Pumpkin Crumble Cake (Oregon, 2006, adapted)

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 yeast breads.  I can’t even make a decent pizza crust (although……

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 (adapted from Our Favorite Recipes, Wisconsin, 1962)

Crumb Soup is an austere little recipe tucked away in the Vegetables and Soups section of Our Favorite Recipes. In my comings and goings I’ve encountered several variants of a peasant soup using day-old bread as the base, and from the title this was what I expected.  What I found instead was a very simple……

Airy Light Casserole Bread (Oklahoma, 1970s)

I’ve never been particularly good with yeast breads.  I know enough to know what I’m doing wrong (kiling the yeast) but still haven’t spent the time to figure out how to do it right.  So I appreciate idiot-proof bread recipes like Airy Light Casserole Bread from Adventures in Cooking. What makes this recipe unusual is……

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……