Say ‘I love you’ with cookbook favorites

Published 9:23 am Thursday, February 7, 2019

By Stephanie Williams Dean

Bless Your Spoon


While perusing three levels of vintage goods at the Antique Mall on Main Street in Boone, my eyes were drawn to a single item tucked away in a corner of the dealer’s messy, cluttered booth.

Brushing off the dust from the soft covered, comb-bound book, I read the title: “The Clemmons Courier Cookbook.”

I have a soft spot for local and regional cookbooks, devoting a few shelves of a bookcase for such. These cookbooks often come in the form of church or club collections and contain many good recipes passed down through generations – they’re like culinary history books.

I was delighted to discover the local cookbook – I hadn’t heard of it. The book was a bit old and would most likely be filled with treasured dishes shared from some local cooks. I browsed through the sections, skimming recipes and ingredients and concluded the recipe book was worth every penny. So I paid for it, brought it home and researched how the cookbook came to be.

The collection of recipes featured those from the area’s best cooks through the years 1985-1992.  During those years, one of the most popular and widely read columns of the Courier was the “Cooking Page.” Each week, the paper highlighted one of the area’s best cooks preparing recipes at home and sharing tips on cooking.  The favorite recipe selections were collected from past issues and then compiled into a book.

Back in the early ’80s, the editor of The Clemmons Courier, Dwight Sparks, came up with the idea of printing a weekly column called “Good Cook of the Week.” The column featured recipes of some of the best cooks around from the areas of Clemmons, Lewisville, Bermuda Run, and Advance.

Describing their weekly jaunts, the then news editor, Ann Sheek explained: “The photographer, Chris Mackie, and I would line up the featured cook, and we’d go out and take pictures and get the recipes to make a full page feature every week.”

At the time, Kay Henderson, office manager and secretary at The Courier, was also a key player helping to identify the best cooks in the area. “Mostly, the people we convinced to participate had seen their friends in the paper, and then they were more apt to engage,” Kay said

Lynn Hall came on board as a reporter, and she and Ann took turns going out to interview the cooks. Or course, the list of folks to be interviewed was made up of people who enjoyed cooking and baking.  There must have been a fair amount of arm twisting going on.

“I don’t remember any volunteers,” laughed Ann. “It was a big responsibility for the cook to come up with their dishes and have all the food prepared to photograph.”

And someone had to taste the recipes, so Ann roped Chris into being the team’s taste tester.

“They always wanted us to sample the food. My Lord, I’d weigh 300 pounds if I’d sampled all that food.”

Ann, who put in about 35-40 years at the Courier, ran the column every week for almost seven years.

When Ann and Lynn came up with the idea of compiling a cookbook, they wanted to create one just to make a little extra spending money. So, the ladies put the book together and printed it themselves as a project.

“If you worked for the paper, that’s about all it was – some spending money,” chuckled Ann.

One significant challenge was the difficulty they had in choosing which recipes they wanted to use in the book, so it took a little time to put it together. There were so many delicious recipes and some that were similar, so the girls had to sort through all of them.

“Lynn and I talked about a cookbook to try to get the recipes in one place. We didn’t use them all but picked out the best ones of the bunch to put in the book. We gave credit to each person for all the recipes.”

The ladies believed the cookbook would be a good idea. As it turned out, they were right.   

Not surprisingly, they sold several hundred of the recipe books. They ordered 500 and sold them all. They had people who continued to call them after the books were all gone – many wanted to buy one, but they couldn’t get one.

But there was one thing the ladies didn’t count on. When the books finally came in, they were delivered on a truck, and the driver told them he didn’t unload.

“Lynn and I had to unload all the cookbooks,” said Ann, rolling her eyes at the memory. “But we were strong and tough. We could do whatever we had to do.”

Kay winced, “I can’t tell you how many boxes we had to unload. But, they were pretty heavy.”

And there’s always a day when best made plans don’t pan out the way they’re supposed to. In preparation for the weekly column, there was this one lady they had lined up. Ann and Chris went to her house, and she had prepared nothing – not a single dish. There was no food.  The only picture they could get was one of her.

