 1,000 loads of laundry or 20 cents per load.

I love quilts and now that my sister and a niece, Cindy, have been making them, we have been blessed with some nice new quilts of our own. By the way, I wouldn’t ever dry a quilt in the dryer—it deserves to be hung on a clothesline to dry.

–Sandra Lee Smith

With special thank you to Gerri in Canada for suggesting this topic.



The story about Harry Baker and his famous chiffon cake is the kind of stuff on which legends are built and numerous references can be found in food reference books. According to the legend, the chiffon cake was invented in 1927 by Harry Baker, a California insurance salesman turned caterer. Mr. Baker kept the recipe a secret for 20 years, until he sold it to General Mills for an undisclosed amount of money. At this point the name was changed to “chiffon cake” and was released with a set of 14 recipes and variations in a Betty Crocker pamphlet published in 1948.

But wait! That’s only part of the story!

Yes, a man named Harry Baker did create a chiffon cake that he sold to places like the Brown Derby which had a simple menu in its earliest years. The first dessert to be sold at the Derby was Harry Baker’s cake which was made by Mr. Baker and sold to the restaurant and to other Hollywood notables for their parties. The Brown Derby cookbook published in 1949 provides a brief explanation for the cake but also offers, in its chapter on Desserts, the Basic Chiffon cake recipe, along with recipes for orange chiffon, chocolate chiffon and walnut chiffon cakes. The pamphlet featuring chiffon cake recipes from Betty Crocker also featured Wesson Oil. The pamphlet offers recipes for Golden Chiffon Cake, Fresh Orange Chiffon Cake, Maple Nut Chiffon and Pineapple Chiffon – and even Spicy Chiffon Cake. For those who remember when a leaflet of recipes with some premium offers (General Mills Tru-Heat Iron, Scranton Lace Dinner Cloth) could be found in every bag of Gold Medal Flour, might also have found a leaflet for making Sunny Orange Chiffon Cake.

My question is—WAS the chiffon cake an original idea? Maybe–maybe not.
And before I go any further, I want to mention that—I had never heard of chiffon cake in the 1950s. My introduction to chiffon cake came through the pages of my manuscript cookbook, Helen’s cookbook, that I have written about before on my blog. Written in real India ink and in fine penmanship, Helen wrote at the top of the page “Harry Bakers Secret Ingredient “X” cake”—and underneath that, “Orange Chiffon Cake”. Helen’s handwritten cookbook was started in the 1920s and continued through the 50s and perhaps into the early 60s and she lived in Los Angeles, so she certainly would have been aware of Harry Baker’s cake. Honestly – I was learning to cook in the early 1950s – and chiffon cake was never on my radar.

The website, The Old Foodie, in a post dated March 25, 2011, provided a recipe for Apricot Chiffon Cake, from a South Carolina newspaper dated 1934 (certainly years before Harry sold his cake to General Mills). Another recipe, from a 1947 Nevada newspaper, is a Velvet Chiffon Cake. Which begs the question, of course, how much digging must we do to find out exactly how far back the concept of a chiffon cake might go. According to a Gold Medal Jubilee recipe pamphlet published in 1955, (and noted in “Fashionable Food/Seven Decades of Food Fads” by Sylvia Lovegren) “light and airy chiffon pies were popular under the name of ‘sissy pies’ in the early 1900s. These sissy pies were also called fairy tarts or fluff, sponge or soufflé pies—were based on variously flavored puddings, lightened with beaten egg whites, that were then baked in a pastry crust. They contained no gelatin, the common ingredient of the modern unbaked chiffon pie…” Lovegren writes that the first mention she was able to find of a chiffon pie as we know it, made with gelatin and uncooked beaten egg whites, appeared under the name of coffee soufflé pie in Good Housekeeping’s Book of Menus, Recipes, and Household Discoveries from 1922. Writes Lovegren, “Gelatin and egg white-lightened chiffon pies, which were basically old-fashioned gelatin sponges or “snows” served in a crust—became all the rage in the forties. They were so popular that they rated a separate section in the 1943 edition of Joy of Cooking…virtually any flavor you could come up with went into these confections. Chiffon pie also helped usher in the era of the crumb pie shell based on crushed graham crackers or breakfast cereal…”

And, in the 1942 Modern Family Cook Book by Meta Given – check out the cake recipe on page 364, for Golden Feather Cake–that reads suspiciously like – Chiffon cake!

Patricia Bunning Stevens, in a fascinating little book titled “RARE BITS” provides an assortment of recipes and unusual origins and traces the word “chiffon”—which to the French simply meant “rags.” Eventually the meaning was extended to scraps of lace and ribbon, pretty things a lady might use in her needlework and store in her “chiffoniere”, a small chest of drawers. In the 19th century on both sides of the English Channel, chiffons were dress trimmings of every sort that loaded down Victorian gowns. As the turn of the century approached the meaning of chiffon changed again as the English referred to a type of fabric. In the 1920s, silk chiffon became the rage in the USA and eventually gave its name to chiffon pie. Per Stevens, chiffon pie was the first really new pie of the 20th century. It is said to have been the brainchild of a professional baker who, at his mother’s suggestion, named it for the filmy floating fabric popular at the time. Meantime, in France, chefs began to make chiffonades, vegetables shredded into fine strips to resemble rags used to garnish consomme. (maybe something we would consider “julienned” today).
In an article titled “When Harry Met Betty” author Joseph Hart writes, “One of life’s great truths…is that beneath its surface lies complexity. Our beloved fictions of heroes and villains crumble with scrutiny, leaving only convolution, shifting meanings, and unstable realities. The same is true of things. Even the simplest object has its hidden history of longing, love, and despair. Take, for example, cake. Chiffon cake…”

Hart continues, “Ask someone who lived through the 1950s, to name the icons of that era, and chances are that—along with the ’57 Chevy, Lucy and Ricky, and the cul-de-sac rambler—chiffon cake will make their list. The recipe was introduced by General Mills in 1948 with a major marketing blitz that featured Betty Crocker, another 1950s icon…With Betty’s help, chiffon became a nationwide sensation. Billed as “the first really new cake in a hundred years,” thanks to its “mystery ingredient,” chiffon was light and fluffy like angel food cake, yet also rich and moist like butter cake, and it rapidly became a favorite of housewives from Syracuse to Oceanside…”

The real mystery, says Hart, “Lurking beneath its lemony glaze is not a secret ingredient, but the secret life of its reclusive inventor: the appropriately named Harry Baker…”

Hart continues, “The shorthand version of his history, repeated in a thousand cookbooks, notes that the insurance-salesman-turned-baker invented the cake in Los Angeles in 1927. He baked his chiffon cakes in his apartment kitchen in the Windsor Square neighborhood and sold them to the glamorous Brown Derby restaurant, where they pleased the palates of Hollywood’s studio stars. In 1947, Baker sold his closely guarded recipe to General Mills for an undisclosed sum—‘because,’ as one General Mills publication quotes him, ‘I wanted Betty Crocker to give the secret to the women of America.’”
Hart continues to delve deep into the life of Harry Baker and for the whole story, refer to “When Harry Met Betty” by Joseph Hart, posted on on January 29, 2007. The story behind the creator of chiffon cake is interesting but not uppermost in my mind right now.

Says Hart, although it was wildly popular in the 1950s, the chiffon cake had been figuratively gathering dust for decades by the time he discovered the recipe in the late 1990s. Hart writes that while browsing in a 1956* edition of the Betty Crocker Picture Cook Book, he stumbled upon the recipe for chiffon.
Sandy’s Cooknote: *Betty Crocker’s 1956 edition of the Picture Cook Book notwithstanding, I found the recipe for Chiffon Cake – accompanied by a myriad of variations – in my 1950 limited first edition of Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book. In addition to the basic chiffon cake recipe, you will find maple pecan chiffon, butterscotch chiffon, pineapple chiffon, chocolate chip chiffon—and even a Holiday Fruit Chiffon that contains finely chopped candied cherries, finely chopped pecans and some very finely chopped citron.

Hart writes that HIS Betty still falls open to the creased and batter-spattered pages with the step-by-step directions for chiffon cake because, symbolism aside, it makes a truly splendid dessert.

Before chiffon, Hart explains, “there had been but two types of cake. Foam cakes, like angel food, contain no shortening and rely on eggs for leavening, while butter cakes rise with baking powder. Chiffon combines the two, relying on both eggs and baking powder and the clincher, add Harry Baker’s secret ingredient – vegetable oil (or, as it was called in those days, ‘salad oil’—another General Mills product as it happens)….”

Hart says he had been an enthusiastic baker of the cake for some time when one day, as he was going through back issues of Cook’s Illustrated Magazine, he happened to come across an article about chiffon by food writer and Joy of Cooking contributor Stephen Schmidt. If, says Hart, you’ve read Cook’s Illustrated, you already know that Schmidt tinkered exhaustively with the original Betty Crocker recipe to end up with something a little better. Hart says he sticks with the original.

