Long ago, I was 16 and a member of the youth group at my church. That year, we decided to raise money for a) the Kodiak Baptist Mission Project in Alaska and b) the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches. I have no memory of us making these decisions, no idea of how we would have heard of either of these groups in our sleepy little, caught in a 1950s time warp town. But somehow we did.
Our plan: get parishioners in the church to give us their recipes, make their recipes into a cookbook, and sell the cookbook back to the same people that donated the recipes. A million-dollar idea!
Sure to make our plan a hit? The section headings illustrated by — you guessed it — me!
I am at my mom’s for Easter and for Fox’s birthday, which is also today. This morning, my mother asked if I’d like to have the cookbook, since I made it and it might be a nice keepsake for me. Tonight, Fox and I flipped through the cookbook to see what amazing meals were popular back in 1979.
There was a somewhat shocking number of jello-based salads. Even a town hung up on the 50s shouldn’t have that many jello salads. There was the surprise of finding recipes for hummus and granola. There was a recipe for “Wassail,” which makes me think some of us were in a Dickensian time warp rather than a Happy Days one. A recipe for “Mystery Pudding,” which, since the ingredients are listed right at the top, isn’t much of a mystery at all. And there is a special collection of “Campfire Cooking” recipes that includes such amazing numbers as eggs cooked in orange shells over the coals (seriously) and Porcupine Meat Balls, which don’t contain porcupine meat or anything spiky, but which do include ground beef, grape jelly and ketchup … and which confuse the mess out of me. My favorite of the campfire recipes is the one for “Angels on Horseback,” which lists three simple ingredients: slices of cheese, slices of bacon and green sticks with a pointed end … you know, for holding your cheese and bacon over the fire, which is basically the whole of the cooking instruction. How, exactly do you cook slices of cheese on a stick? Really, how?
Best of all best-ness, however, is one of the last recipes in the book: Marriage Stew. Please remember that these recipes were all donated by the adults in my church. This one by a man named Will whom I don’t remember at all. Because it’s so amazing, I’m going to share the full recipe, exactly as it appears in the book:
Marriage Stew (2 full servings)
2 concerned persons 2 cups love
2 pinches understanding 2 teaspoons patience
2 cans trust 2 well rounded sex
plenty of honest friendship
First combine the two concerned persons with the two cups of love in an adequate, comfortable mixing area. Next blend in the understanding and patience and beat lightly with a spoon made of laughter until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. Now add the two cans of trust and pour mixture into the casserole of life and place over low heat to simmer. This is also the time to add tears, dreams, touching, remembering, or any other spices you feel will make your stew more exciting. As the mixture is simmering, saute the sex in tenderness and perhaps a little wine on special occasions. Add this to main casserole until desired strength is reached. While stew is cooking, you might want to sprinkle in a little singing, dancing, playing, or praying — you be the judge. Cook to taste; garnish with a kiss or two and serve with the honest friendship.
“2 well rounded sex”? Sauteed in wine? And why are tears the first “spice” to be added?
I don’t remember how much we sold the cookbooks for. I can’t imagine we sent a whole lot of money to Alaska or the Philippines.
And that’s it for another wonderful year of the Slice of Life Story Challenge!
Thank you Stacey and Ruth for bringing us all together every March.
Thank you to all the fabulous slicers, too! See you next year!
* The Super Supper March. Thank you, Dr. Seuss Song Book!