Wednesday, January 20, 2016

I have a niche obsession with old-timey church-lady recipe collections

One of the things that sucks about the slow deaths of the various social clubs, societies, and organizations that used to be so prevalent in our society is the lack of recipe collections being published…
I have a small collection of “cookbooks” from Upstate New York Junior Leagues, church groups, ladies auxiliaries, etc… I find something charming in their yellowing pages and plastic binding combs. I stalk eBay, I dig through bargain book bins, I prowl local garage sales for these relics of the past. I am convinced there is lost wisdom hidden in the pages. The lore of our grandmothers.
Aside from all of that, some of the recipes make me laugh out loud… The picture below is of a doozy from one of the prized items in my collection. This is “Favorite Recipes” published in the ’70s (I think) by the fine ladies of the church up the road from my house, St. Thomas the Apostle in Delmar, NY.
“Orange Gelatin Powder,” eh? That means orange Jello… This is a recipe for baked chicken covered in orange Jello and pineapple juice…
One day I am going to have a party where I recreate all of these recipes that sound so ridiculous on paper. I would wager that for every one that is actually horrific, there is another one that works. You never know.
In any event, we should bring back clubs and societies. We should have meetings and publish cookbooks. We should dip into the cooking sherry and get a bit crazy over some crudités…

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