250 Cookbooks: Recipes for Healthy Living

Cookbook #78: Recipes for Healthy Living, Miriam B. Loo, Current, Inc., Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1980.

Recipes for Healthy EatingPretty cover on this cookbook! I probably picked it up at a local book or gift store, since it was published in Colorado. I don’t think I have ever tried any of the recipes!

The book begins with several hints for healthy eating. Miriam Loo recommends using fructose instead of regular table sugar because it has fewer calories and tastes sweeter. Miriam likes tamari sauce instead of regular soy sauce because it has a stronger flavor. She also recommends triticale flour. This is a high protein, low gluten flour that was popular in the 80s. It is still available today from companies like Bob’s Red Mill, but I haven’t seen it called for in a bread/baking recipe in ages. And I read a lot of bread recipes!

Another of Miriam’s hints for healthy eating is safflower oil. According to Recipes for Healthy Eating, safflower oil “is the most polyunsaturated of the vegetable oils. Next in diminishing value are soybean, sunflower, corn, cottonseed, and sesame seed. The more polyunsaturated the oil, the better the cholesterol-lowering properties.” Safflower oil is still available, but it is no longer the darling of healthy eating enthusiasts, perhaps because canola oil has entered the food scene. Canola oil has less saturated fat than safflower oil, although canola (rapeseed) oil has had its own bad press. This Wikipedia article has a nice table of the saturated/polyunsaturated content of cooking oils.

I turn the pages of Recipes for Healthy Eating. Recipes for “Whole Breakfast Drink” and “Yogurt-Fruit Shake” resemble today’s smoothies. “Almond Crunch Cereal” is essentially granola. Recipes for “Crispy Oat Thins” and “Graham Crackers” look interesting, but even I am not ready to put in that amount of work just for crackers. Today’s supermarkets carry a good variety of whole grain, additive-free crackers.

Miriam’s hints for healthy eating continue throughout the book. She also has hints for saving money. “In mid-winter when milk prices soar, pull the zucchini milk from the freezer and laugh at the high prices as you substitute this milk in your baking.” Zucchini Milk! You take zucchini (from your garden, if you have one), pare them, then blend them and store in the freezer to use instead of milk in recipes. Talk about pinching pennies!

“Mock” cream cheese and sour cream dressings call for low-fat cottage cheese, buttermilk, and/or skim milk. A nice idea, but low-fat cream cheese and dressings are now available in the markets.

The recipes for lean-meat main dishes do not spark any enthusiasm on my part. In the vegetable section, mushrooms are touted as “calorie bargains in vegetables” because they only contain 64 calories per pound as opposed to one calorie apiece for sugar peas. Talk about pinching calories!

The quick breads and pie crust recipes are whole grain and low-fat. Nothing sparks my interest. “Zucchini-Lemon Pie”? Hmm.

I probably picked up this cookbook because I used to be obsessive about counting calories, and in the 80s, many low-fat and whole grain prepared foods (salad dressings, crackers, cereals) were not readily available in local markets. I am not that obsessive any more, I just get lots of exercise and keep (what I consider) healthy foods in the house.

I will recycle this cookbook, but I need to cook a recipe for this blog. On this particular day, I plan to make beer can grilled chicken and I need a side dish to go with it. So I choose to try “Hot Broccoli-New Potato Salad”.

Broccoli Potato SaladI don’t have new potatoes and it’s not worth the gas money to drive the 12 mile round trip to the nearest store, so I will use russets (and peel them). I don’t have safflower oil, so I’ll use canola. Dried basil? I have fresh basil in my newly-established garden! I didn’t keep the broccoli and potatoes really hot before serving, they were more like room temperature and it tasted fine that way. The following is my version of this recipe.

Broccoli and Potato Salad
serves about 6

  • 3-6 potatoes, any variety, I used about 1 1/2 pounds
  • broccoli, about 1 pound
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil, or fresh basil to taste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • hot pepper sauce, a few drops
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions

Scrub the potatoes, and peel them if you like. Cut them into bite-sized chunks and cook until just tender.

