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……

Cheese Grits with Tomato Gravy (adapted from The Black Family Reunion Cookbook, 1991)

The Black Family Reunion Cookbook (1991) is a glorious cookbook compiled by the National Council of Negro Women.   The recipes honor NCNW’s founder, Mary McLeod Bethune, and commemorate the organization’s annual Black Family Reunion Celebration, which honors “the historic strengths and values of the Black Family.”  The recipes are peppered with stories of Ms…….

Orygun’s French Dressing (Oregon, 1974, adapted)

This simple salad dressing recipe comes from No Regrets, a cookbook compiled by the Junior League of Portland (Oregon) in 1974.   The recipe itself doesn’t particularly spark joy in me – I find it hard to get excited about salad dressing in general – but the title makes me smile.  No, it’s not a typo. ……

Sour Cherry Pie (adapted from The Black Family Reunion Cookbook, 1991)

The Black Family Reunion Cookbook (1991) is one of the books in my collection that I’ve read cover to cover but have never done much cooking from.  It’s not that the recipes aren’t intriguing or delicious, it’s that the stories that accompany them are compelling and essential reading.    The titular “Black Family Reunion” is an……

Ramen Salad (Indiana, 2009, adapted)

Instant noodles fuel America.  In 2019, Americans consumed around four and a half billion servings of instant noodles, which works out to about one serving per person per month.  This number is probably appreciably higher among college students and parents of small children.  But ramen is more than just a cheap meal.  Nissin’s Top Ramen……

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……

Potato Chip Cookies (Ohio, 1995, adapted)

Potato Chip Cookies are exactly what they sound like: a simple sugar cookie “seasoned” with a handful of crushed potato chips.  I have no personal nostalgia for these cookies; I first encountered them in a church cookbook from the mid-90s.  The recipe’s author was a homemaker from my grandmother’s generation, and this seems like a……

Sunshine Carrots (Tennessee, 1978, adapted)

Sunshine carrots is a simple, tasty glazed carrot recipe. I was originally drawn to this recipe by the cheery name – who doesn’t love sunshine? – but it also serves a practical purpose for the members of our family who don’t like cooked carrots.  Sunshine Carrots hides their funkiness with a sweet ginger orange glaze.