But what caught Hart’s eye was a sidebar article about Harry Baker, repeating the standard biography, insurance salesman, 1927 discovery, service to the stars…but Schmidt had uncovered some new details; for one thing, he noted that Baker during his Hollywood heyday, shared his apartment “with his aging mother” And the sale of the recipe to General Mills took on a new twist in Schmidt’s telling: ‘Having been evicted from his apartment, and fearing memory loss, the usually reclusive Baker trekked uninvited to Minneapolis to sell his recipe,’ he wrote. This information hinted at a story so Hart spent the next five years chasing the elusive Hollywood inventor of his beloved chiffon cake.

Harry Baker arrived in Hollywood in 1923 and began to tinker with cake recipes. Until Joseph Hart’s in depth research, I don’t think anyone knew where Harry came from or what brought him to Southern California (or—maybe no one cared). Baker worked diligently, creating over 400 variations of an angel food cake, trying to create a moister sweeter angel food cake. Nothing satisfied him until he thought to add some salad oil to his recipe. Years later he would tell a reporter at the Minneapolis Tribune that the addition of the salad oil was “a sixth sense, something cosmic” – at any rate, a new Hollywood star was born.
At the same time Harry Baker was treating his neighbors to experimental cakes, another kind of star was being born on Wilshire Blvd. The Brown Derby opened for business in 1926 in a building shaped to go with the name*

*Sandy’s cooknote: I visited the Brown Derby once, in 1961, with a girlfriend and my mother in law—it was a wonderful experience. The walls, I recall, were plastered with framed photographs of many famous movie stars (but then, you can visit almost any place in Burbank—Bob’s Big Boy, the dry cleaners, the shoe repair shop –and you will find framed photographs of movie stars on their walls. It’s a kind of happening thing in greater Los Angeles).

By what Harry Baker might have described as another cosmic twist, two years later he walked into the Brown Derby with a sample of his cake. It became one of the Derby’s signature dishes and as mentioned before, (per the Brown Derby Cook Book) for quite some time it was the ONLY dessert served at the Brown Derby. One of the most popular desserts at the Derby was Harry Baker’s grapefruit chiffon cake** which, according to its creator, he made especially for Hollywood gossip columnist Luella Parsons. “Louella was overweight and she held weekly staff meetings at the Derby,” he explained. “She threatened to move her meeting if they didn’t come up with a less fattening dessert. She told them ‘put grapefruit on something. Everyone knows that grapefruit is less fattening…”

**Sandy’s cooknote see the Grapefruit Chiffon Cake recipe at the end of this article.

Harry Baker’s fortunes rose with the Derby and he began receiving requests for cakes from famous actresses such as Barbara Stanwyck and Dolores del Rio, to be served at their parties. Throughout the 1930s, Baker’s cake reputation spread far and wide and orders came in faster than he could fill them. He mixed batter for each cake individually and baked them separately using twelve tin hot plate ovens set up in a spare bedroom. Finished cakes cooled on the porch where customers retrieved them leaving $2.00 payment in the mail slot. At the height of his business, Baker produced 42 cakes in an 18 hour day from which he grossed in equivalent, in today’s dollars, about $900.00. Joseph Hart began researching the life of Harry Baker and in 2003 wrote a short article for the Larchmont Chronicle, a newspaper that served the Hollywood neighborhood where Harry Baker had lived.

This in turn led eventually to more leads about the life of the elusive Harry Baker. After he sold his recipe to General Mills—the exact amount was kept secret—Harry Baker slipped away from public life. There was speculation about his whereabouts; Hart found, however, a death record for September 27, 1974, at the age of 91, Harry Baker suffered heart failure at the California Convalescent Center in Los Angeles. So, perhaps he never ventured very far from the Hollywood that had given him such a good life in return.

Sandy’s cooknote: For more information about Harry Baker, please DO read Joseph Hart’s in depth article, “When Harry Met Betty” which can be found on, posted 1/29/07.

** The Brown Derby Grapefruit Cake is not included in the 1949 edition of the Brown Derby Cookbook. However, I DID find the recipe in the Brown Derby Cookbook 50th Anniversary Edition published in 1976, noting it is not called “chiffon”. Here, then, is The BROWN DERBY GRAPEFRUIT CAKE.

To make the Brown Derby Grapefruit cake you will need:

1½ CUPS sifted cake flour**
¾ cup granulated sugar
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
¼ cup water
¼ cup vegetable oil
3 eggs, separated
3 TBSP grapefruit juice
½ tsp grated lemon rind
¼ tsp cream of tartar

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into mixing bowl. Make a well in center of dry ingredients. Add water, oil, egg yolks, grapefruit juice and lemon rind. Beat until very smooth. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar separately until whites are stiff but not dry. Gradually pour egg yolk mixture over whites, folding gently with a rubber spatula until just blended. DO NOT STIR MIXTURE. Pour into an ungreased pan*. Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched with finger. Invert pan on cake rack until cool. Run spatula around edge of cake. Carefully remove from pan. With a serrated knife, gently cut layer in half.


12 ounces cream cheese (1½ package of 8 ounce size cream cheese)
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon rind
¾ cup powdered sugar, sifted
6 to 8 drops yellow food coloring
1 lb can grapefruit sections, well drained*

Let cream cheese come to room temperature. Beat cheese until fluffy. Add lemon juice and rind. Gradually blend in sugar. Beat until well blended. Add food coloring. Crush several grapefruit sections to measure 2 teaspoons. Blend into frosting. Spread frosting on bottom half of cake. Top with several grapefruit sections. Cover with second layer. Frost top and sides; garnish with remaining grapefruit sections.

*Sandy’s cooknote Can you even buy grapefruit in a can? I’m fairly certain that the only grapefruit sections I have seen in my supermarket are in a jar.

**Sandy’s cooknote: Don’t have any cake flour? To convert regular flour into cake flour: Measure out the all purpose flour that you will need for your recipe. This recipe calls for 1 ½ cups of cake flour. Measure 1 ½ cups of regular flour. For every cup of flour, remove two tablespoons of flour. For this recipe, remove three tablespoons of flour (put it back into the flour canister). Put remaining flour into a sifter set over a bowl. Replace the three tablespoons of flour with three tablespoons of cornstarch. Sift and sift the flour and cornstarch about five times. You now have cake flour.
To make Meta Given’s Golden Feather Cake you will need:
1 2/3 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1/3 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, separated
¾ tsp vanilla
2/3 cup milk

Sift flour, measure and resift 3 times with baking powder and salt. Cream shortening until smooth and soft. Blend in ¾ cup of the sugar. Add beaten egg yolks and beat until smooth and fluffy. Stir in vanilla. Add flour mixture and milk in alternate portions, beginning and ending with flour and beating until smooth after each addition. Beat egg whites until just stiff: add remaining sugar gradually and continue beating until very stiff. Fold lightly but thoroughly into batter. Turn into two 8” pans which have been buttered and lined with waxed paper in the bottom. Bake in a moderate 350 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until cake is springy when touched with finger tips. Turn out on cake coolers (racks) and cool before removing waxed paper. Spread any desired frosting or broken up jelly between layers and on top and sides of cake. Makes10 servings.


Set out but do not grease a 10” tube (angel food cake) pan

Sift together in a mixing bowl:
2¼ cups sifted cake flour
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add in order given:
½ cup cooking oil
5 egg yolks, unbeaten
¾ cup orange juice
3 TBSP grated orange rind

Beat with a spoon until smooth. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl mix together:
1 cup egg whites (7 or 8 eggs)
½ tsp cream of tartar

Beat the egg white mixture at high speed until very stiff peaks form. Pour egg yolk mixture gradually over whipped whites, gently folding with rubber scraper just until blended. Pour into ungreased tube cake pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 55 minutes, then at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. When cake tests done, remove from oven, invert and let hang upside down until cold.

Sandy’s cooknote: I keep a bottle on hand to put my angel food cakes on after they are baked. A wine bottle is usually the right size.

I would be remiss if I didn’t share with you the chiffon cake recipe sent to me by my niece Stephanie, who has perfected a coconut chiffon cake. Here, then, is Stephanie’s recipe exactly as directed:

By Stephanie Swetland

2 large eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup milk, divided (I use silk coconut vanilla milk)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
My addition:
2 teaspoons coconut extract
2 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 large egg whites
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 fresh coconut

I also used some cream of coconut when building the cake (you will see how at the bottom) It’s the kind you get near where the ingredients for mixed drinks is sold.

To make the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 8″ cake pans. Set aside. In small bowl beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks begin to form. Gradually add 1/2 cup of the sugar and continue to beat for 1 minute. In a medium bowl sift the remaining 1 cup sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the oil and 1/2 cup of the milk. Beat for 1 minute. Add the remaining 1/2 cup milk, egg yolks, and vanilla (this is also where I add the coconut extract.) Beat 1 more minute. (I found that you really need to scrape the bowl down and beat a little more to make sure you get to the bottom of the bowl when scraping.) After it is thoroughly mixed, add the egg whites and gently fold in.

Divide the batter among the 3 pans (it’s about 2 cups each pan). Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans and place on wax paper to continue to cool (they are kind of sticky cakes and very light. I put them directly onto my cooling racks and they stick a bit so it is best to use waxed paper.) Allow the cakes to cool completely.

