Oatmeal Cookies

3/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup water
1 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp soda
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups oatmeal
1 cup raisins

To do:
Preheat oven to 350F
Cream together shortening and both sugars. [Aside from a baking time there aren’t any further directions. I’m assuming one would beat the egg, add the water, and add both to the sugar/shortening mixture. Then one would mix the remaining dry ingredients together. And then one would mix the wet with the dry and plop onto a greased cookie sheet in large spoonfuls.] Bake for 12-15 minutes.


Pecan Puffs

There’s a note saying these were Dad’s favorites. I’m not surprised. The man loved him some nuts.

1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups sifted cake flour
2 cups pecan meats
Powdered sugar for rolling cookies

To do:
Preheat oven to 300F
Cream butter and sugar. Add salt and vanilla and mix. Chop nut meats and add to flour. Then add to butter mixture. Roll into walnut sized balls. Bake 30-45 minutes. While warm, roll in powdered sugar.

No Bake Chocolate Cookies

We’ve hit the cookie section of the recipe box. It’s a big section. Mom didn’t make cookies all that often—just for holidays, pretty much. And that’s why she needed recipe cards. Things Mom made every week were memorized.

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 TBS cocoa
1/4 cup oleo (margarine)
Pinch of salt
3 cups quick oats
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup coconut
1 tsp vanilla
Optional: nuts

To do:
In a sauce pan, bring the first four ingredients to a boil. Remove from stove and mix in the other ingredients. Drop teaspoons full on wax paper.

I guess when they’re cool, they’re done.

Chicken or Turkey Casserole

We have here the ultimate Midwestern, mid-century recipe! It combines evaporated milk, chow mien noodles, and canned soup (two kinds!) with . . . oh, drat. Never mind; the cheese is missing. Still, it’s pretty classic.

1-2 heaping cups of boned, chopped chicken or turkey
1 small can (5 oz) evaporated milk
1 can chow mien noodles
1 can chicken rice soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
Small can mushrooms, drained
Optional: peas and peanuts, buttered crumbs

To do:
Preheat oven to 350F
Mix everything (except crumbs, if using). Bake 1 hour.

Cheese Strata

Oh, Mom, why did you never make this when I was around? Olives aside, it looks like a splendid brunch food. Of course, we really didn’t brunch that much. Anyway, this one I may road test myself.

10 slices bread, crust removed, broken or cubed
6 eggs
3 cups milk.
2 TSP chopped parsley
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp salt
2 cups (8 oz) shredded cheese
3 TBS finely chopped onion
Optional: chopped olives, diced ham, chopped bacon

To do:
Beat eggs, milk, and seasonings. Stir in bread cubes, cheese, and onion. (Also ham and/or bacon, I imagine.) Pour into ungreased 9 x 13 pan. Refridgerate (covered) overnight. Preheat oven to 325F. If you want to add olives, sprinkle them on top at this time. Bake for one hour.

Meat-Bean Casserole

Maybe we had this? It looks like a way to stretch beef, so it may be a relic of Grandma Maisy’s Depression Era cooking. It’s doesn’t look half bad. I’d probably put it over rice or noodles.

1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tbs. salt
1 small can tomatoes
1 small can pork and beans
black pepper to taste
2 tbs. fat/oil

To do:
Heat oven to 350F.
Saute onions in fat. Add meat. Stir until meat browns. Add salt, pepper, tomatoes, and beans. Mix together and bake in casserole, 30 minutes.

Orange Cake

Another one that I don’t remember Mom ever making, although she use to say she loved orange cake.

1/2 cup shortening
1.5 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 orange
1 cup raisins (or 1/2 cup raisins and 1/2 cup nuts)
2 eggs
1 cup sour milk
1 tsp. baking soda
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder

To do:
Heat oven to 350F (the recipe card says “moderate oven,” so this is a reasonable assumption).
Cream together 1 cup sugar, salt, and shortening. Squeeze juice out of orange and add to 1/2 cup sugar. Set the orange juice/sugar mixture aside. Grind the rest of the orange together with raisins or raisins and nuts. Combine with sugar/shortening mixture. Add eggs, sour milk, baking soda, flour, and baking powder. Mix and pour into loaf pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove when baked and let it cool. Put sugar/juice mixture on the top.

Cheese Fondue

Every New Years Eve my mom use to make cheese fondue. We’d eat it with toasted bread and olives, and later watch one of the New Year broadcasts. Last New Years Eve I was feeling nostalgic, so I dug up Mom’s recipe card and made it for a few of my friends. And now, 10 months later, I was in the process of cleaning my apartment and ran across the card, which hadn’t made it back into the recipe box. 

Cheese Fondue


0.25 cup butter
0.25 cup flour
0.5 tsp salt
0.125 tsp white pepper
6 cups (46 oz) gruyere cheese, shredded
3 cups milk
2 tbs white grape juice (or, if you’re not a tea totaller like Mom, a splash of white wine)

 To do:

Melt butter in chafing dish over hot water. Blend in flour, salt and pepper. Gradually add milk. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is smooth and thickened. Add shredded cheese. Stir slowly 30 or 40 minutes or until cheese is well blended. (Mom’s directions say to stir in one direction, but I don’t know why. I did fine just stirring it however.) Just before serving, add wine and stir steadily in one direction until mixture is velvety. Serve accompanied by toasted bread squares. 

Yum Yum Hot Dish

*blows dust from keyboard*

Here’s a recipe that has 1962 Midwest all over it, from the can of mushroom soup to the chow mien noodles.

1 lb ground beef
1 green pepper
1 small bunch celery
2 onions, medium
butter for browning the above
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup water
1 cup chow mien noodles
1 cup mushroom soup

To do:
Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Chop the pepper, celery, and onions. Brown the chopped veggies and the ground beef in butter. Add salt and water to the mixture and simmer for five minutes. Add noodles and soup to the mixture and bake 30–45 minutes. Sprinkle with more noodles when done.

I have no memory of Mom ever making this. Given that I hate cooked green pepper, that’s ok. The rest of it sounds ok, though.

Noodle Perfection

As promised, here’s a recipe that has nothing whatsoever to do with frosting. Mom wrote “very good!” in one corner, but I don’t remember her ever making it.

1/2 pound noodles (cooked, I assume)
2 large onions, chopped
1/2 pound ground beef
1 can (med.) mushrooms
1 can (med.) ripe olives
1 or 2 cans tomato sauce [note: Mom didn’t say what constitutes “med.” or what size cans of tomato sauce]
1/2 pound velveta, cubed
Butter for sauteing

To do:
Heat oven to 350F. Saute onions in butter. Brown meat in fob. (No idea what “fob” is—I’d just brown it with the onions and butter.) Combine all ingredients. Season to taste. Bake 45 minutes. Garnish with a few extra cubes of cheese.