Community Cookbooks of West Texas

November 19, 2016 Book Reviews, Books, Home Sweet Home, In the Kitchen 6

Y’all, I wasn’t going to do this post because who cares about 30-50 year-old small-town West Texas fundraiser cookbooks? Well, I do, apparently, and I kind of feel like my dear readers and fellow Nonfiction November-ers and Foodies Read buddies might enjoy some of the real jewels to be found within.

Brace yourselves.

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First up: What’s Cookin’? in Big Spring, Texas by the local chapter of the American Business Women’s Association and the Bev-Ron Publishing Company of Kansas, 1970.

This is the slimmest volume and arguably the most WTF, although I suppose it does also include some good solid advice:

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You have your typical Jell-O based “salad” sorts of things, of course:

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And your Tang-based beverages:

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But I think my absolute favorite “recipe” has to be this super classy casserole:

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Wow, Mrs. Newton, way to make an effort!

Next up, my favorite (er, only) collection of classic church lady recipes…

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In case you’re too distracted by the giant cherub preparing to go all Jericho on that church for crimes against God’s cuisine, the title is Methodist Morsels by the Cookbook Committee of the First United Methodist Church of Lamesa, Texas and Cookbook Publishers, Inc. in Kansas, 1983.

You’d think 1983 would be late enough in the 20th century for us to be beyond things like this “Fancy Chicken Log”, but you’d be wrong:

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If a cream cheese / steak sauce / curry powder flavored log of chicken doesn’t float your boat, why not try this delicious mayonnaise / canned cream of chicken soup / curry powder flavored chicken casserole instead? It’s apparently a “delight”:

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OK, this particular cookbook does include a pretty cute section of easy and cheesy (both literally and figuratively) recipes for the kiddos:

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Aww! Super cute, huh? But then you turn the page and find this:

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I’m sorry but in what world is it cute to title a recipe “Preserved Children”???

ANYWAY, back to the real (hahaha) recipes! How about these 3 Doritos-based casseroles?

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… I’m actually tempted to try one of those.

One cool thing I found is this recipe from my own great-grandmother:

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I mean, it’s super neat seeing a recipe from an ancestor, but am I going to make that for dinner? Uh, no.

The last cookbook was published slightly more recently:

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That’s Favorite Recipes from the Kitchens of the GFWC-TFWC Big Spring Junior Woman’s Club and Their Friends by… well, you know, and their publisher Circulation Service of Kansas, 1987.

Now, I was born in ’87 so I can’t make TOO much fun of how old this book is, but honestly the “favorite” recipes of the ladies of small town West Texas don’t seem to have improved much from their midcentury forerunners.

Case in point:

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Dammit Teri, who told you it was a good idea to microwave shrimp? Stop it.

However, this little cookbook does include some rather charming illustrations and helpful stuff in the index, so all hope is not lost:

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So, yeah. I know y’all are envious of my awesome cookbook collection right now.

Also, I’m totally adding these to Goodreads because I need them to count towards my 2016 reading goal.

Tell me — do you have any vintage community cookbooks or silly old recipes hanging around? Have you tried any of the recipes? Have you tried any of THESE recipes? Should I? No, wait, don’t answer that.

6 Responses to “Community Cookbooks of West Texas”

  1. Aylee

    LOL! This is priceless. I have some of my grandma’s 1940s and 50s cookbooks and they are super ridiculous as well. Lots of aspics and jellies. But is it crazy that I am kind of with you on the Doritos casseroles? They sound bizarre, but I would totally try one…

    • Louise

      I confess that when I went grocery shopping yesterday I stood in front of the Doritos for like half an hour trying to talk myself out of it.

  2. Jennifer

    So now I know where my grandmother got her recipes…. She would be all over that Cherry Coke Salad. And what was the fascination with cream soups? They seem to have been added to everything. I loved this post. It was enthralling, if slightly terrifying, reading.

    • Louise

      Cream of [whatever] soup ends up in almost every recipe from the mid-20th-century… I don’t know if it was just the novelty of the convenience or what!

  3. Heather

    Those are absolutely delightful. No wonder part of the U.S. went so hardcore the other way into all natural, organic, locally raised, etc. We are rebelling against cream of chicken soup!

    • Louise

      Haha, seriously! It’s like, just because it exists in canned form doesn’t mean you have to make a casserole out of it!

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