To Make the Icing:

In a large saucepan mix the sugar, water, and light corn syrup together. Place over medium heat and cook until a soft ball forms, stirring occasionally, until it reaches a temp of 238 degrees. This should take 4-6 minutes.

While the sugar mixture cooks, add the egg whites to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat till soft peaks form. When the sugar mixture has reached the desired temp, with the mixer running at a medium speed, gradually add sugar mixture to egg whites.

Continue to beat until all the syrup is incorporated into the egg whites. Continue to mix for 6-8 minutes until the icing is creamy and soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and mix for 1 minute.

Here’s the hard part
Pierce the eye of the coconut with an ice pick and drain the coconut water into a small bowl. I do not have an ice pick so I used the drill and drilled out 2 of the eyes and poured the water out.

Crack the coconut shell, pry out the meat, and peel with a vegetable peeler. I did not know how to crack open the shell so I went out to the back porch and threw it against the concrete*. It worked, then it took a lot of work and pulling and prying to get the meat out and to peel the coconut. I DO NOT recommend using your vegetable peeler, I completely dulled mine by doing this Just use a knife to get the peel off and then put it in your food processor and grind it up till it’s fine.

Sandy’s cooknote *to make the job a little easier, try putting the coconut inside two plastic bags before cracking it against the concrete.

To assemble the cake:
Place one layer on the cake plate. prick the layers with a fork and drizzle 1/3 of the coconut water over the layer (this is where I also drizzle a bit of the cream of coconut over); place 1/3 of the icing on the first layer and frost the top and sides, sprinkle 1/3 of the grated coconut over the icing, repeat the layers until finished. I made sure to have enough coconut to cover top and sides with it. Cool in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before serving.
Stephanie says this cake is a lot of work but oh-so-worth it!

My only final question is – did Harry Baker name his cake “chiffon” or was that the idea of someone at General Mills? – Maybe—maybe not!

Happy Cooking and Happy Cookbook collecting!


George Washington wrote, ““My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All that I am, I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her”. Those words could have been applied to my mother.

As a family, we were probably not very different from many other families of our generation. We were the children of parents who lived through the depression and a World War, people who perhaps had a hard time letting us know that they loved us. I don’t recall either my mother or my father ever telling me that they loved me until after I was an adult, married, with children of my own. I think now, that maybe they didn’t know how. It started to come about after dad had his first heart attack in 1968; we started to tell him and mom that we loved them, and they responded.

But talk can be cheap. Words don’t mean very much if nothing is behind them. My mother showed her love in many different ways, even if she found it difficult to say those words to us when we were children. She made a big deal of our birthdays and all holidays. She really put a lot into making our Christmases special, despite financial hardships.

I think my mother truly was a child of the depression. She was born in 1917 and would have been eleven years old when the stock market crashed and America fell into the throes of the Great Depression. Like so many other people who were children of that great Depression she never quite got over it. She would always be frugal and thrifty; she would never throw anything out or waste anything. If you ever talk to other people who grew up during the Depression, you would hear similar stories from them, and discover that they had similar attitudes. There was always the fear that it could happen again.

The Depression was still going on in 1935 when my parents married and in 1936 when my sister Barbara was born. What ended the Depression was World War 2.

Life wasn’t a bowl of cherries, being born during the depression and war years, growing up in the 40s and 50s. However, none of us, I think, thought of ourselves as poor. We had no more or any less than anyone else we knew.
But we had each other and we forged a bond that nothing in this life could ever break. Yes, we sometimes walked to school in shoes that had holes mended with cardboard. But you know, we always went to school with a hot breakfast in our stomachs and our sandwiches made with homemade bread wrapped in wax paper, or we went to Grandma Schmidt’s for lunch. In retrospect, I realize now that many people in Europe were still suffering from the ravages of war, and didn’t have enough to eat. Rationing continued in England until the 1950s. We always had enough to eat. My mother once told me she had $10.00 a week to spend on groceries. No one ever stretched ten dollars further than my mother. How she accomplished this has been recalled by my sister Barbara (who, although she was loathe to admit it, was older than I and remembered a lot more).

It could not have been easy for my mother, raising seven children and providing them with many of the things she, herself, had been denied, like music lessons, and nice dresses, birthday parties and trips to Coney Island. But she did it.

The writer Marcelene Cox wrote, “To raise good human beings it is not only necessary to be a good mother and a good father, but to have had a good mother and father”.

My mother was a good woman who did the best she could with what she had. But she gave special gifts to us, whether we realized it or not. When I was in the fourth grade, I began taking piano lessons. I could barely read music, much less play, when Paul Whiteman’s Amateur Hour advertised that they would have auditions for children somewhere in downtown Cincinnati – the winning person would appear on his television show. I submitted an application and my mother took me to the audition. She never pointed out to me that I could barely read music much less play. I somehow stumbled through my piece of something very somber by Franz Listz. The point of this story is simply this, my mother never discouraged me, never told me I didn’t have a prayer in this competition. Thinking back on this incident, I find this kind of support absolutely remarkable. Our parents gave us confidence in ourselves, and taught us to be self-sufficient. They taught us to believe in ourselves.
All of us have memories of going to Coney Island on Findlay Market Day and competing in the games. Schmidt kids were bound to win – and we did. None of us was ever afraid of competition. Barb has recalled that even mom would enter these contests – determined to win. Once, she won a silver tray.

When I was 17 years old, my brother Scott was born. And when I was 21, my baby sister, Susie, was born. My mother told me. “your father and I can’t imagine a house without children in it”. What may have been most remarkable about my baby sister’s birth is that my sister Barbara and my mother and I were all pregnant at the same time. David was born in June, 1960; Michael in September, 1960 and Susie in February 1961. I can’t imagine a life without my youngest sister and brother in it. My parents gave us many gifts. Perhaps the most wonderful gift they gave to us was – each other.

I spent weeks searching through reference books and the Internet for the perfect quote to describe my mother. I found the following in an Ann Landers column:

“My mother taught me there’s a time and place for everything. ‘If you are gong to kill each other, do it outside; I just finished cleaning the house’.

My mother taught me religion: ‘You had better pray that the stuff you spilled will come out of the carpet’.

My mother taught me logic: ‘Because I said so, that’s why’.

My mother taught me foresight: “Make sure you wear clean underwear. You never know when you might be in an accident and be taken to the hospital’.

My mother taught me control: ‘Keep laughing and I’ll give you something to cry about’.

My mother taught me the science of osmosis: “Shut your mouth and eat your supper’.

My mother taught me about being a contortionist: “Look at the back of your neck. It’s filthy!’

My mother taught me about stamina: ‘you will sit there until all that hasenpheffer is eaten’.

My mother taught me about weather: ‘Your room looks like it was hit by a tornado’.

My mother taught me about straight talk: ‘If I told you once, I told you a million times, don’t exaggerate’.

My mother taught me it is more impressive when others discover your good qualities without your help.

My mother taught me the quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.

My mother taught me a closed mouth gathers no foot.

My mother taught me that some days you are the bug and other days you are the windshield.

My mother taught me never to test the depth of the water with both feet.

My mother taught me if you always tell the truth, you won’t have to remember what you said and to whom.”

A writer by the name of May Sarton wrote, “I would like to believe when I die that I have given myself away like a tree that sows seed every spring and never counts the loss, because it is not loss, it is adding to future life. It is the tree’s way of being. Strongly rooted, perhaps, but spilling out its treasure on the wind..” We are all here, today, because Viola Beckman Schmidt lived.

My mother passed away on September 29, 2000. On this Mother’s Day, if you still have your mother -let her know you love her. Someday you won’t be able to do this.

Remembered by Sandra Lee Schmidt Smith


With May comes Mother’s Day (and in my family a slew of birthdays as well, including a penpal in Australia and a childhood girlfriend who share May 13th with my youngest grandson) – so I thought I’d share some momisms with you- some you may have seen or heard before but since they all ring so true one wonders if women come automatically fabricated with the momism gene? I think my mother’s all time favorite may have been “Cry and I’ll give you something to cry about”. Mom was also good at reminding us of the starving children in Europe especially when we were having liver, brains, kidney stew or whatever else looked unappetizing but you knew you were going to sit at the table until you ate it. Not too long ago I discovered my younger brother Bill’s trick for getting out of eating whatever mom was cooking. (He confessed). He’d call home to see what we were having for dinner and then hang around at Aunt Dolly’s until she would ask him if he’d like to stay for dinner. Aunt Dolly was a fantastic cook; she learned at the elbow of my paternal grandmother. Aunt Dolly was married to my dad’s brother John, whom the family all called Hans.
Anyway, here are some momisms for you to ponder this Mother’s Day…

• Money doesn’t grow on trees.

• Don’t make that face or it’ll freeze in that position.

• If I talked to my mother like you talk to me….
• Always change your underwear; you never know when you’ll have an accident.

• Be careful or you’ll put your eye out.

