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-school salads

This time of year, it seems like all the cooking shows are showcasing salads because we are supposed to suddenly start eating healthier (I suppose to undo all the December damage).

But let’s be honest, the best salads aren’t necessarily healthy – especially the wonderful old-school kinds.

Growing up, I remember being so excited to go to Ridder family events because that meant my mom and her sisters and sisters-in-law and Grandma Irene would be making some of their famous salads. No Ridder family gathering could take place unless there was at least one salad and one dessert from each lady. And none of them disappointed.

I also remember wonderful salads gracing the big tables at school and church potlucks. The local ladies would put together the most interesting of ingredients, with the collaborations resulting in wonderful salads. Each was a journey in itself and the experience was intriguing while delicious.

I don’t think we have enough potlucks in today’s world – I’ll just put that out there.

So in the spirit of the salad time of year, I ventured into the old 1985 St. John’s cookbook to look for some favorites from the “old days.” These were the ones I remember most from those wonderful family and community events. And these are the ones we should really make more often, just saying:

Frog Eye Salad by Janice McLain

¾ cup Ancini di Pepe macaroni

2 egg yolks

½ cup sugar

1 rounded teaspoon of flour

1 cup pineapple juice

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup mandarin oranges

1 cup crushed pineapple

1 cup chunk pineapple

One 4 ½-ounce carton of Cool Whip

Cook macaroni as package directs. Rinse in cold water and set aside. Cook egg yolks, sugar, flour, pineapple juice and salt together until thick. Add macaroni and let stand overnight in refrigerator. Add drained fruit and Cool Whip and refrigerate.


Layer Lettuce Salad by Janette Kerkman

1 medium head of lettuce

1 cup diced celery

¼ cup diced peppers

¼ cup chopped onions

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

8 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped in bite-size pieces

4 hard-boiled eggs, diced

1 cup grated cheese

½ cup salad dressing (Miracle Whip)

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon mustard

Grated carrots

Cut lettuce in bite-sized pieces and layer it in a 9×12-inch pan (if you have a glass pan use that one so you can see the varying ingredients). Layer the next seven ingredients and top with a dressing made with the salad dressing, sugar and mustard. Add the grated carrots on top. For a change in taste, also use tomatoes and cucumbers.


Three Bean Salad by Mary Stenger

1 15-ounce can of yellow beans

1 15-ounce can of green beans

1 15-ounce can of red kidney beans

1 onion

2/3 cup sugar

2/3 cup vinegar

1/3 cup salad oil

Wash the red kidney beans a few times so the red juice is nice and clear. Put all the beans in a colander and rain very well. Cut the onion really fine and add the sugar, vinegar and salad oil and mix together. Pour over beans and let stand overnight before serving them. The longer they stand, the better.


Sauerkraut Salad by Ceceila Sands and Nora Hoffman

1 quart sauerkraut

2 carrots, cut fine

1 ½ cup sugar

½ corn oil

1 ½ cups celery, finely cut

1 cup onion, finely cut

1 large green pepper

1 jar red pimentos

Mix together and store in refrigerator for 24 hours.


Cottage cheese salad by Mrs. Leonard Kerkman

1 carton cottage cheese

1 can pineapple or fruit cocktail, drained

2 cups marshmallows

1 quart Real Whip (or Cool Whip)

Fold together. Other fruits may be used such as peaches or bananas. (Editor’s note, I remember it best with pineapple so don’t mess with it!)


French dressing by Mrs. Clarence Funk

1 can tomato soup

½ cup salad oil

½ cup sugar

½ cup vinegar

1 teaspoon dry mustard

½ teaspoon paprika

1 onion, minced (optional)

Mix together and store in refrigerator.



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