Cut the broccoli into bite-sized pieces and cook until just tender. You can boil or steam the broccoli – your preference. I just got a microwave steamer so I used that.

Combine the oils, vinegar, orange juice, garlic, salt, basil, parsley, and pepper sauce in a saucepan and heat until just boiling.

Combine the potatoes, broccoli, green onions, and the heated sauce and toss. Serve!

Here are my ingredients for the sauce.

ingredientsAnd here is the completed salad. At least part of it – I tossed in some steamed asparagus after I took this photo!

Broccoli Potato SaladThis was good, and I am likely to make it again. We all liked the flavor of the dressing/sauce. I’m not sure it’s really important to heat the sauce, next time I might mix it like a vinaigrette. And feel free to add any vegetables besides just the broccoli!

250 Cookbooks: Michael Chiarello’s Flavored Oils and Vinegars

Cookbook #58: Michael Chiarello’s Flavored Oils and Vinegars. Michael Chiarello, Chronicle Books, LLC, San Francisco, CA, 2006.

Michael Chiarellol's Flavored Oils and VinegarsMy daughter gave me this cookbook. As a gift, along with a pretty cruet that I use to store olive oil.

This is a wonderful, contemporary cookbook. And a bit different from run-of-the-mill tomes, as it teaches how flavored oils and vinegars can bring bright flavors to meals. I admit that when I first got this cookbook, I made a couple oils then put the book away. But that’s before I had time to play with new recipes, and before I learned more about herbs and spices in the cooking classes that I took.

Chiarello presents basic methods for making the oils and vinegars, and shows how to use them in recipes. The techniques are not difficult nor long and tedious. Today, this sounds like a fun project for this ex-chemist!

I’d like to try a lot of the recipes (besides just making the oils/vinegars). Here are a few: Grilled Halibut with Basil Orange Marinade, Grilled Steak with Garlic Smashed Potatoes, Pork Tenderloin with Molasses, Bacon, and Porcini Vinaigrette, Roasted Salmon with Green Beans and Citrus Vinaigrette, and Pickled Shrimp and Vegetable Salad. (Long titles!) Those are the recipes both of us might like; there are a lot of meatless dishes I’d like to try, like a recipe for white beans and pasta, pesto pizza, roasted polenta, and pumpkin ravioli. He includes an interesting recipe for pineapple upside down cake and a peach and boysenberry cobbler.

I choose to make Pasta with Tomato Vinaigrette and Spiedini of Prawns with Pancetta and Oregano Dressing. I’ll need both oregano and basil oils for those two recipes. For our salads, I’ll make a vinaigrette using a flavored vinegar – my own recipe, I’ll share it – and round out the meal with a loaf of my no-knead bread.

(I am not going to scan in or copy any of Chiarello’s recipes because of copyright issues. Michael Chiarello is an active chef, author, and entrepeneur. I’ll send you to his website instead, and let you know that I highly recommend this book and his methods of cooking.)

I check my pantry to make sure I have plenty of olive oil and good vinegar. At the grocery store, I look for fresh basil, oregano, and tarragon, as well as shrimp and pancetta. (My goal for this spring is to plant at least one herb and learn how to cultivate my own. I have a long history of loss-of-interest in gardens.) Pancetta is a type of Italian bacon. The only pancetta I’ve used before was thick and sold pre-packaged. At Whole Foods, I find pancetta at the deli counter. They slice it very thin, like prosciutto. It is rippled with meat and fat. I can hardly wait to try it.

I settle into my kitchen and turn on the music. Gathering my ingredients, I take each herb out of its packet and enjoy the aroma. How different fresh herbs are from dried!

