Pumpkin Crumble Cake (Oregon, 2006, adapted)

Pumpkin Crumble Cake represents one of my rare attempts at baking.  For a home cook I feel like I know my way around a kitchen.  But everyone’s got their blind spots, and mine is baking.  I don’t enjoy it and I’m not good at it, and despite a background in chemistry I’m especially bad at……

Mexi-Casserole (Nebraska, 1987, adapted)

Mexi-Casserole is a quick and dirty weeknight casserole with Mexican-American flavors and a flaky biscuit crust.  In many ways it fits the archetype of post-war convenience food:   ground meat, mixed canned goods, and a Bisquick topping.  If you can brown hamburger you can make Mexi-Casserole.  At the center of the dish is a packet of……

Salmon Pot Pie (Tennessee, 1996, adapted)

Salmon Pot Pie comes to us by way of a promotional cookbook offered by a Southern real estate company.  Since their founding in 1977 Crye-Leike has published more than two dozen cookbooks to give away to employees, friends, and clients.  This particular recipe comes from Volume XVI, titled Cherished Southern Recipes and published in 1996. ……

Apple Pudding Bread (Wisconsin, 1989, adapted)

Apple Pudding Bread is a spiced dessert bread recipe from Ascension Lutheran’s 1989 community cookbook.   The recipe’s author was a longtime member and mother of three.  She was an avid bridge player and teacher and her husband served in various lay leadership positions at the church.  In the recipe description she brags that Apple……

Grandma’s Cheesecake with Chocolate Sour Cream

I spend a lot of time reading cookbooks from communities and churches that I’ve never seen written by people that I never knew.  I’ll do some basic internet research to learn about the community and what it must have been like way back when, but it’s rarely possible to connect the dots completely.  Food can……

Crumb Soup (Wisconsin, 1962, adapted)

Crumb Soup is a light, porridge-like soup that seems like it belongs in a Depression-era journal. In modern parlance we might call this a “struggle meal”.   I found this recipe tucked away in the Vegetables and Soups section of Our Favorite Recipes, a 1962 cookbook compiled by Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church……

Airy Light Casserole Bread (Oklahoma, 1970s)

Airy Light Casserole Bread is a simple yeast bread that resembles focaccia, but with much less work.  The recipe comes to me by way of Adventures in Food, a community cookbook compiled by my parents’ Oklahoma congregation in the late 1970s.  I’ve never been particularly good with yeast breads, but was intrigued by the unusual……

Tomato Soup Cake (Oklahoma, 1970s)

This bizarre spice cake recipe has a minor cult following online, a trend that Campbell’s has embraced wholeheartedly.   Campbell’s takes credit for inventing the recipe in the late 1920s and making continuous tweaks and updates to “evolve the recipe with trends in the culinary world”.   I personally have no nostalgia for this cake.  Condensed soup……