Friday, October 26, 2012

Food Friday: Idiot Salad

The Beta Sigma Phi's have several different types of cookbooks. This one, The Beta Sigma Phi International Cookbook. Salads including Appetizers includes 2000 recipes.

The Beta Sigma Phi website explains about their history and about their founding by Walter W. Ross, "In 1931, during the Great Depression, there was a need for an organization that could bring women together and expose them to a social, cultural and educational climate that was not available in those difficult times."

Beta Sigma Phi's President Walter W. Ross III in 1970, the copyright date for this cookbook, introduces the cookbook, provides a short history, and remarks that this particular cookbook is printed in "three regional editions to give you an excellent representation of recipes from your area, as well as recipes from chapters throughout the international membership."

Beta Sigma Phi cookbooks feature the names of members along with the name of the chapter they belonged to and their city and state.

I have to say this cookbook has the greatest titles for recipes. Such as these recipes for Devil's Delight and Devil Dip.

But even better has to be this recipe for Idiot Salad.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Food Friday: What's Cookin'? Cheese and Fish Salad

Today's recipe comes from a California cookbook that really isn't a community cookbook but it does contain great information about the women whose recipes are spotlighted.

What's Cookin' by Ruth Gordon is "a collection of Menus (sic) and recipes that have appeared in the Santa Ynez Valley News, Solvang, California. All these recipes are original or old favorites of the hostesses that they have used for years..."

There is no date for this cookbook but my guess is it's from the mid 20th century. That's my guess since the recipe I'm spotlighting is a combination of gelatin, fish, cheese and mayo. Interesting gelatin recipes were popular around the 1950s.

What's Cookin' is digitized and available through Internet Archive.

Look at some of the great information included with these recipes. Stories, names of residences both in California and outside of the state accompany many of the recipes.

An Index is found at the back of the book but it appears that it doesn't include all the names featured in this cookbook.

And then last but certainly not least. I've always heard you shouldn't mix fish with cheese but obviously that was not always a cooking rule. I'm not against any food being accompanied with cheese, I'm a big fan of that dairy product. I'm just not sure about the whole seafood, cheese, gelatin and mayo combination.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Join Me for a Webinar This Thursday

You are invited to attend our FREE online UGA Virtual Chapter Meeting
Speaker – Gena Philibert-Ortega
Topic – The Secret Lives of Women: Research Female Ancestors Using the Sources They Left Behind
Thursday, October 18, 2012, 7:00 pm MDT @
Women ancestors can be difficult to trace--but not impossible. How do you research female ancestors and how is that research different than searching for male ancestors? Sources discussed go beyond sparse government papers, and into libraries, archives, manuscript collections, and female specific resources.
Gena Philibert-Ortega holds Master’s degrees in Interdisciplinary Studies and Religion. She is the author of hundreds of articles published in genealogy newsletters and magazines. Her writings can be found on her blogs, Gena’s Genealogy and Food.Family.Ephemera. Her newest book is From the Family Kitchen (F + W Media 2012). She is a board member for UGA and editor of UGA's Crossroads.
The UGA Virtual Chapter meets online on the third Thursday of each month except December. These meetings are free to the public. To attend the presentation, go to and, on the date and at the time of the meeting, click on the UGA logo. Enter the presentation as a guest. Archived copies of our monthly meetings are available to UGA members only. UGA Membership is only $35.00 per year. To join UGA, visit our website at Look down the blue panel and select the option to "Join UGA!" Follow the prompts.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Food Friday: Out of Vermont Kitchens

One of the great benefits of traveling is picking up community cookbooks to add to my collection. On a trip to Illinois I picked up the very large Out of Vermont Kitchens. Compiled by Trinity Mission of Trinity Church, Rutland, Vermont and the Women's Service League of St. Paul's Church Burlington, Vermont. 1939.

This cookbook is 400 pages and bound with a metal coil. While most cookbooks are compiled by one entity this one is the work of two different churches. One of the first pages explains this collaboration

"The Rr. Rev. John Henry Hopkins, D.D. who also served as rector of Trinity Church, Rutland, and St. Paul's Church, Burlington. Thus these two great parishes have had a special bond of union and friendship."

Sometimes people assume that community cookbooks all look the same. Nothing could be further from the truth with this example. Each recipe is penned in the author's hand. So instead of a typed book, this book features each individual woman's handwriting. I haven't seen other examples of this but I'm sure there must be.

I will say it reminded me of the arguments that today's children won't be able to read cursive because it's not taught in schools anymore. They would have a tough time reading this cookbook. Let' s just say not everyone's handwriting is legible.

I love it when a cookbook's owner makes notes about recipes. And this cookbook's previous owner doesn't disappoint  Notice in the recipe below she wrote "this we will skip." She also wrote that about a wild duck recipe. My guess is she wasn't a fan of the game meats. She wrote next to a dense full page Russian Bortsch recipe "too much effort."

Below is a recipe for War Cake, making use of what women would have had due to rationing. Note that this is  a recipe from World War I not World War II.

The end of the recipe provides its origin. It says "During the war this recipe was not given away- but sold for ten cents- benefit Red Cross." I found a posting by a blogger who made  this recipe and she writes about it here.