Ann broke out in laughter, “We just had her stand at the stove stirring an empty pot. But, we got the recipes from her – at least one that was cooked in a pot.”

The girl’s best memories were the Greek ladies. Right before the ancient festival, Ann and Lynn would copy some of the recipes the ladies were preparing for the celebration.

Recalling her prior experience with publishing cookbooks, Ann shared, “I had put together a cookbook for a private school.”

So as it turned out, Ann already had some experience and knew the ropes of publishing. The ladies found a publisher and were then on their way. The editor, Dwight Sparks, made a significant contribution to the cookbook by letting them use the name of the newspaper.

They agreed the best parts about publishing the cookbook were the interesting folks they met and got to know along the way because the contributors were such a diverse group from all over the country. Many of the best cooks included people who had moved here from other locales.

“What about the pitfall of recipe publications- the dreadful omitted ingredient?” I asked Ann.

“There were some recipes we got calls on when the recipe didn’t turn out right; some ingredient was missing, there was a typing error, or something was left out.”

On occasion, an unexpected situation would arise, and the team would have to improvise and make do. They were on a tight schedule without much turn-around time.

Explaining how they often had to be quick on their feet, Ann admitted, “There might have been a few times that we featured elderly cooks who cooked from scratch, and there was no recipe. We’d get to their house and have to figure out what they put in it and then make up the recipe.”

Ann shared some good tips for readers who are interested in compiling a cookbook. She suggested your church as a starting point.

“Start with a church cookbook. They’re always a good seller. You can cut your teeth there. It would be easier to have a group setting – a large group from whom to obtain recipes. Start compiling recipes now and keep them filed.”

Ann shared one of her personal projects.

“My husband’s one of seven kids. For Christmas one year, I collected recipes from all the girls in the family and the grandmother and some from a great-grandmother. I had it printed up, and the family really appreciated it. A family cookbook is a nice project for the New Year and makes a wonderful gift for your family.”

Here are a few of my favorites from the Clemmons Courier Cookbook that when read, they “taste” delicious to me – savory meat entrees paired with flavorful side dishes. Give the gift of love through food this year for Valentine’s Day.


1 1/3 cup Minute Rice

1 cup orange juice

1 can chicken with rice soup

6 thin, boneless pork chops

Salt and pepper to taste

Place rice in 7 x 12-inch baking dish. Pour orange juice and soup over rice. In a skillet with small amount of oil, brown pork chops on both sides. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange pork chops over rice. Cover and bake in a 350-degree oven for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 minutes more. (Jettie Fix)


2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

½ tsp. salt

1 lb. pork tenderloin, cut in 1-inch cubes

1 Tbsp. oil

Green pepper, cut in thin strips

1 (15 oz.) can pineapple chunks with syrup

1 ½ cups water

2 Tbsp. sugar

1 Tbsp. cornstarch

1 Tbsp. vinegar

1 ½ cups Minute Rice

Mix flour and salt in a shallow dish. Coat pork cubes with flour mixture. In a skillet, brown pork well in hot oil over medium heat. Continue cooking 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add green pepper, pineapple, and water. Mix sugar, cornstarch, and vinegar in a small cup. Stir into pineapple and meat mixture. Cook and stir until mixture thickens and comes to a full boil. Stir in rice. Cover. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Buff with a fork. Makes 4 servings. (Kathy Falin)


2 lbs. fresh asparagus


½ cup sugar

½ cup cider vinegar

1 ½ Tbsp. lemon juice

1 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. seasoned pepper

Cut off tough ends of asparagus. Remove scales with a vegetable peeler. Cook asparagus, covered, in boiling water (enough to cover) 6-8 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and reserve ½ cup liquid. Place asparagus in a large shallow container and set aside. Combine reserved ½ cup asparagus liquid and remaining ingredients in a small saucepan. Stir well. Bring to boil, stirring constantly. Pour over asparagus. Cover and chill 8 hours. Yields 8 servings. (Phyllis Swanson)