• What if everyone jumped off a bridge? Would you do it, too? (I heard this one most when I was a teenager and wanted an article of clothing everyone was wearing, like poodle skirts or suede jackets).

• You have enough dirt behind those ears to grow potatoes!

• Close that door! Were you born in a barn?

• If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

• Don’t put that in your mouth; you don’t know where it’s been!

• Be careful what you wish for, it might come true.

• Don’t eat those, they will stunt your growth.

• If you don’t eat those, you will stunt your growth.

• Whatever will be will be. Mom only used this when something bad happened or when you experienced a disappointment. In California you would say “que sera sera” – Doris Day took this a step farther and made it into a popular song in the 50s.

• It doesn’t matter what you accomplish, I’ll always be proud of you. (Conversely, if you didn’t study or got bad grades, your mother would warn you that you would end up a lazy good for nothing bum like some people she could name. No indication she would be proud of you then! )

• I hope that when you grow up, you have kids “Just Like you”! (Also known as the “Mother’s Curse”)

• Because I’m your mother that’s why.

• This is why we can’t have nice things. (This is what you heard when you or a sibling tore a curtain, broke a dish, or tracked mud in on her clean kitchen floor).

• If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times. (yeah, she did tell us a thousand times).

• Eat your vegetables, those children in Europe (China, Africa), would be happy to have some liver (or rice or cabbage) to eat. I would have been happy to send it to them.

• If you fall out of that tree and break your leg, don’t come running to me.

• “Cheer up, the worst is yet to come.” Usually said in advance of grounding.

• Someday your face is going to stick like that.
• Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

• Yes, I *AM* the boss of you.

• Because I said so.

• Just wait till your father gets home.

• No dessert till you clean off your plate. (Well, to tell the truth we rarely had dessert when I was growing up. You just had to sit at the table until you finished eating whatever was on your plate).

• I brought you into this world and I can take you OUT !! (Mostly said after one of us had done something really bad).

• I’ve got eyes in the back of my head, that’s how !

• Get that thing out of your mouth! (or nose)

• Just you wait until you have kids of your own – then you’ll understand

• You tell that bully to cut it out or you’ll tell the teacher…

• I slave for hours over a hot stove and this is the thanks I get?! (Especially when dinner was Hasenpheffer)

• Honestly… You’d lose your head if it wasn’t screwed on!

• Bored! How can you be bored? I was never bored at your age. (or, get the mop and broom and start cleaning the floors. That will teach you not to complain about being bored).



Mine was the Ida Bailey Allen Service Cookbook that my mother kept in a kitchen drawer. I learned how to make cookies following the directions in this cookbook, which my mother bought for a dollar at Woolworth’s. From these pages I taught myself how to make Hermits, Ice-Box nut cookies, old fashioned raisin cookies and oatmeal cookies. My mother turned me loose in the kitchen when I was nine or ten years old—the only stipulation was that the ingredients for a recipe had to be on hand in my mother’s pantry. NO ONE ever went out and bought ingredients to make something and my mother’s budget of $10.00 a week to feed a family of seven didn’t allow much leeway—but raisins, flour, sugar, baking soda or baking powder, oatmeal, Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa powder—were always on the pantry shelves. (The raisins were often hard as pebbles I think I grew up thinking that’s how raisins were supposed to be). I’d read the recipes in The Cook Book by Ida Bailey Allen until I found something for which we had all the ingredients. Some other recipes, such as salmon patties, I learned from watching my mother make them. I have my mother’s Ida Bailey Allen Service Cook Book but am unable to explain how I acquired, over the years, four more copies of Volume One of The Book, and two copies of Volume Two.

My friend Doreen confided that her mother’s Five Roses Cookbook is the one she treasures. (Five Roses is the brand name for a type of flour sold in Canada.) From Five Roses, Doreen learned how to make cream puffs*, gingerbread, and sponge cake. She adds that she puts a quarter teaspoon of cream of tartar into the whipping cream to keep it stiff. She thinks the nicest cream puffs are filled with whipped cream mixed with vanilla or lemon pudding.
Doreen’s mother’s Five Roses Cook Book is copyrighted 1938 by the Lake of the Woods Milling Company Ltd, Jean Brodi author. Doreen writes, “Marketing is worth nothing now as it is in pieces. Doreen covered it with a homemade cover** in the 70’s but the pages are worn thin, yellow and crumbing away. The Book offers cream fillings for cakes and Pies include Coffee, Caramel, Butterscotch, White Mountain, French Vanilla, Lemon, Rich Lemon Butter, Chocolate Cream and Pineapple Cream, plus others.

Sandy’s cooknote: *My mother used to make cream puffs—I have her recipe (it was in her recipe box) but don’t know where it came from, originally. Possibly from the Service Cook Book? There IS a recipe in the Service Cookbook for Cream Puffs with Orange Cream Filling and elsewhere, a recipe for Cooked Cream filling. Cream puffs, I expect, is a standard recipe you can’t fiddle around with very much. It’s all about the FILLING.

Another memory from the 60s – we used to have a Helm’s Bakery Truck that came around our street in Burbank when we first moved to California. OMG, they had the BEST cream puffs and éclairs! Like the cream puffs and elcairs, Helm’s Bakery is a thing of the past.

In my personal collection of cookbooks there are about half a dozen books that have homemade covers, often of oil cloth, to protect the covers of the books.
I’ve written about the Meta Given cookbook that mysteriously appeared in our household when I was about 12 or 13. Eventually, I made it my own as I did other books I found and confiscated from the family bookcase – “Eight Cousins” and “Rose in Bloom” both by Louisa May Alcott were just two of the other books I claimed for my own. Years later, I learned those books had belonged to my cousin, June. We inherited them when June outgrew them.

**My cousin Renee has the cookbook that belonged to our Grandma Beckman, apparently, it was passed on from Grandma to Aunt Rainey who was the youngest child in the Beckman family.

In 2006, the NY Times published an article titled “Kitchen Classics, in the Eye of the Beholder” which reads in part, “When Joan Hotson turned 65, she says, each of her five daughters began angling to inherit The Book. “They knew it wasn’t going to happen any time soon, but they were quite determined,” Ms. Hotson said. The object of their interest was a long out-of-print cookbook, “Pillsbury’s Best 1000 Recipes: Best of the Bake-Off Collection,” published in 1959. Ms. Hotson received her copy…as a wedding present in 1962. “There are very few recipes in that book I haven’t made, and all my girls make their Christmas cookies from it,” said Ms. Hotson, who lives in Victoria, British Columbia. “The flavors are very distinctive.”

Ms. Hotson said she has trouble finding recipes for baking from scratch. “It seems like they all begin, ‘Take one box white cake mix,’ ” she said. For 10 years, Ms. Hotson haunted secondhand book stores and contemplated a massive photocopying project. Then the Internet saved her: she found five copies at “That 1959 book is the one people really want,” said Patricia Edwards, who runs the Web site with her husband, Peter Peckham, and stocks thousands of cookbooks in a warehouse in Reno, Nev. “It was the first time the company did a collection, even though the competition began in 1949. I can’t keep it in stock.”

Sandy’s Cooknote: I have a huge collection of Pillsbury Bake-Off Cook Books (including the elusive by highly desirable #1 of the bake off series that I found at a flea market sale, quite accidentally) but only one of the 1959 Best of the Bake-Off Collection with a thousand recipes. It’s understandable why this particular Cook Book has remained so popular. To see it is to love it. Everything is made from scratch, girlfriends!

“New and revised are not always a good thing,” said Bonnie Slotnick, a cookbook dealer in Greenwich Village. “Cooks don’t necessarily want the newfangled or low-fat versions that publishers think they do.” Most often, she says, people are looking for one of the “mother books,” big, popular cookbooks from the first half of the 20th century that were also comprehensive guides to everything from training servants to raising children, such as the Woman’s Home Companion books, the Boston Cooking-School books (predecessors of the Fannie Farmer series), the encyclopedic works of Meta Given and the American Woman’s Cookbook…” I would add to that an old Joy of Cooking Cookbook or one of the Settlement Cookbooks—both of which have been published and republished dozens of times. And, I swear, I must have a dozen of the American Woman cookbooks—I have never tried to find all of them. I’ve started putting them all in one place as they turn up. I’m up to six so far.

My sister in law, Bunny, has a decrepit falling apart Joy of Cooking cookbook that is held together with rubber bands. I had the opportunity to leaf through it during one of my visits to my Brother Jim’s home. And although Joy of Cooking undoubtedly ranks #1 in the Mother Books, it was certainly not the only book of its kind.

Nancy Leson, a food writer for a newspaper in Seattle did a piece about moms’ hand-me-down cookbooks and wrote, “My mother cooked — when she wasn’t too busy working. But unlike me, she was not a cookbook junkie. Instead the shelves in our Philadelphia kitchen, handcrafted by…my handy stepfather, held a single tome wedged between two heart-shaped bottles of Paul Masson: The name of the Mom Cookbook Nancy refers to is “Cooking for Young Homemakers.”

