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 recipes: Cooking for kids

These past few days with so many of us being stuck at home, I started thinking about being a kid stranded in the house during snowstorms. We spent a lot of time cooking on those days and I remember going to the St. John’s cookbook from the 1980s where there is an entire section called Cooking For Kids.

In that section are very specific recipes strategically designed to appeal to kids as well as be easily made with the help of kids.

There is one very special recipe on Page 146 provided by my mother, Cheri Mueller, for something you don’t eat but rather play with. Intrigued? It’s her homemade play dough.

Yes, you can buy play dough in the store, to provide hours of creative fun for little ones. But this recipe takes common things found in your kitchen which can be transformed into play dough. It costs very little and it can be made right in your house when you can’t get to the store.

Not only was it intriguing to watch her make it, it was so much fun for all of us to play with.

Here it is: Play Dough by Cheri Mueller

Combine 2 cups flour, 1 cup salt, ½ cup cornstarch, 1 tablespoon salad oil, 1 tablespoon powdered alum and 2 cups water in a saucepan. Stir constantly over low heat and let cool until it can be handled.

Place on foil or waxed paper and knead like bread until it is a very smooth consistency. If color is desired, food coloring can be added while mixing (the easier way) or added later after dividing dough. Store in airtight container. If it does get rather hard after a month or so, just add a tablespoon or so of water, let set and knead for a while. This lasts for months.


Also on those pages dedicated just for kids:


Popsicles by Connie Koenig

To 1 package of flavored gelatin, add 1 package of Kool-Aid, add 2 cups boiling water and flavoring if desired. Stir until dissolved. Add 2 cups cold water. Pour into popsicle molds or paper cups. Place in freezing compartment. When mushy, stick in sticks or spoons.


1-minute Cookies by Kathy Koenig

3 cups sugar

¾ cup cocoa

¾ cup milk

1 ½ sticks margarine

3 cups quick oatmeal

¾ cup peanut butter

¾ cup coconut

1 ½ teaspoon vanilla

Mix sugar, cocoa, milk and margarine. Boil 1 minute after mixture begins to boil. Mix in oatmeal, peanut butter, coconut and vanilla. Drop on wax paper by the teaspoonfuls. Let cool.


Cocoa Mix For Hot Chocolate by Theresa Parks

2 cups powdered milk

2 cups sugar

1/3 cup cocoa

¼ teaspoon salt

Mix together and store in a jar. To use, just add 1 to 2 tablespoons to warm milk. Add more or less according to taste.


And here is this one, just for fun, found on page 143.

Preserved Children

Take one large field, half a dozen children, two or three small dogs, a pinch of brook and some pebbles. Mix the children and dogs well together. Put them on the field, stirring constantly. Pour the brook over the pebbles. Sprinkle the field with flowers. Spread over all a deep blue sky and bake in the sun. When brown, set away to cool in the bath tub.





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