Since I’ve cited my source, I think it’s fair to overview Chiarello’s techniques. Below are my interpretations of his instructions for herb-flavored oils and vinegars. (And a photo of my way of marking my place in his cookbook.)

bookmarksHerb oil: Chop up a half cup of an herb, then put it in a pan with a cup of olive oil. Heat the mixture until it starts to sizzle. It only takes a couple minutes. Then, strain (I used a chinois) and the oil is ready to use, or to store in the refrigerator.

My oil in the cruet and some oregano:

cruet and oreganoStraining the heated oil-herb mixture through a chinois:

straining through a chinoisIf you like your oils to be less murky, you can strain them through coffee filters. A regular strainer, and maybe cheesecloth, would also work.

Herb vinegar: Chop up a cup of an herb and put it in a cup of vinegar. Chiarello recommends champagne vinegar, because it has an acidity of 6% compared to 5% for plain white vinegar. Process the mixture in a blender or mini-processor, then strain. It’s fun to watch the freshly made herb vinegar slowly change in color as the pigments extracted from the herb oxidize.

If you just try these two simple procedures, you will have two great tools in your cooking arsenal. Chiarello expands to variations on methods and the use of many types of spices and peppers in his oils and vinegars. If you are intrigued, find a copy of one of his books, or check online.

Here are three oils that I made: oregano, basil, and annatto seed.

herb oilsThe annatto seed oil is a remnant of my last cooking blog entry. The day I made the Mexican seviche and tortilla ball soup meal, I tried grinding a few annatto seeds. Then I read the annatto seed package: It suggested heating the seeds in oil until they sizzled, then straining the oil. So I did it – and note the method is the same as Chiarello’s. The annatto seed oil is richly red, staining everything it touches. It smells earthy and tastes just a bit hot.

annatto seedsstraining annatto seed oilNow to use my oils in the recipes. Pasta with Tomato Vinaigrette is pretty simple. You mix together peeled, seeded, chopped fresh tomatoes, shallots, garlic, parsley, lemon juice, basil oil, and salt and let it rest at room temperature for about a half hour. While it rests, cook some pasta until al dente. Then mix it with freshly grated cheese (like Parmesan) and toss it with the vinaigrette.

The Spiedini of Prawns with Pancetta and Oregano Dressing takes a bit more time to prepare. The prawns are individually wrapped with a “slice” of pancetta threaded onto a wooden skewer. My pancetta was round in shape, and really gooey with fat. I just kind of worked some around the shrimps and threaded them snugged tightly on the skewers. The vinaigrette is prepared from garlic cooked in hot oil until quite brown and then sliced thinly, vinegar, oregano oil, green onions, and red peppers. Then, I grilled the shrimps about 5 minutes total and added them to the vinaigrette.

Here are the two vinaigrettes, some of the browned garlic cloves, the wrapped shrimp (before cooking), and the tarragon vinegar that I made for my salad dressing: oils and vinegars prepAnd here are the two finished dishes, the Pasta with Tomato Vinaigrette on the left, and the Spiedini of Prawns with Pancetta and Oregano Dressing on the right.

oils and vinegars mealAlong with bread and a salad, this meal was a hit, one of the best Saturday-night dinners that I have ever made. The flavors were bright, the shrimp cooked to perfection beneath the tasty pancetta.

Because I am not giving you the exact pasta and shrimp recipes (copyright issues), I will instead share my own recipe for a vinaigrette salad dressing. I learned the basic proportions and how to whisk the ingredients together to make the perfect emulsion in the “Sophisticated Sauces” cooking class that I took at the Escoffier School of Culinary Arts in Boulder.

Salad Dressing Vinaigrette PLF
makes enough dressing for 4-8 salads, depending on tastes

Here is how I make a vinaigrette for a salad. I experiment with different types of vinegars (rice wine, champagne, balsamic, red wine, homemade flavored vinegars) or citrus juice (lemon, lime, orange) and different types of oils (extra virgin olive, canola, walnut, grapeseed, homemade flavored oils). If you don’t like shallots or garlic, leave them out. What is important is the amounts of vinegar(s), mustard, and oil, and the constant whisking as you slowly add the oil. This recipe can be doubled.