Nancy called her sister to ask about the cookbook. She was told it is kept on a baker’s rack in her sister’s kitchen. Nancy says she didn’t feel the slightest bit slighted that her mother chose to gift that book to her sister and says she deserved it. “But Bubbie’s hand-chopper? That’s another story” says Nancy. (The kind of story I would love to hear. My cousin Diane has my grandmother’s rolling pin—and that’s another story too!)

Sandy’s Cooknote: “Cooking for Young Homemakers” piqued my curiosity as anything like this tends to do. I am quite sure I don’t have it in my cookbook collection, but as I was searching on Google for more information, I believe I found the author of Cooking for Young Homemakers” to be a woman named Ruth Herolzheimer, who wrote a number of cookbooks (some of which I DO have) for the Culinary Arts Institute. I’d have to have a copy of “Cooking for Young Homemakers” to do a comparison. Ruth Berolzheimer also edited The United States Regional Cook Book which was first copyrighted in 1940 by the same publisher, Halcyon House, that published the Browns’ “America Cooks”. ***

Bob’s daughter in law, Angel, shared the following with me about her recipes:
“My Mom wasn’t much of a cook, but my “second” Mom was a wonderful cook. Over the years she’s taught me countless recipes. Whenever she gave me one it was always written on a recipe card. Since then I’ve collected them up and created my own binder full of good old fashioned foods”.

Another Nancy who has been reading my blog, offered the following:

“Inspired by you, I ventured down the (ugh) basement last night to try and find that book, which I did–and it is Lily Wallace’s New American Cook Book, the 1947 edition published by Books, Inc.

[Lily Haxworth Wallace, a “Home Economics Lecturer and Writer and Instructor in the Households Arts Department at The Ballard School, New York City” was the Editor in Chief, “assisted by fifty-four leading Authorities on Domestic Science and the Art of Modern Cooking].

Nancy continues, “I remembered one more recipe my mother made from that book–and it wins the prize for the most stained, “used” page in the book–”Shortcakes”, which was our standard summer dessert with strawberries or peaches. It is not the sponge cake type, but more the biscuit type…Do you have this book?”

Sandy’s Cooknote: Actually—I do have Lily Wallace’s “New American Cook Book”…what I haven’t figured out, yet, is why several different cookbooks of the 1940s are so similar in format.

My new friend, Jean, wrote the following: “I have 6-7 (copies of) Joy of Cooking, including a signed one that was my grandmother’s. Too bad it’s in very bad condition. The main thing I remember cooking from it (and mom cooking from it) was caramel custard–not flan, but custard with the caramel mixed in. Mmmmm. Very comforting and full of calcium and protein. I made it for mom after she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer…”

Jean continues, “I have to say that the format of Joy of Cooking recipes is not the most appealing for me. BUT it is a lot better than that of many subsequent books. I actually put back at least one cookbook yesterday because I knew I would find the format offputting…”

Sandy’s Cooknote: I can relate. When I am browsing in a bookstore looking through cookbooks, one of the first things I look at is the format and how big the print is.

It was predicted, in the early years of the Internet, that cookbooks would be killed off, since cooks had free access to millions of recipes that were once confined to magazines, cookbooks, card boxes and libraries. (And what do you do with the recipes once you print a copy and try out the recipe? Are you going to throw it out? Not me! This may explain in part how I ended up with over 50 three ring binders full of recipes).

“The trade in old cookbooks used to be more for collectors,” said Frank Daniels, author of “Collector’s Guide to Cookbooks.

“Now everyone has access to all the book dealers in every town, he says, “and because of that, prices have come way down.” As a result, dealers say, there is a lively new trade in out-of-print cookbooks that is driven not by the meteoric careers of chefs or the research needs of libraries, but mostly by people with an attachment, often irrational and sentimental, to a particular book or recipe. “I get a lot of calls from people who know only that the book they want had a blue cover, or they remember that there was buttermilk in the gingerbread recipe”

Perhaps the number one quest in those searches are the Mom Cookbooks.

And there’s a lot more to it than looking up a recipe on Google – which I do quite often, myself, especially when I am in a hurry and want something fast. But does that deter me from buying cookbooks, all the cookbooks I can find or afford? Not at all. But many of them have a greater sentimental value than others. My sister Becky and I both participated in compiling cookbooks for our PTAs as well as other organizations we belonged to – and finally, our greatest achievement, the Schmidt family cookbook that we titled “Grandma’s Favorite” in honor of our paternal grandmother. Since all of our siblings, children and grandchildren received a copy of “Grandma’s Favorite” we hope it will become the Mother book in all of their homes.

“There is certainly a brisk trade in nostalgia,” said Nach Waxman, owner of the Upper East Side cookbook store Kitchen Arts and Letters, which also operates a book-search service. His most-wanted title is “The Art of Jewish Cooking” by Jennie Grossinger, the matriarch who ran the kitchens at Grossinger’s resort in the Catskills (it closed in the late 1980s). “That’s an example of people who want a cookbook to keep a flame, or a flavor, alive,” he said. “You can’t buy a book today with a recipe for knishes made with chicken fat, or strudel that tastes like the strudel they remember their grandmothers making…”

Nach Waxman’s comment about “The Art of Jewish Cooking” had me scurrying through the house searching for my collection of Jewish cookbooks. Sure enough, I have two (albeit paperback) copies of this very cookbook.

And something else; I’ve heard from readers of my columns on sandychatter who have lost a favorite cookbook and are trying to find it. I try to help them find the book they are looking for—I’ve never charged for anything other than the postage for any of the cookbooks I’ve found

And now—someone surely saw the handwriting on the wall –there are a slew of cookbooks with “MOM” or “GRANDMA” in their titles.

Here are some titles you might want to search for:

RECIPES MOTHER USED TO MAKE, Edna Beilenson, 1952. This is an oldie but a goodie, published by Peter Pauper Press and adorned with a pink and white candy stripe cover. In the introduction, Edna writes “the recipes to be found on the following pages are the recipes for foods our mothers and (how time flies!) our grandmothers use to make. They create the dishes that were responsible for those spicy cinnamon-and-sugar smells that greeted our nostrils when we came running home from school, hungry and tied, with childish thoughts on the well-stocked cookie jar….”

Edna also writes, “These remembered smells of remembered foods will vary, however, with the backgrounds from which we come, and it is for this reason that our recipes have been divided up geographically…”

Edna laments that these recipes are from the “good old days” which for her, one assumes, were the thirties or forties, since her book was published in 1952. And, curiously, near the end of her book is a section for “European Recipes” that I found interesting with its recipes for mock caviar (made with eggplant), a simple chicken liver pate, gazpacho (which hasn’t changed much) and – most specially – a recipe for Hungarian Goulash which I consider to be quite authentic.

Sandy’s Cooknote: “Goulash” gets its name bandied around quite a lot and for many people goulash is synonymous with stew. But a true goulash won’t have a lot of vegetables in it – just a little onion, a tomato, part of a bell pepper – and potatoes. Most important is the beef and paprika for seasoning. I know this because I grew up on Hungarian Goulash cooked in my paternal grandmother’s kitchen.

FROM MY MOTHER’S KITCHEN, Mimi Sheraton, 1979. Mimi is the author of “Visions of Sugar Plums”, one of my very favorite Christmas cookbooks and a book I turn to every year, checking through it to see if there is something in particular that I feel like making. “From My Mother’s Kitchen”, subtitled “Recipes & Reminisces”, Mimi begins, in the Introduction with an exasperated comment from her mother, “Are we going to measure or are we going to cook?” as the two began the first of many joint sessions to prepare this cookbook.

“Like so many old-fashioned, great, natural cooks, writes Mimi, “My mother rarely measured or used recipes, and did so only when trying a completely new dish…”

FROM MY MOTHER’S KITCHEN was actually started by Mimi, decades earlier, when she had been living away from home for a few years and began to miss her mother’s cooking. She started a notebook titled “Mother’s Recipes” and in the table of contents listed over forty favorites that she wanted to be able to reproduce. Mimi also knew how her grandmother’s recipes were lost because they had never been recorded.

Sandy’s Cooknote: This is something I strongly related to. None of MY paternal grandmother’s recipes were ever written down. Now, Aunt Dolly—who married my Uncle Hans when she was a teenager—was the only one of the daughters- in-law who expressed an interest in learning grandma’s recipes. She did it by standing at grandma’s elbow and watching, carefully watching, every step. Consequently, a few of grandma’s recipes survive. But now, today, my Aunt Dolly no longer remembers some of those recipes and the one I have been chasing, like a phantom for so many years – continues to elude me. It was a pumpkin strudel that grandma made in the fall, when pumpkins were in season. It had a peppery taste and I don’t think the pumpkin was cooked beforehand. I think it was thinly sliced. Despite all of my German/Hungarian cookbooks I have yet to find that particular recipe. This story might help some of you to realize how important it is to have written copies of our mothers and grandmothers recipes.

Even though Mimi’s cookbook has a recipe for making strudel dough, the only filling recipes she provides are apple and cheese. Maybe my grandma’s recipe for pumpkin strudel was her own creation?

As for Mimi Sheraton’s cookbook, “From My Mother’s Kitchen”, the author’s Austro-Polish-Rumanian-Jewish roots were those of food lovers and cooks, and her book makes for good reading and great cooking.

