The deliciously dirty pages

This is the latest 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 is featuring 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 recipes: Old-fashioned comfort found in yes, meatloaf

One of the greatest old-fashioned comfort foods is meatloaf. I know, some people roll their eyes and say they don’t like it. But what’s not to love? And what better smell in the house can there be than when a pan of meatloaf is in the oven with scalloped potatoes bubbling away next to them.

On Page 241, of the 1985 St. John’s Cookbook, there are two meatloaf recipes provided by two women who were actually sisters. One was my Grandma Onie, also known as Mrs. Leona Mueller, and the other was from Mrs. John Kaster.

The two sisters lived within a mile or so of each other as married women, raising their families and making common sense food with cheap ingredients, which they likely learned how to do during The Depression. They knew how to take simple ingredients and transform them into different dishes, which was both economical and tasty. 

And both had their meatloaf recipes featured in this beloved cookbook from the rural Clearwater community.

Now, Grandma Onie’s was a ham loaf while Mrs. Kaster’s was a traditional meatloaf made with ground beef. Both meatloaves were famous within their households, famous enough for them to submit them for this beautifully dirty cookbook created 40 years ago.

And it should be noted that sometimes Onie’s culinary creations weren’t necessarily the best — but if memory serves correctly, her ham loaf was exceptional.

Give it a try – make meatloaf for dinner.


Ham Loaf by Mrs. Leona Mueller

1 cup cooked ham, chopped

½ cup soft bread crumbs

1 egg

1 tsp. parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon ketchup (or catsup as was written back in the day)

1 tablespoon melted butter

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon paprika

2/3 cup hot milk

Combined ingredients and mix well. Put in loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

(Note: Grandma Onie always served this with plain boiled potatoes with butter melted over them. But I’d still go with the scalloped).


Ann Landers’ Meatloaf by Mrs. John Kaster

2 pounds ground round

2 eggs

1 ½ cup bread crumbs

¾ cup catsup

1 teaspoon Ac’cent

½ cup warm water

1 package onion soup mix

Mix thoroughly. Put into loaf pan. Cover with 2-4 strips of bacon if you like the flavor. Pour over all one 8-ounce can tomato sauce. Bake one hour at 350 degrees. Serves 6.

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