  • 3 tablespoons of a mixture of vinegar and lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon mustard (Dijon or your choice)
  • 1 tablespoon very finely diced shallots (or onion)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • about a tablespoon of fresh herbs: thyme, basil, parsley, etc.
  • 9-12 tablespoons oil (olive oil or a mixture of olive oil and a lighter oil like canola oil)

I usually chop the shallots, garlic, and herbs together until they are not quite a paste. Put the vinegar/lemon juice, honey, mustard, and shallot-herb mixture in a large bowl (yes, a large bowl).

Have your oil measured out in a pourable measuring cup (9 tablespoons is a little over half a cup, 12 tablespoons is 3/4 cup).

Use a big wire whisk to whisk together the mixture in the big bowl. Keep whisking while you very slowly pour in the oil. Do this drop-by-drop at first! After you have added a couple tablespoons, you can add it in a thin stream. Keep whisking!

After you have added the 9 tablespoons of oil, taste the dressing by dipping a piece of lettuce or a raw vegetable into it. (This is better than tasting with a spoon.) If it is too tart, whisk in more oil. If it needs salt or another seasoning, add it now. If it is too oily, you can whisk in a little vinegar or lemon juice.

This vinaigrette will keep emulsified for 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator.

250 Cookbooks: Bon Appétit Best Entertaining Recipes

Cookbook #49: Bon Appétit Best Entertaining Recipes. Bon Appetit, The Condé Nast Publications, Inc., NY, NY, 2004.

Best Entertaining RecipesThis cookbook came my way because I subscribed to the Bon Appetit magazine for several years. It was probably a bonus book for renewing my subscription.

I’d like to throw this cookbook away. Why? Because the content is such a jumble of types of recipes. “Entertaining” encompasses everything from appetizers to desserts, and every cuisine imaginable. Here’s what the authors say in the introduction:

“This collection brings together some of Bon Appetit’s very best entertaining recipes, organized by course for easy mixing and matching to help you design one-of-a-kind menus and unforgettable parties.”

I’m not a big party or entertaining cook. Most frequently, I’m looking for a “dinner for two” menu. But this cookbook is still useful to me, because a lot of the recipes have a little flare to perk up a Saturday night meal. I still find ideas in this cookbook, so I’ll keep it.

Here is a list of recipes in this book that I might try. Pet Peeve Alert! These are many-word recipe titles, yes the descriptions are nice, but I think many-word-titles are pretentious.

  • Cherry Tomato Polenta Tartlets with Basil Mayonnaise
  • Roasted Beef Tenderloin Wrapped in Bacon
  • Mahogany Beef Stew with Red Wine and Hoisin Sauce
  • Proscuitto-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Mushroom Sauce
  • Julienne of Sesame Carrots and Celery Root
  • Summer Rice Salad with Feta, Citrus, and Mint
  • Spinach and Radicchio Salad with Mushrooms and Cashews

There are also a lot of desserts, but I’m pretty happy with my current dessert repertoire.

For this blog, I decide to try “Romaine Salad with Chipotle Dressing and Warm Queso Fresco”. I am looking for a tasty and color-contrasting side dish for a Mexican meal. My menu plan includes shredded-beef enchiladas (using my own homemade enchilada sauce) and cheater’s chile rellenos. This green salad with a Mexican flare fits the bill.

Here is the original recipe:

Romain SaladRomaine SaladI made a few changes in the original, and am shortening the name. Below is my version.