MR. FOOD COOKS LIKE MAMA by Art Ginsburg, published 1992. You may know him much better as Mr. Food. Art Ginsburg, aka Mr. Food is a television chef and bestselling author of over 50 cookbooks who emphasizes simple recipes. He is the originator of “quick & easy cooking” who, for the past 30+ years, has paved the way for TV food personalities who have followed.

MEALS LIKE MOM USED TO MAKE, by Karen Brown, published 1993. This is a collection of 50s recipes; some I wasn’t so crazy about the first time around, having grown up in the 40s and 50s. I won’t eat anything—sweet potato or otherwise—that has marshmallows on it and my sons never liked Jello in any way, shape, or form—so I seldom made it. But I have been looking for my recipe for Angel Biscuits and there it is on page 137. I love the 24 hour salad but stopped making it when I realized it contains 2 cups of mayonnaise. Of course now you can buy the light or no fat mayonnaise so you might want to give it a try. That is a good make-ahead salad.

RECIPES MY MOTHER GAVE ME, by Vale Farrar Kelley, 1999, is a slim collection of recipes reflecting the places in which she lived and grew up- beginning with the Naval Air Station in the Philippines, and moving on to Japan, California, Virginia and Texas. The recipes were her mother’s and now they are in a book to become yours, as well.

MOM’S FAVORITE RECIPES, Gooseberry Patch, 2003—is there anyone out there who isn’t familiar with the Gooseberry Patch cookbooks? I can’t imagine. And here’s the thing about Gooseberry Patch: they put out a call for your favorite recipes (in this instance, the recipes of your mother’s that you liked most) – and when they have enough recipes, Vickie & JoAnn put them into a nice spiral bound cookbook. And, if one of you recipes is chosen by Gooseberry Patch to be included in one of their cookbooks – whoohoo! You get a free copy of that cookbook. I think I have about half a dozen or so of the cookbooks that I was honored to receive “free”. (Then, of course, you will want to buy copies for all of you friends and relatives since your recipe has been published, but that’s another story). I love Gooseberry Patch cookbooks.

IN MOTHER’S KITCHEN by Ann Cooper and Lisa Holmes, published 2005. From In Mother’s Kitchen: “Many of us remember learning to cook at our mother’s feet. Recipes, tips and traditions were passed on as children were asked to stir the soup or help roll out the pastry dough during family meal preparation. While Chef Ann Cooper gathered information for her cookbooks, she heard numerous stories from other women chefs about their fond memories of cooking with their mothers and grandmothers. Cooper, who learned to cook from her grandmothers, both first- or second-generation immigrants, became a chef out of her love for food, and giving and nurturing through food. She strongly believes that families need to slow down and take time to eat and prepare food together in order to carry on important sociological and cultural elements, as well as foster good health. She encourages parents to simply bring their kids with them into the kitchen, whether it’s to help with a certain recipe or to prepare an entire meal. The book is a compilation of not only stories such as these, but of wonderful, heirloom recipes from many different cultures and old photographs of young, smiling girls cooking with their moms.

There are chapters on Mothers & Grandmothers, Daughters, Motherlands and even Remedies handed down through generations to heal common ailments…”
MOM’S UNDATED RECIPE BOX, Donna L. Weihofen, R.D., 2005. In the introduction, Donna writes, “Mom’s home cooking was something special. She and the other neighborhood moms used those wonderful recipes that had been passed along from one generation to the next. We have fond memories of simple family suppers, holiday feasts, picnics, potlucks and after-school treats…” Donna’s idea was to take old family favorite recipes and give them a facelift, reducing calories and fat grams without compromising the appearance or the flavor of the recipes. All the recipes in “Mom’s Updated Recipe Box” come with nutritional information per serving.

IN MY MOTHER’S KITCHEN/WRITERS ON LOVE, COOKING AND FAMILY published 2006 various authors (I started re-reading this last night and am thoroughly enjoying it the second time around). Recipes not required but the ones included will make your mouth water and send you off to the kitchen to start mixing and stirring. Not really a cookbook, per se, but really a collection of essays from some of our favorite food writers—Maya Angelou and Dorie Greenspan, the late M.F.K. Fisher, Ruth Reichl, James Villas, Holly Clegg – and others. This is a nice little soft cover book you can tuck into your purse to read while standing in line in a bank or places with long lines, like Sam’s Club & Costco.

Maya Angelou’s Caramel Cake and the story that goes with it? A must! The next best thing to reading cookbooks is reading stories by cookbook authors.
My own mother passed away the day after my birthday, in September, 2000. While she did make a great loaf of bread – and baked 2 huge loaves in roasting pans twice a week when we were all very young—I think it’s ok to note that she really wasn’t what you’d call a great cook. What she WAS good at was stretching a ten dollar weekly allowance for groceries to keep five children and two adults fed. We had a lot of organ meat dinners (such as liver, brains and kidneys) because those were the cheapest cuts and during WW2, weren’t rationed. My sister used to say that none of us really knew what a hamburger should taste like because mom mixed a loaf of bread into a pound of ground beef. My paternal grandmother was the acknowledged cook in the family—but more to the point, none of us ever went hungry (unless you count the number of times Biff got sent to bed without dinner for being late. He loves to tell the story – my sister and I would sneak food to him and he never really WENT hungry).

One of my best memories of my mother and our respective childhoods is that she always baked a cake for whoever was the birthday boy or birthday girl. It’s tradition I have carried on…now to include grandchildren!

Mother’s Day is approaching so I hope, if you have a cookbook that was your mother’s and you cherish it, you will spend a little time thinking about how it happened to be handed down to you.

I may have to get out that Ida Bailey Allen Service cookbook and make some cream puffs for mother’s day….in mom’s memory.

–Happy Cooking and Happy Cookbook Collecting and if you are a mother, then Happy Mother’s Day to you! Sandy


* According to my notes in WORD I posted this in March, 2011, but couldnt find any trace of it. Here goes again!

As promised, I have been going through recipe files and cookbooks, searching
for salad recipes that you can make ahead of time. This is especially handy if you are hosting a family dinner or get-together for a holiday, and as I write this, the stores are filling shelves with Easter baskets, candy, stuffed toy rabbits and chicks and greeting cards. (Personally, it feels like to me that the stores jump the gun a lot on holidays. We’re still reeling from Valentine’s Day, haven’t even celebrated St Patrick’s Day – and Easter STUFF is already on the shelves of department stores and supermarkets).

There are probably dozens, if not hundreds, of potato salad recipes. This recipe is fairly simple and will keep for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator. It’s from an Ohio community cookbook. To make

#1 POTATO SALAD you will need:
5 lbs potatoes
1 large white onion, diced
1 ¼ c. celery, chopped
1 4-oz jar diced pimiento, drained
2 cups mayonnaise*
¼ cup mustard
¼ cup milk
8 slices bacon, cooked drained on paper towels, and crumbled

Peel potatoes, dice into bite-size cubes and boil until tender enough to pierce with a fork. Drain and let cool. In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise, mustard and milk and set aside. In a large bowl, mix the cooled potatoes, celery, onion, crumbled bacon and mayonnaise mixture. Toss lightly; add salt and pepper to taste. Store in a container with a tight fitting lid (like a Tupperware bowl). Keep Refrigerated.

Sandy’s cooknote*When a recipe calls for mayonnaise, my first choice is Best Foods (or Hellman’s, east of the Mississippi)—unless the recipe specifically calls for something else, like Miracle Whip.

Another make-ahead salad that improves after a day or two of marinating in the refrigerator is a cucumber salad. One time when a Filipino girlfriend was visiting me, she began eating the cucumber salad and couldn’t stop. There are a lot of variations of cucumber salads but the one we grew up on in Ohio is this German Cucumber Salad. To make

2 medium size cucumbers, thinly sliced*
2 TBSP salad
1 small onion diced
¼ cup sour cream**
1 TBSP white vinegar
1 TBSP water

Place sliced cucumbers in colander; cover with salt and mix well. Let stand at least half an hour. Squeeze all excess water from cucumbers and place in a bowl with the onion. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, vinegar and water. Pour over the cucumbers and onion; add salt and pepper to taste. Store in covered bowl in refrigerator.

Sandy’s cooknote: *To peel or not to peel, that is the question. You can make the salad either way but if you are not peeling the cucumbers, be sure to scrub them good with a vegetable brush. Cucumbers are one of those vegetables often waxed before you get to them in the supermarket.

**no sour cream? Don’t despair. You can substitute mayonnaise and it will be almost just as good.

To make this salad you will need:

1 large bag of tri-colored coleslaw
2 packages chicken-flavored Ramen noodles
½ cup sugar
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup cooking oil (vegetable, peanut or olive)
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 small can cashews
1 small bag sunflower seeds

Remove flavor packets fro Ramen noodles and crush noodles well. Set aside. In a bowl, combine sugar, apple cider vinegar, oil and flavor packets. Mix well. In a large bowl, combine coleslaw and chopped green onions. At this point, you can cover and store in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, mix in the crushed Ramen noodles, cashews and sunflowers seeds and mix well.
*The first time I made this salad, I added the crushed Ramen noodles along with the coleslaw and green onions and refrigerated it overnight. I thought the noodles became too mushy. If I make it again, I will add them with the cashews and sunflowers.


