The Deliciously Dirty Pages — Strawberry season celebrated by 4-H moms

This is the latest installment of the 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.


This week’s featured recipes: 4-H recipes in strawberry season

Oh, strawberry season is nearly upon us. When I was growing up, my mother had massive strawberry beds which would burst with goodness. It was delightful for the first few days, as the strawberries would turn red and we could eat ourselves sick, right in the yard.

Then, it became a terrifying chore as we were commanded to gather up bucket after bucket – the snakes which sometimes lived among the leaves were what made it scary. But it was our mandatory, early summer chore which included picking, snipping off the tops and endless slicing. Mom would freeze hundreds of containers for use through the year. It was a messy, never-ending sticky job, but it created hours of being together and learning the art of complaining at the same time.

And of course, every night, we had some sort of strawberry extravaganza for dessert – sometimes it was as simple as strawberries with a little milk over the top. Sometimes it was as high-brow as strawberry shortcake.

I think everyone had a strawberry patch, so it’s no wonder the 4-H moms in 1980 submitted a bunch of wonderful strawberry recipes for the statewide 4-H Cookbook. I love this cookbook because so many special memories are held in those pages – memories of learning to cook in my mom’s tiny little kitchen in a trailer house in the middle of nowhere.

And of course, those strawberry pages are as dirty as can be because we spent a lot of time with them when the strawberries were everywhere and the possibilities were endless.


Strawberry Meringue Pie by Mrs. Donald Siffring

Meringue Shell:

3 egg whites

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat egg whites until stiff. Add sugar, gradually, and continue beating. Add vinegar and vanilla and mix well. Bake in a 9-inch pie tin for one hour in a 250-degree oven.


Drain juices from one package of strawberries. Fold berries into ½ pint whipped cream or prepared topping mix. Spread on top of cool meringue and cool in refrigerator overnight.


Mile-High Strawberry Pie by Joanna Schmelzer and Holly Jacobsen

1 package (10 ounce) frozen strawberries

2 egg whites

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

½ cup whipping cream

1 baked pie shell

Place defrosted strawberries, sugar, egg whites, lemon juice and salt in large bowl of electric mixer. Beat at medium speed for 15 minutes or until mixture is stiff and holds its shape. Whip the cream, add vanilla, and fold into strawberry mixture. Pile lightly into baked shell. Freeze several hours or overnight. Garnish with strawberries, if desired.


French Strawberry by Mrs. Robert West

1 quart strawberries

1 cup sugar

1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese

1 cup water

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 baked pie shell

Wash, drain, hull strawberries. Simmer 1 cup berries and 2.3 cup water about 1 minute. Blend sugar, cornstarch and ½ cup water. Add to the boiling mixture. Boil 1 minute. Cool. Spread cream cheese over the bottom of cooled pie shell. Save out ½ cup choice berries; put remaining 2 ½ cups berries in the baked pie shell. Cover with the cooked mixture and garnish with the ½ cup berries. Refrigerate until firm – about 2 hours. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.


Strawberry Pie by Mrs. Dale Eisenhauer

1 ½ quarts strawberries

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup whipped cream

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

½ cup water

Hull, wash and drain berries. Crush enough to make one cup. Combine sugar and cornstarch. Add crushed berries and water. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until mixture boils for 2 minutes. Will be thickened. Remove from heat, stir in butter and cool. Place whole berries in pie shell. Pour cold mixture over berries. Chill for 2 hours. Mix whipped cream and sugar and top before serving.







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