Romaine Salad with Warm Queso Fresco
serves 2, but easily multiplies

  • 2 ounces Mexican queso fresco cheese, cut into 4 wedges
  • 1/2 cup cornflakes, finely crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • olive oil for brushing the cheese
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (for the salad dressing)
  • 1 teaspoon bottled hot sauce (I used Cholula)
  • 1-2 teaspoons lime or lemon juice
  • dash of salt and sugar
  • romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces, enough for 2 people
  • optional: tomato and avocado slices

Mix the cornflakes and oregano and season with salt and pepper to taste. Brush each cheese wedge on all sides with olive oil, then roll each in the cornflake mixture, coating completely. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake at 400˚ for about 5 minutes. The cheese wedges should be hot and softened but not melted.

Meanwhile, whisk together the oil, hot sauce, lime juice, salt and sugar in a small bowl. Toss with the romaine and plate. When the cheese wedges are ready, put them on the romaine salad, along with avocado and tomato slices (if desired).

Note: you can coat the cheese wedges and make the salad dressing ahead of time and pop the cheese in the oven just before serving. This is great if you are entertaining.

My photo of the salad is below. Yes, the plate is half-empty! My hot enchiladas and chile rellenos were still in the oven.

Romaine Salad with Warm Queso FrescoI’ll make this little salad again. I like queso fresco, and it’s easy to find in most any supermarket these days. It was easy, and added just the flare that I wanted to my Mexican meal.

250 Cookbooks: Spices of the World Cookbook by McCormick

Cookbook #46: Spices of the World Cookbook by McCormick. Mary Collins, Home Economics Director of McCormick. Produced for McCormick by Penguin Books, first published 1969, my copy is reprinted 1972.

Spices of the World

The Spices of the World Cookbook was one of my favorites for years. My copy is old and tattered and many of the pages are falling out. But I only marked one recipe and there are few food stains on it, so I probably used it mostly as a reference or for ideas. Since it is produced by the spice company, McCormick, the recipes are all nicely seasoned. It’s an interesting cookbook to have around, but it is not a current favorite of mine.

The recipe I used a lot – and will use again – is the one for pickle relish. I so enjoyed making dill pickles a few weeks ago that I’d like to make relish too.

For this blog, I chose a recipe for Waldorf Salad. I remember these from childhood, but I’m not sure I have ever made one myself. I originally planned this to accompany focaccia sandwiches prepared in my Foreman’s grill. But the weather had another plan. It rained, and rained. Lyons, Colorado flooded, and we lost power, so no grill pan sandwiches.

In spite of our power outage and then the flooding and destruction of the roads to anywhere from where we live, I forged ahead with the Waldorf Salad. Luckily the batteries in my camera were charged, and the salad was a simple preparation requiring only a knife, no power equipment!

Here is the original recipe, scanned in from the book:

Waldorf Salad RecipeI made a half recipe and it lasted us for a couple days. It stored fine in the refrigerator.

Waldorf Salad
serves about 4

  • 1 1/2 cups diced apples
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lemon peel
  • 1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon ginger
  • dash of mace
  • dash of cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (I used low-fat mayonnaise)

Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.


This was good. What really made it spring to life was the cardamom. I did not have ground cardamom, but I did have cardamom seeds, so I grated a little of one seed into the salad. My mace was ancient; fresh mace would probably have made it even better.

I will definitely make this salad again. It’s a nice salad to accompany sandwiches, and is also a good treat at any time.

Waldorf Salad

250 Cookbooks: The Art of Salad Making

Cookbook #20: The Art of Salad Making. Carol Truax, Doubleday & Company, Garden City, NY, 1968.

The Art of Salad Making

This is a friendly and well-written book. The author does know her salads: dressings, green salads, pasta and potato salads, chicken and meat salads, molded salads, fruit salads, salads from around the world. I think I bought this cookbook so that I would have a good reference for home-made salad dressings. But I’ve had it for over 40 years and I’ve never made any of the recipes. That says something. Looking through this book today, not a single recipe pops out at me. I pretty much know the basic information that Carol Truax presents, and already have my own takes on most types of salads and dressings.