This is a great make-ahead salad and there are a lot of versions of it, but this one comes closest to the first one I ever tasted. A friend of my mother’s house sat for us while we drove our camper to Oregon in 1978. When we returned, mom’s friend Joan had made the 24 hour Vegetable salad for us to try.
To make 24 Hour Vegetable Salad you will need:

3 cups torn romaine lettuce
Salt, pepper and sugar
1 ½ cups shredded Swiss cheese
4 hard boiled eggs, sliced
½ lb bacon, crisp cooked, drained and crumbled
3 cups torn leaf lettuce
1 (10 oz) frozen pkg peas, thawed
¾ cup mayonnaise
2 TBSP sliced green onion with tops

Place romaine in bottom of large bowl*; sprinkle with salt, pepper, and sugar. Top with one cup of cheese, then layer of egg. Salt generously. Next layer in order half of bacon, leaf lettuce and peas. Spread mayonnaise over top, sealing to edge of bowl Cover and chill 24 hours or overnight. Garnish with remaining cheese, bacon and green onion. 10-12 servings.

*A large glass bowl makes a pretty presentation with this salad. **

There are dozens, maybe hundreds, of coleslaw recipes. The one I make most often is a KFC copycat coleslaw but this next recipe is an Old Fashioned Cole Slaw that would be especially nice for a potluck or cookout.

To make OLD FASHIONED COLESLAW you will need:

1 large head of cabbage, finely shredded
2 carrots, peeled and shredded
1 green bell pepper, chopped fine
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups sugar, divided
¾ cup oil
1 cup vinegar
1 TBSP celery seed
1 TBSP salt

In large bowl combine vegetables, mix and sprinkle with one cup of sugar and set aside. In small saucepan combine oil, vinegar, celery seed and salt and remaining cup of sugar. Bring to a boil to dissolve sugar. Pour hot liquid over vegetable mixture, stirring lightly to mix well. Let stand until cool, then cover and refrigerate overnight to allow flavors to blend. Makes 8 servings.

8 cups finely chopped cabbage (about 1 head)
¼ cup shredded carrot (1 medium)
2 TBSP minced onion
1/3 cup granulated sugar
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper (white pepper if you have it)
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup mayonnaise *we prefer Best Foods/Hellman’s)
1 ½ TBSP white vinegar
2 ½ TBSP lemon juice

Combine sugar, salt, pepper, buttermilk, mayonnaise, vinegar and lemon juice in a large bowl. Whisk until smooth. Add cabbage, carrots and onion. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Keeps for weeks in the refrigerator!)

(Sandy’s cooknote: if you use one of those packages of coleslaw mix you can skip the cabbage and carrot and just add chopped onion to the mix. I also like to double all the dressing ingredients because we like our coleslaw a little on the soupy side)

*I called this Play it Again because it is one of the make-ahead salad recipes in my June 2009 post.


Penny is my Oklahoma penpal with whom I have been friends since the late 1960s (as close as I can remember). When we drove across country to spend a summer in Cincinnati in 1970, we stopped to visit Penny & her family at their home in Skiatook, near Tulsa. We were treated royally and after a sumptuous breakfast the next morning, Penny sent us on our way with a huge bag of her specialty chocolate chip cookies.

To make Penny’s Sauerkraut Salad you will need:

1 (32 oz) package sauerkraut drained
1 cup sliced celery
½ cup sliced green bell pepper
½ cup chopped onion
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup each oil and vinegar

In bowl, combine sauerkraut, celery, onion, and green pepper. In another bowl, mix together sugar, oil and vinegar. Add to sauerkraut mixture and marinate in refrigerator at least 2 hours before serving. Serve chilled with beef, pork or sausage.


To make Crabby salad you will need:
1 cup mayonnaise
2 TBSP milk
2 TBSP red wine vinegar
1 cup chopped celery
2 TBSP chopped green bell pepper
½ cup chopped green onion
1 small can (or 4 oz jar) chopped pimiento
1 small can chopped ripe olives
2 cups crab (or chicken or tuna)**
1 small can Chinese noodles

Mix together the mayonnaise, 2 TBSP milk and 2 TBSP red wine vinegar in a mixing bowl. Add the celery, green pepper, chopped green onion, the pimientos (drained) and the ripe olives. Mix and refrigerate overnight. Just before serving add 2 cups crabmeat and 1 small can Chinese noodles.

**You can substitute chicken or tuna for the crab in this salad but then it won’t be crabby anymore.

You may have noticed by now that I rarely share gelatin fruit salads or anything with marshmallows – I have an aversion to my SALAD being sweet. But there is a simple fruit salad in which all the ingredients are one cup each. My girlfriend Neva used to make this and some other fruit salads that had sour cream in them. In her honor I am posting NEVA’S ONE CUP FRUIT SALAD

To make Neva’s one cup fruit salad you will need:

1 cup pineapple chunks
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1 cup coconut
1 can fruit cocktail, drained
1 cup mandarin oranges, drained
1 cup sour cream
Mix all ingredients and chill overnight.

For the Salad you will need:
3 cups cheese tortellini, frozen
1 cup green apples, chopped
1 cup red apples, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
½ cup walnuts chopped
For the Dressing you will need:
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup plain yogurt
½ tsp lemon juice
¼ tsp curry powder
¼ tsp ginger

Cook tortellini as directed on package. Drain and rinse with cold water. In a large bowl combine tortellini, apples and celery and toss lightly. In a small bowl combine mayonnaise, yogurt, lemon juice, curry powder and ginger. Mix well. Pour dressing over salad; mix gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight. Just before serving stir in walnuts.


To make Wild Rice Turkey Salad you will need:
½ cup wild rice, washed
½ cup walnuts, toasted
½ lb smoked turkey, cut in strips
¾ cup raisins
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup olive or grape seed oil
¼ c. balsamic vinegar
Pepper to taste

Cook the wild rice according to package instructions. Drain. Toss all ingredients together. Serve on a bed of lettuce or spinach. May be made the day before. ***

In one of my regional cookbooks I found this recipe that sounds similar to a recipe in my files for Texas Caviar although I think the latter was made with black beans. This recipe is called Pickled Black-Eyed Pea salad. To make


4 cups cooked black eyed peas, drained (can be canned)
1 medium onions, sliced thin
1 green pepper, diced
½ cup celery, cut in small pieces
1 cup salad oil (I like canola oil)
¼ cup wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced fine
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

Combine vegetables. Mix remaining ingredients in blender or shake vigorously in a quart jar. Pour over vegetables and store, covered, in refrigerator. Keeps as long as a week in the refrigerator. Makes 10 servings.

When I had finished typing the above, I was off on a tangent searching for my Texas Caviar recipe. I found it but this one also calls for black eyed peas. I might have substituted black beans when I was making it. To make TEXAS CAVIAR you will need:

1 can (14 oz) black-eyed peas, drained
1 can (15½ oz. white hominy, drained
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
4 green onions, very thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium green bell pepper, finely chopped
½ cup chopped onion
¼ to 1/3 cup chopped cilantro or parsley (Fresh cilantro is an acquired taste; use less if you aren’t crazy about it, or use parsley instead)
1 cup picante sauce

Combine all ingredients; mix lightly. Cover and chill at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours, stirring occasionally. Drain. Makes 7 cups. Serve Texas Caviar as a veggie side dish (good for a BBQ) or as a dip, with tortilla chips.


The first time we tasted this was at a luncheon our friends Pat & Stan hosted for us. I had to have the recipe. This keeps well in the refrigerator –for a week or two, at least. I think I had a batch keep very well for over a month in the refrigerator. I’m not sure why it’s called a pea salad when the recipe contains more corn and green beans than peas. Maybe it should have been Pat’s
Marinated Mystery Pea Salad!

To make Pat’s Marinated Pea Salad you will need

1 can (12 oz) shoe peg corn, drained
1 can (16 oz) French style green beans, drained
1 can (8½ oz) English peas, drained
1 cup chopped celery
1 green pepper, chopped
1 small onion chopped
1 jar (2 oz) pimientos, drained and chopped
1/3 cup cooking oil
½ cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup sugar
½ tsp garlic salt

Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate for one or two days before serving. ***
MARINATED VEGETABLE SALAD is another good “keeper” – my recipe card notes that it stays fresh in the dressing for days.

To make Marinated Vegetable Salad you will need:

1 jar (7 oz) artichoke hearts, undrained
1 1/3 cups Italian dressing
¼ cup parsley chopped
2 carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally
1 green bell pepper chopped
1 cup cauliflower pieces
1 cup broccoli pieces
8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 medium cucumber, sliced

1 package (10 oz) frozen Brussels sprouts, thawed and drained

Mix undrained artichokes, Italian dressing, and parsley. Pour over carrots, green pepper, cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms, cucumber and Brussels sprouts. Refrigerate, covered, at least 2 hours. Drain vegetables, reserving marinade for future use. Salad stays fresh in dressing for days.


