RISING SUN - In columns past, I’ve regaled you with tales that relate to the fact that I am not a cook. I love to eat, but cooking isn’t my favorite.
All that aside, I really love cookbooks. I love thumbing through them and trying to decide what I will whip up for my family next. I have several and most of them offer up some type of sentimental value. This is all despite the fact that I’ve never cooked a single damn recipe out of them. Hmmmm......
Among my collection that has been recently unearthed is the Fourth Printing of the Gays Mills Sesquicentennial Cookbook. Printed in December of 2009. And if memory serves, I purchased it off the counter at the Independent-Scout office on Main Street, for $15.
The cookbook committee at the time consisted of Sharon Chellevold, Chairperson, Kathy Tamling, Robin Eitsert, Lana Randall, Bea Sandborn and Ruth Kvigne. With the cover sketch by Shirley Northern, from Joyce Haggerty’s original painting.
The cookbook has been sitting on my desk for a couple of weeks now, staring back at me as I putz about working and tidying the never ending mess that is living with two little boys and their daddy. So today, when I was home alone and supposed to be working, I picked up and thumbed through the recipes.
The book offers a handy guide of quantities to serve 100 people, something I probably will actually put to use, post-COVID party time. Did you know 30 pounds of beets and only three pounds of cheese is recommended for serving 100 people? It might be just me, but I would have expected it to be the other way around.
The recipes cover just about everything you’d need, especially if you were going to a party. I certainly get the feeling that this cookbook and its contributors were cooking for big family picnics, church gatherings or some other type of event versus a regular family dinner.
It is also fun for me to page through and see the names of folks that I know or just know of from around the village.
Like former Crawford County Independent Office Manager Bonnie Olson, who shared the recipe for her beloved Hummingbird Cake. Or Lynne Teach’s Oatmeal Chew Bar.
There are of course also Centennial Recipes featured like Rhubarb and Berry Jam, from Mrs. J.O. Fisher and Marshmallow Dessert from Mrs. Charles Moon.
And what good is a Wisconsin Cookbook without two recipes for Brandy Slush? Courtesy of Darlene Fortney Collins and Jennifer Schlegel.
It appears that at one point, perhaps over a decade ago when I bought the book, I had intended to make a few recipes myself. I have put stars next to Lana Randall’s Wine Slush recipe, which I must say still looks like quite the good drink for a hot summer day (rose wine, fruit punch, orange juice, lemons, sugar, and 7-Up? Yum.)
Now in my older days though, the ones that have caught my eye are the fancy breads. Especially Miss Cecelia Welche’s Potato Rolls which is also a centennial recipe. I’m terrible at baking, even more so than cooking, but it looks like a fairly easy recipe to follow.
In the meantime though, one recipe I actually do have plans of creating came from fellow Independent-Scout columnist John Gibbs.
Serendipity Potato Salad:
Red and yellow onions (chopped)
One tsp garlic (chopped)
One T. Balsamic vinegar
One T. white vinegar
Chopped green olives
Chopped Ripe olives
One to two sweet potatoes
Six medium red potatoes
Chopped Bread and Butter pickles.
One T. olive oil
Chopped mild pepper chunks
Chopped Green Chillies
and the secret ingredient, One pint of Mickelson’s Deli Potato Salad.
Cook potatoes beforehand and let them cool. Boil the red potatoes, microwave the sweet potatoes. Combine chopped onion, garlic, chopped pickles, mild pepper chunks, chopped green chilies, Italian seasoning, olives. Add mustard, olive oil, vinegars and mix together. Peel, cube and add red and sweet potatoes to the mixture and mix together. Add the deli potato salad and mix together thoroughly. Add the ingredients in quantities you’d like.“This recipe evolved because I love potato salad and eat it year round, but most store-bought potato salads have way too much dressing,” Gibbs notes. “This salad adds a few extras and spreads the dressing out over a lot more salad. Enjoy!”