Oklahoma, mid-1970s

Adventures in Food

This book is a hand-me-down from my mother – a collection of recipes from our local congregation in Oklahoma sometime in mid-1970s.  Adventures in Food was a fundraiser for the women’s organization, published by the Walter’s Publishing Company, then of Waseca, Minnesota.   Walter’s is still operating today, publishing yearbooks and church directories as a subsidiary of a large printing conglomerate, but in the mid-70s they were a small family operation “printing Cook Books [sic] for churches and other organizations at a cost that they can afford to pay.”

Adventures in Food is a plastic-coil bound softcover weighing in at nearly 200 pages and over five hundred recipes.  The recipe text appears to be hand-typed on an electric typewriter and manually formatted.  Recipes are divided into nine categories, from appetizers to the mildly unappetizing ‘miscellaneous’ but otherwise presented in no particular order.  There’s no story or context or commentary beyond the instructions and the name of the woman who submitted the recipe.

There are a few multi-colored introductory pages with the sensibilities of an old Farmer’s Almanac.  There are illustrations of different cuts of meat, a glossary of cooking terms and techniques, and random factoids such as the date of Easter Sunday (1972-1995) or appropriate gifts for certain wedding anniversaries.  There are a couple of jokes and poems included for filler, such as a spaghetti recipe with instructions to “stir it up and cook it until Perry Mason is over”, or the delightfully no-longer-appropriate poem:

Women’s faults are many,

Men have only two —

“Everything they say,

And everything they do!”

The Recipes

The recipe collection varies from weeknight meals to homemade breads to well over a hundred recipes for cakes and cookies.   As might be expected for the mid-70s, the salad section is heavy on composed salads and molded gelatin salads, and the main dish section is heavy on casseroles prepared with canned soups.  Outside of Americanized Italian food and a few bowdlerized Chow Mein recipes there’s not much in the way of ethic cuisine, nor is their any apparent regional emphasis.

Selected Recipes

California Cup

Chinese Cashew Casserole

Orange-Spiced Pot Roast

Scripture Cake

Tomato Soup Cake

Turkey Divan (Microwave)