To make MJ’s carrot coins, you will need:
2 bunches (about 2 pounds) carrots
1 large onion
1 can undiluted tomato soup
½ cup cooking oil
1 cup sugar
1 tsp dry or prepared mustard
¾ cup vinegar
1 tsp salt

Peel carrots and slice diagonally. Cook until tender. Slice onion and separate into rings and set aside. Cook next 7 ingredients until boiling. Drain carrots and pour hot mixture over carrots. Add onion rings and stir to mix. Refrigerate. Keeps forever!


I don’t know about you, but I love corn in every way, shape and form. I like it fresh on the cob, grilled, or cooked in the microwave (easy!) – I like it frozen or canned. Fresh from our own garden, even better. I like it as a vegetable or a salad or in cornbread or made up in those little sweet cakes you get at El Torito’s restaurant. Here is a Corn Salad recipe you will like.

To make Corn Salad, you will need

1 12-oz can white corn, drained
1 cup chopped celery
1 onion, chopped
½ cup sugar
½ cup vinegar
1 jar chopped pimientos, drained
1 green bell pepper, chopped
½ cup cooking oil

Combine corn, pimientos, onion, celery, and green pepper. Mix together the sugar, oil, and vinegar. Our over combined vegetables. Place in covered container in refrigerator to marinate. ***
From an Iowa regional cookbook is this recipe called Garden Medley. To make GARDEN MEDLEY you will need:

1 cup green peppers (Bell peppers)
1 cup red onions
1 cup cherry tomatoes (halved)
1 cup cauliflower
2 cups celery
1 cup carrots (shredded coarsely)
1 cup sugar
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp salt and a dash of pepper
½ cup salad oil
1 TBSP basil

Chop vegetables into bite size pieces. Shake last 6 ingredients together in a quart jar. Pour over raw vegetables and marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

Sandy’s Cooknote: For more make ahead salad recipes, please refer to my post “Make Ahead Salad Recipes” in June, 2009. As for me, I worked up an appetite for Pat’s Marinated Pea Salad so I bought the ingredients at the supermarket a while ago.

Happy Cooking!


“POTATOES & VEGETABLES” is the kind of cookbook that proves for sure big things can come in small packages. As a matter of fact, if you are interested in specializing in a particular kind of cookbook but space is at a premium, small cookbooks might be the answer. Little cookbooks come in many sizes and shapes and cover a multitude of cooking topics!

Pint-size cookbooks (not including paperbacks) have actually been around for a very long time, so the concept isn’t new. One of the oldest “sets” of small cookbooks in my personal collection is a series of 365 recipes –“365 Tasty Dishes”, “365 Dinner Dishes”, and “365 Foreign Dishes” (there may have been more than three books to the series but three are all that I have ever found. These were published between 1903 and 1908 by George W. Jacobs & Company and do not credit a particular author. (Another interesting thing about them is that the idea of 365 recipes in one cookbook has come and gone a few times, too).

Another old set of small cookbooks that I have are a small boxed set by Helen Evans Brown, first published in 1950. There’s a Chafing Dish Book, Patio Cook Book and A Book of Appetizers. The three little books came in a green box.

I also came across, recently, “Chinese-Japanese Cook Book by Sara Bosse and Onoto Watanna, published by Rand McNally in 1914. This also qualifies as a little cook book.

Some cookbook researchers think these little cookbooks were a forerunner of the free pamphlets and booklets that we now pay several dollars for. When I was a child in the early 1950s, these booklets were generally advertised on the backs of boxes of cocoa or baking soda, corn starch or oatmeal. You could get one completely free of charge by sending in a post card with your name and address on it. Post cards were a penny—so, if I had ten cents I could get ten post cards and end up with ten recipe booklets. I guess you could tell which way the wind was blowing even when I was a little girl. By the time I reached my ‘teens, I already had a cardboard box full of those booklets and pamphlets. One such booklet is an early Watkins Cook Book published in 1925 (presumably, you have to use all Watkins products for the recipes to come out exactly right) while another small book was one written by Ida Bailey Allen in 1927, which expounded the uses of Karo Syrup, Argo or Kingsford’s Cornstarch and Mazola corn oil. (I was surprised to discover that Mazola corn oil has been around so long!)

I have several small spiral bound cookbooks by Ruth Chier Rosen and Ruth and Richard Rosen; there is one called “The Chefs’ Tour/a visit into foreign kitchens”, another called “Tooth Sweet”, one called “Cyrano de Casserole” and yet another called “A Tomato Well Dressed/the Art of Salad Making”. These were published by Handy Aid Books by Richards Rosen Associates so I assume this was a family enterprise. (I discovered, on the back covers, additional titles of “Epicurean Guide”, “Terrace Chef” “A Guide to Pink Elephants” and “The Big Spread”! These little books, published in the 1950s, measure a mere 3 1/2×5”- are cute as the dickens, nicely indexed, and filled with great recipes!)

Some of my other wee favorites include “Make Mine Vanilla” by Lee Edwards Benning and – my all-time favorite little cookbook, “Favorite Fruitcakes” by Moira Hodgson which I have written about previously in the Cookbook Collectors Exchange.

More recently, even Mary Engelbreit has published some of these pint-size cookbooks. Tiny cookbooks are usually reasonably priced and make nice little gifts (or even stocking stuffers), when you want to give someone something but not spend a whole lot of money. Often, you can find some of these little books near the cash register of your favorite bookstore or Hallmark card shop. They can also be found in some gourmet shops.

One of the oldest small cookbooks in my collection is titled “The Little Dinner”, by Christine Terhune Herrick – and published, much to my astonishment, in 1893 by Charles Scribner’s Sons. Aside from a repaired and re-damaged spine, it’s not in bad condition for a cookbook that is well over a hundred years old. Well, perhaps the little cookbook needs a little TLC.

“POTATOES & VEGETABLES” might be small in size (actually measures only 4”x5”—but, it’s almost 2 inches thick and contains a whopping 240 recipes with beautiful full-color illustrations of each recipe (I love knowing what the dish ought to look like when it’s finished, don’t you?). Unquestionably, we are a society where visual impact is vitally important to us. If you look at a recipe and the illustration that goes with it looks like something the dog dragged around the back yard, how inclined would you be to give it a try?

Not only does “POTATOES & VEGETABLES” offer full color illustrations of the recipes, there are, additionally, smaller scale photographs of the dish being prepared, and an assortment of variations and extra tips given with each of the recipes.

Although this is a potato and vegetable cookbook, you will find, within its pages, recipes for soups (Indian Potato & Pea Soup, Broccoli & Potato Soup, Potato& Dried Mushroom Soup—and, my favorite, Tomato & Red Bell Pepper Soup); recipes for salads (think: Mexican potato salad, Sweet Potato & Nut Salad, Red Cabbage & Pear Salad). There is a chapter dedicated to Snacks & Light Meals (Thai Potato Crab Cakes, Potato, Cheese & Onion Rosti, Hash Browns with Tomato Sauce, Vegetable Crepes) followed by a chapter devoted entirely to Side Dishes (Potatoes & Mushrooms in Red Wine, Spicy Potato Fries, Steamed Vegetables with Vermouth). Next is a chapter called “Main Meals” followed by one called “Pies & Bakes.”

Many of the recipes in both Main Meals and Pies and Bakes could be considered one-dish meals, such as Red Onion Tart Tatin and Lentil & Red Bell Pepper Flan. Sort of what I think of as a quiche. However, Main Meals offers Spaghetti with Pear & Walnut Sauce—which I think would make a wonderful company dish—and recipes such as Garbanzo Bean & Vegetable Casserole and Pan Potato Bake. “Pies & Bakes” offers recipes such as Potato & Meat Phyllo Parcels and Carrot-Topped Beef Pie but there are also recipes for Sweet Potato Bread, Cheese & Potato Plait (a bread), Potato & Nutmeg Scones and Potato Muffins. There are also recipes for Fruity Potato Cake, Pumpkin Loaf, Chili Corn Bread, and Cheese & Potato Bread. All of which just goes to prove – you can eat your veggies in many different ways, even for dessert!

This is a dandy little book with the most beautiful color photography illustrations. And it’s so nicely priced – you can buy two; one for yourself and one to give as a gift.

“POTATOES & VEGETABLES” is from Paragon Publishing in Great Britain but it has been designed with American readers in mind (i.e., cup measurements, for instance, are for the American measuring cup of 8 ounces equals one cup). . It was published in 2003 and was priced then at less than $5.00. However, a Google search led to my finding the book on Amazon, by typing in the USBN number. It is available at Amazon new for $1.99 and pre-owned for one cent!

What you might want to consider, if space is an issue in your life, is collecting small cookbooks. Even Gooseberry Patch has begun to publish small spiral bound cookbooks; I have one titled “Pasta Recipes.”

ISBN for Potatoes & Vegetables is 0-75257-561-9

Review by Sandra Lee Smith
April 2011