I think a salad cookbook needs to have lots of large and color photos. Green salads can be gorgeous! This book has a few line drawings but no photos. And looking past the printed page, contemporary, upscale restaurants offer fascinating green salads – I learn a lot when we go out to eat. These salads are way more imaginative than the ones this little book offers. It’s too outdated for my tastes, and no longer has much to teach me. I will recycle this book.

I do need to cook one recipe from The Art of Salad Making before I place it in the recycle pile. I plan to make shui mais and a stir-fry for our Saturday night dinner, so I search the index for an Oriental-style salad. Here’s one: “Chinese Asparagus Salad”. Quick and easy, but a little different from what I usually do. Green asparagus is just what I’m looking for to complete my Oriental meal.

I don’t remember ever having asparagus at a Chinese restaurant. I don’t think of it as “Chinese” vegetable. I was surprised when I looked up “asparagus” on Wikipedia and found that China is the world’s largest producer of asparagus, where it is known as lu sun. I learn something new every day.

Here’s the recipe:

Chinese Asparagus SaladChinese Asparagus Salad

This version serves 2 people.

  • 1 pound asparagus
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar

Cut the tips of the asparagus on the diagonal into 1 inch pieces. We don’t like the tough stalks of asparagus, so I only got 2 pieces per asparagus stalk. Bring some salted water to a boil and cook the asparagus 3 minutes.

cooking asparagusDrain the asparagus and rinse with cold water so that it stops cooking. Combine the soy sauce, oil, and sugar.

Chinese Asparagus Salad makingsMarinate the asparagus in the soy sauce mixture for at least an hour. Serve over greens.

Here is one of our pretty dinner plates:

Chinese mealThe asparagus is plated over shredded cabbage. Then, clockwise from the asparagus: fried rice; stir-fried beef tenderloin with shitakis, broccoli, and onions; shui mais. In the center is the dipping sauce for the shui mais. I should share my recipe for shui mai. Soon!

250 Cookbooks: Menu Melodies

Cookbook #19: Menu Melodies. All Souls Mothers Club, about 1959. Menu Melodies CookbookI decided to try one of the “community” cookbooks in my collection. Often, community groups ask each member to donate a recipe, then they compile them into a book and make copies to sell as a fundraiser. Eight community cookbooks made it into my collection.

Menu Melodies, All Souls Mothers Club fell into my hands. Literally. I reached into the shelf and gingerly put my hand on this old, spiral bound book. The cover is falling off. Maybe this is not the cookbook I want to deal with this week. But then … I carefully gathered it up and sat back on the bed. Where did this cookbook come from? The very first page is “The Kitchen Prayer“. On the inside cover is scrawled a “213” area code phone number and “$11.35” and “Mack”. Ah, this was my mother-in-law’s book. So I tucked a pillow behind my back and settled in to go through the 178 pages. Handwritten pages. Did my mother-in-law contribute a recipe to this cookbook? I turn the pages, one by one.

I’m not sure she would have contributed a recipe. My mother-in-law, who I called by her nickname, Puvy, claimed no passion for cooking. But miraculously, each time we sat down at her table, we enjoyed a wonderful home-cooked meal. Simple and good. I remember her humming as she cooked, pots of chicken and potatoes simmering. She could easily and recipe-less put together a great pie crust, while I still struggle rolling out a dough that will not fall apart.

She did not have a shelf of hundreds of cookbooks. She loved parties and dancing and people and talking – food was a second thought, necessary, but not the focus of a gathering. Puvy did not collect “things” like cookbooks, she gave things away. She was the most generous person I have ever met. If you liked a pan or book of hers, you might just be taking it home that night. That’s probably how I acquired Menu Melodies. She was not into acquiring possessions, she hated to shop, she was not materialistic. A breath of fresh air in this culture. Sigh. I wish I could still learn from her, but sadly, she passed away last July. But, her spirit and her genes live on: I see her good traits in my own daughter.

