The Deliciously Dirty Pages

This is the second installment of a new feature on to showcase old, tried and true, family favorite recipes handed down through the generations. And where are they found? On the dirtiest, most stained pages of beloved old cookbooks.

These aren’t The White Pages. They aren’t the Yellow Pages. They are the Deliciously Dirty Pages, where good cooking and memories of great cooks are forever preserved.

This writer has a collection of old cookbooks, ranging in age from 40 to 70 years old, which were used by her mother. She kept the cookbooks and has beautiful memories of making those favored recipes, as well as spilling ingredients on the pages.

The theory is the dirtier the page, the better the recipe.

Each Wednesday, JustMelanieW will feature these culinary wonders, sure to still please because they have been made many times with great success – again, identified by being on the dirtiest pages of these archival hard copy treasures.

We would also love to share your family favorite recipes from your own Deliciously Dirty Pages. Just send them to And if you want to share pictures of the end product, or your family making it, or a picture of the dirty cookbook pages where the recipes were found – please send those my way as well!

Some of our greatest memories come from the kitchen . . . and those Deliciously Dirty Pages.

Today’s featured recipe: Delicious Cookies

This recipe was contributed by Mrs. Lyle (Betty) Mackel for the 1974 cookbook compiled for Pope John XXIII Central Catholic High School in Elgin, Nebraska. Many people associated with the Catholic parishes in Antelope County and the high school contributed their favorite recipes – hence the title of the cookbook – as part of this fundraiser. The best result is it became a treasured book in my mother’s collection and now mine.

The stained page 70 holds this special cookie recipe I remember well. It is clear how popular it was due to the brown stains and the fact my mother circled Mrs. Mackel’s name as well as wrote the word, “Terrific,” next to the title.

Back in those days, there was the daunting task of packing school lunches day after day, which we took carried in our lunch boxes decorated with images of the Brady Bunch, the Six Million Dollar Man and the Partridge Family. Mom always made sure we had cookies to go with our sandwiches every day. And if she didn’t have time to make them, she simply opened the Pope John cookbook to this page and told us kids to get it done because the directions are as simple as “mix all ingredients together as listed in order.”

And they are so good the cookie name is as simple as just “delicious.”

Make these today. They are especially fun now that the holidays are here.

Delicious Cookies

1 cup oleo or butter

1 cup salad oil

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

1 egg

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon soda

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 cup quick oatmeal

1 cup coconut

1 cup Rice Krispies

1 cup chocolate chips

3 ½ cups four

Mix all ingredients together as listed in order and drop on a greased cookie sheet. Bake in a 350-375-degree oven.


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