4 lbs. loin of pork

1 cup Dr. Pepper

½ cup orange marmalade

¼ cup soy sauce

2 Tbsp. fresh ginger

Make slits in pork. Combine, Dr. Pepper, marmalade, soy sauce, and ginger. Place pork in a greased shallow pan, fat side up, and brush with mixture. Cook in a 325-degree oven for 2 hours. Brush several times with mixture during roasting. Remove from oven. Wait 20 minutes before carving. (Nancy Stone)


2 lbs. carrots, peeled and sliced thin

1 med. onion, chopped

24 pitted and cooked prunes

¼ cup margarine

½ cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp. salt

¼ tsp. cinnamon

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

1 cup orange juice

Cook carrots and onions until tender. Drain and put in baking dish, add prunes. In a pan, melt margarine, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir until smooth. Add orange juice. Pour over carrots and bake in a 350-degree oven until bubbly. (Erma Watkins)


3-4 lb. pork roast

¼ lb. bacon slices, cut in pieces

A few sprigs of fresh thyme

1 Tbsp. juniper berries, crushed

12 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced

Salt and pepper

Cut the roast into thick slices without cutting all the way through. Place it a roasting pan and place the bacon, juniper berries, and mushrooms between the slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place thyme sprigs on top and roast for about 2 hours in a 350-degree oven. (Eva Miller)


1 can crushed corn

1 can whole corn, drained

3 eggs, slightly beaten

3 Tbsp. sifted all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

Pepper to taste

4 Tbsp. sugar

5 Tbsp. melted salted butter

1 cup half and half (melt butter in milk)

Add corn to beaten eggs and add flour, salt, pepper, sugar, and scalded milk with melted butter. Mix well. Pour into greased dish. Bake in a 400-degree oven for 25 minutes. Turn heat down to 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until knife comes clean when inserted. (Evie Mowers)


2 lbs. veal round steak cutlet

1/3 cup grated Parmesan Cheese

1 cup flour

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

3 beaten eggs

2 cups tomato sauce

6 slices Mozzarella cheese

1/3 cup olive oil

Have veal cut into 6 pieces-1/2 inches thick. In one bowl, mix cheese and flour. In another bowl mix salt, pepper, and eggs. Heat oil in skillet. Dip cutlets in egg mixture and then dredge in flour mixture. In the skillet, brown on both sides on medium heat. Place cooked cutlets in 11 x 7 x 1½-  inch baking dish. Pour tomato sauce over cutlets. Top each cutlet with one slice of Mozzarella cheese. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes or until cheese melts and is lightly brown. Serves 6.


1/3 cup olive oil

1 chopped onion

3 chopped garlic cloves

3-4 (4-6 oz.) cans tomato juice

1 (18 oz.) can tomato paste

1 Tbsp. parsley flakes

½ tsp. basil

½ tsp. thyme

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp, pepper

1 ½ Tbsp. sugar

In large 12 quart pot, heat oil over medium heat. Saute onion and just before golden brown, add chopped garlic. Cook until golden brown. Add tomato juice. Stir in tomato paste so paste does not stick to the bottom of the pot. Add parsley, basil, thyme, salt, pepper, and sugar. Bring sauce to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Lower heat and simmer 3-4 hours occasionally stirring, so the sauce doesn’t stick. (Joe Roselli)


3 lbs. boneless chicken breasts, halved

1 bottle Russian dressing

1 small jar apricot jam

1 envelope dry Lipton Onion soup mix

Salt and pepper to taste

Place chicken in greased casserole dish. Mix all other ingredients and pour over chicken. Bake in a 300-degree oven for 2 hours. (Karol Raisig)


½ cup prepared herb dressing

¼ tsp. paprika

1/8 tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

6 slices lean cooked ham

6 slices Swiss cheese

2 Tbsp. fresh parsley

1/3 cup skim milk

Prepare herb dressing mix according to directions. Chop in a food processor until crumbs. Then, mix with paprika, salt, and pepper and set aside. Place each chicken breast between two sheets of waxed paper and flatten with a mallet to ¼ inch thickness. Place one slice ham and one slice cheese in center of each chicken piece. Sprinkle with parsley. Roll up lengthwise and secure with wooden picks. Dip each chicken breast in milk and roll in herb crumb mixture. Brown quickly in hot oil in frying pan. Place in lightly oiled baking dish 12 x 8 x 2 and bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Sprinkle with additional chopped parsley. (Beryl Moser)