Aha!! Here it is, on page 148: “Green Goddess Salad Dressing” signed “Harriet Mack”. She did contribute a recipe! I recognize her handwriting.

I take the book to my husband: “Do you recognize this?” “What?” “This recipe, look at the name.” “Oh, hmm, yeah, that’s ma’s.” We are both sort of amazed that she contributed a recipe. I ask him about “All Souls”, and he said it was the name of the school that he went to from about 2nd to 5th grade. “You mean, the one near Alhambra, where we did the walk-to-school a couple years ago?” He replied “yes”. “Do you remember your mother ever making Green Goddess Dressing?” “No” he replied.

“All Souls” was (and is) a Catholic school run by St. Therese’s, in Alhambra, California. In 2011 we walked the route that he, guided by his older sisters, took from home to school and back, just to prove the round trip was as long as he has always claimed: at least three miles. He was just a little kid; his sisters a few years older. (Coincidentally, I grew up within 20 miles of Alhambra, in Sun Valley.) So we walked the route, me with my camera and he with his GPS. We arrived at St. Therese’s:

St. Therese's

Church of Saint Therese, Carmelite Fathers

All Souls school

All Souls, Catholic School at St. Therese’s

And how far is St. Therese’s from his home? 1.5 miles, so 3 miles round trip, just as he had always claimed. (And it crossed large and busy streets.) I was impressed: It was a long distance for three young children to walk each day.

John at All Souls

peeking into the past

Back to the present and Menu Melodies, produced by All Souls Mothers Club. I am not surprised Puvy was a member of this club; she was such a social person. The recipes reflect the era: the 1950s in Southern California. Most dishes are prepared from scratch, no one worries about butter and calories, lots of cookie and cake and pie recipes, molded salads, casseroles (dried-beef, rice and lamb, veal birds, enchiladas, liver a la king, creamed chicken), soups and more. Many of the recipes serve a lot of people, designed either for large families or luncheons and pot lucks.

Here is the recipe my mother-in-law contributed, and that I will make:

Green Goddess Salad DressingNote that there are two recipes on the page. The lower recipe is also in her handwriting, although “Martie Trudeau” signed it. I went back through the book and found several more recipes in Puvy’s handwriting, although each time, someone else signed them. Her distinctive “r” and the small circle she used to dot “i” tell the story. That’s her: she was both a hard worker and willing to help others.

Note the drawing of the turkey leg about mid-page in the above recipe. Throughout this handwritten book are cute little drawings. I scanned in several pages and will put them at the bottom of this blog post. Take some time to peruse them and marvel at the fun and community and work that went into this cookbook.

Green Goddess Salad Dressing

  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 6 fillets anchovies, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives (or use the tops of green onions)
  • 1 tablespoon tarragon vinegar (or use white wine vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper

Put ingredients in bottle and shake.

The dressing is delicious! My photos are below. First, the ingredients:

ingredients for the dressing

I didn’t have any tarragon vinegar. So, I got some fresh tarragon and put it in a jar and covered it with white wine vinegar and let it sit for a day. Then I couldn’t decide which photo perspective I liked better.

tarragon vinegartarragon vinegarHere is the finished dressing.

Green Goddess DressingGreen Goddess SaladsThis dressing was particularly good on a romaine-based salad with fresh croutons. I made the croutons by browning sourdough bread cubes in extra virgin olive oil infused with garlic.

Below are several more pages from Menu Melodies.


Tuna Pie! That certainly is a classic 50s casserole.MenuMel44 MenuMel43 MenuMel1 MenuMel90 MenuMel59

This one makes “a big cake”:

Menu Melodies

The lower recipe on the page just below has no title. Then at the end, the author writes: “This makes – you guessed it, Pineapple Upside Down Cake.”

Menu MelodiesJust as a postscript: I can’t find many spelling errors in this cookbook!