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I blame this problem on Mrs. Scales

Savannah asked me, with just a few days of school remaining, …“can I make my own lunch from now on?”. And I wondered aloud why she could not have come up with this brilliant strategy many months ago…like maybe last September or October!

But I am filing away that conversation in my head, planning on revisiting the issue come next fall. Or maybe next week when we go to VBS and she will a need lunch then too.

Yes, definitely next week.

So after she left for school I started cleaning out my laundry room in anticipation of the arrival of my new refrigerator tomorrow morning!!! Cooking for 6 people without a second fridge has been frustrating at times. Maybe if I didn’t have so many bags of Lego my Eggo waffles I would have more room, but those kids have to eat. And they love those waffles.

So over the Memorial Day weekend, Texas offered a tax free discount on all energy saving appliances which use water. I went to Lowe’s with the intention of buying a new washer and dryer (our dryer inconveniently broke just before our Disney vacation) but left with not only a washer and dryer but also a dishwasher and new refrigerator.

Seriously, if the federal government really wants to stimulate the economy, they should just announce some tax free weekends. The stores offer up some additional incentives and I end up with some new stuff.

Or as Bill calls it, an appliance tsunami.

So, the old fridge is going in the laundry room which meant I had to make room for it. And that involved taking down two bookshelves, one of which was filled with recipe books. I only wish I had taken a picture of the shelf BEFORE I started removing the books.
The plan was to weed through the books. Figure out the ones I really needed vs. the ones I didn’t really need.

Let’s just say I had a hard time weeding.

My absolute favorite cookbook….or cook notebook if you will, was my Home Ec notebook circa 1980:

Mrs. Scales was my teacher and I loved that class. What’s not to love…they offered free food!?! I remember I did not do well in the sewing portion of the class which has not proven to be a problem in my life except that I have to take the Brownie/Girl Scout badges to the cleaners to have them put on my girls vest’s. Small price to pay for not having to use a needle and thread.

That yellow cooking notebook contains everything Mrs. Scales thought we needed to know about cooking and sewing. I only cared about the cooking part. Specifically, the recipes.

However it is a treasure trove of other information. Like this (which I’m sure was on the final exam):

What are the three ways salad improve meals?
1. stimulate the appetite
2. brighten up a meal
3. provide a contrast to other foods served

That, my friends, is news you can use.

I remember making so many of the recipes in the cookbook, not only in my class but for my family at home. I made pizzas by flattening out biscuits and adding sauce and toppings. I made donuts with biscuits, pigs in a blanket, chocolate chip cookies and haystacks.

Haystacks were one of my favorites.

Anyway…back to the cookbooks.

I think I read in the unofficial guide to being a newlywed that every house is supposed to have one of these:

(ok I didn’t really read that but I’m sure there is a book somewhere that says that.)

There were these “Savannah” cookbooks that Bill picked up for me on his various business trips so, of course I COULDN’T get rid of them. That would just be wrong.

I have cookbooks about Arkansas from my mom:

And cookbooks from my Mother-in-law about Minnesota:

And I even have a homemade cookbook for recipes I cut out of magazines and the newspaper:

And I found a Dillahunty (my maiden name) family recipe book which contained recipes for: fried corn meal mush, Hodge Podge Stew and Road Kill Chili con Carne. Seriously. It calls for 1 lb. of road kill. With all due respect to my ancestors, that is nasty. Totally nasty. My mom will probably say they were joking. I’m not so sure.

There was one called Crock Pot Cooking, 6 Ingredients or Less, Fix it and Forget it, Party Girl Cookbook, Desperation Entertaining, one that a roommate gave me, a few wedding presents, the list goes on.

Like I said…I had a terrible time weeding. In fact, the only ones I contemplated getting rid of are these:

Because, for starters, I never used them and I’m really not sure there is such a thing as “quick” cooking.

For me anyway.

I have now decided, based on all the dust collecting on these recipe books, that I like recipe books better than actually making the recipes.

All those recipe books and tonight I poured Ragu sauce over twist pasta noodles and I was hailed a hero by my family. Which is really funny because two of them don’t care for spaghetti. I buy it in the twist version and they think I’m some kind of Rachel Ray or something.

So this summer I’m going to try and dust those books off and try out a new recipe or twelve. Maybe I’ll even come up with a “best of summer” recipe collection. Do you have a family favorite? Send me your recipes and I’ll post them here for all of us to try.

And in honor of Mrs. Scales, here is the first recipe of the summer. It’s a little retro, but I’m thinking my kids might like it.


Melt 1/2 package of chocolate chips and 1/2 package butterscotch chips in a double boiler. Add 1 small can chow mein noodles. Stir well and drop from teaspon on wax paper. Chill.

I hope you’ll send me some of your own recipes. Electronically though.

Because my shelves are full!

Comments: #

Deanne - Jun 3, 2009

I have over 100 cookbooks so I feel your pain. I tried to weed - once - they ended up in a cabinet instead of on the shelf. Didn’t go far!

Enjoy that second fridge - I certainly do. And I wish we’d have a tax free weekend - there LOTS of stuff I could use.

Lisa Hill - Jun 5, 2009

Don’t toss the Quick Cooking cookbooks! I want them!! Quick Cooking magazine is one of my favorites, I had a subscription for years. My mags are getting worn and torn, and it’s a pain to stumble through monthly editions looking for the recipes I like. So it looks like a gold mine to me for them to be assembled in hard cover books! So if they need a home, let me know and I’ll pick them up!

Lara Starr - Aug 1, 2009

Oh I hope you kept the Party Girl Cookbook!

I co-wrote it 10 years ago, and finally I have a new one coming out - I hope you like it

-Lara “Party Girl” Starr