The Deliciously Dirty Pages — Strange concoctions from the past

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: Odd concoctions from the past

In the old Nebraska 4-H Cookbook, there is a section dedicated to what we would consider odd concoctions — recipes which result in things we just wouldn’t probably think of in today’s world. But I remember grandmas using these recipes to provide interesting products for their families.

Now, full disclosure — the results might not be for everyone. But they are certainly worth giving it a try, because they are so interesting.

And from the visual usage of the pages in this old book, they were obviously used repeatedly with probably varying responses.


Nebraska’s Home Prepared Breakfast Cereal by Mrs. Harold Stake

It is noted in the recipe how “During the Depression years, in the 1930s, many families used home growth wheat for breakfast cereal.”

1 1/2 cups graham flour

1 1/4 cups home-ground wheat

1 teaspoon soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/4 cups fresh buttermilk

1/3 cup molasses

Mix dry ingredients, then add molasses and buttermilk. Spread the batter on flat pans and bake slowly. When thoroughly baked, cool, grind and dry in oven. Serve with cream.


Pickled Prunes by Mrs. Don Bierman

1 2-pound package of prunes

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

2 cups vinegar

2 cups prune liquid

1 tablespoon mixed spices

Make syrup of brown sugar, vinegar and prune liquid. Simmer 2 minutes, add to prunes. Refrigerate for several weeks before serving. Tie spices in bag.


Corn Cob Jelly by Mrs. Edward Howe

12 to 14 large corncobs

3 pints of water

1 package pectin

2 cups of sugar

2 or 3 drops of red food coloring

Wash cobs. Put in large container. Boil 30 minutes. Strain off 3 cups of juice. Add pectin. Bring mixture to a boil. Add sugar. Boil 1 minute. Skim, cool, pour into jelly glasses.


Chocolate Fondue by Georgia Skinker

3 squares unsweetened chocolate

1/2 cup light cream

3/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons butter

3/4 teaspoon vanilla

Dash of salt

Combine chocolate and cream in saucepan, stirring constantly over low heat until smooth. Add sugar, butter and dash of salt. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, three to five minutes longer or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Keep warm in a small fondue pot. Serve by dipping one piece of fruit (dried apricots, apple slices, bananas, strawberries) into sauce.

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