1 cup long grain white enriched rice

1 stick margarine

1 can consommé soup

2-3 tsp Mrs. Dash Herb and Spice Seasoning

1 cup water

1 chicken bouillon cube

Combine rice, margarine, soup, and Mrs. Dash seasoning in a 1 ½ quart casserole dish. Heat water to boiling. Dissolve bouillon cube in water. Add to casserole. Bake approximately 1 hour or until done in a 350-degree oven. (Beverly Turner)


1 large head of uncooked broccoli

1 cup raisins

¾ cup onions

8 cooked, crumbled strips of bacon

1 cup Marzetti’s Coleslaw dressing

Cook broccoli. In a salad bowl, combine with onions, raisins, and bacon. Pour dressing over this, and refrigerate overnight. (Debbie Pullen)


3 lb. sirloin or round roast

Meat tenderizer

2 tsp. sesame seeds, browned

2 tsp. butter

1 large onion, diced

1 cup strong instant coffee

2 tsp. white vinegar

1 cup soy sauce .

2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Sprinkle both sides of meat with meat tenderizer, then place meat in roasting pan. Melt butter, browned sesame seeds, and add diced onion. Cook onion until tender. Add coffee, vinegar, soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Heat until warm. Pour mixture over roast. Cover with foil and place in the refrigerator overnight. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 1 ½ to 2 hours or until done. Best cooked on grill in pan. Save the juice and put it in small cups to dip the meat in when served. (Kenneth Shields)


12 unpeeled, small new potatoes, sliced

2 Tbsp. diced onion

½ cup melted butter

¼ cup lemon juice

1 tsp. caper juice

2 Tbsp. chopped capers

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

1 tsp salt

¼ tsp. pepper

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook potatoes with water, and bring to boil. Reduce heat and cook about 15 minutes or until tender. Drain potatoes. Arrange slices on a platter and keep warm. Saute onion in butter until tender. Reduce heat. Stir in lemon juice, caper juice, caper, and parsley, salt, and pepper. Cook just until mixture is heated. Pour sauce over potatoes. (Barbara Hamilton)


3 lbs. round steak

Crisco oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 pkg. fresh mushrooms

8 oz. sour cream

1 cup ketchup

2 tsp. oregano

3 bay leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

Egg noodles

Cut steak in strips and brown in Crisco. Add all other ingredients. Pour in 2 cups of water and let simmer for several hours on low heat. Serve over noodles. (Cathey Cann)


2 lbs. green beans, trimmed and halved crosswise

3 Tbsp. butter

½ cup toasted, skinned hazelnuts, coarsely chopped

6 large green onions (white part) minced

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Pour water into the steamer. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Add beans. Cover and steam until crisp-tender. Rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Melt butter in large skillet over medium-low heat. Add nuts and onions and cook until nuts are aromatic about 3 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and add beans. Stir until heated through. Sprinkle with lemon juice and add salt and pepper. Makes 8 servings. (Diane Gilliland)


2 ½ pounds lean ground beef

1 ½ cup packaged.stuffing mix

2 cups finely chopped apples

3 eggs

2 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. prepared mustard

2 Tbsp. horseradish

¾ cup ketchup

1 large onion, minced

¼ tsp pepper

Combine ingredients and pack into greased 9 x 15-inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes. (Patty Chidester)


8 oz. macaroni, cooked and drained

1 tall can of evaporated milk

1 ½ cup sweet milk

1 tsp. salt

2 cups shredded sharp cheese

1 cup med. Sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded

¼ cup melted margarine

2 eggs

Black pepper

Sharp cheddar for top


Mix all ingredients together and put in crock pot, which has been greased with 2 Tbsp. of margarine. Cut several thin slices of cheese on top. Sprinkle with paprika. Cook 3 hours and 15 minutes on low. (Jenali Davis)