Cookbook Keepers: Page 29

Cookbook buys seldom travel. Two fates await a cookbook.
It reposes on a collector's shelf, or it becomes part of an estate and handed down to next-of-kin.

Betz Farms son Nick Betz, left, and father Gerald tend their irrigated acres near Mount Sterling, Ohio.

Mother and Daughter, Carrie and Julie...

Carrie's favorite may be hard to find:
Mother and Daughter Cookbook
Wabash Nazarene Church
C-S Printing, Wabash, IN Published 1979

Why is this very privately published (*) cookbook so loved by farm wife Carrie Betz? "Because they (recipes) are all tried and true..."

There are no valid counts when it relates to vanity fund-raising cookbooks published by churches. But, such have been in collections since hand-set type was invented. In this case the Betz-owned copy is slightly frayed. Some of the spiral-bound pages are pulled away and reinserted between well-read pages.

Keeper Carrie's cookbook stash started in a familiar way. Her mother, Mevelyn Neff, passed on this appropriately-named cookbook...Mother Neff to daughter Carrie. It will be passed to grand daughter Julie who at this writing is about kitchen table tall. There is no index. That may be one of the appeals. There are sectioned pages dividing meat from pastry, cakes and frosting from jams. Just for fun reading, an indicator for the times before we had so many eateries offering Asian cookery, there is a recipe for chop suey. Assume it must be with Indiana ingredients.

But when asked for her favorite recipe she quickly flipped to Wiggles in the "Meats, Chicken & Casseroles" section. Carrie's mother had written "try" next to the noodles notation. Now, pause a bit. Those church folk published their version of Johnny Marzetti, that dish of baked pasta (so notes Wikipedia), ground beef, tomato sauce and cheese. Wiggles, however, now ranks among the thousand-plus of variations for Johnny. Wiggles calls for hamburger, noodles, a can of mushroom soup, oleo not butter, a can of peas, grated cheese, a can of tomato soup milk, chopped onion, and cracker crumbs. Carrie Betz is a bit more up to date: butter not oleo, fresh garden peas and tomatoes from her acres out back.

(*) There are 116 unnumbered pages with 138 recipes printed on both sides. Each is credited to what appears to be a member of this church 30-plus years ago.

Carrie's second fave is closer to home:
Cookin' for the Lord
A Collection of Recipes by First Church
of the Nazarene, Mount Sterling, Ohio c 1997

The pages are numbered on this edition. The Wiggles version of Johnny Marzetti appears on page 53, submitted by Mev Neff, Carrie's mother. Chop suey is missing from this issue. However, there is one recipe with an intriguing name: How to Make Ants on a Log, page 152.

Frequently on her cooking counter top:
Seasoned With Love
Country Favorites from Madison Mills School
Miami Trace School District, Ohio Published 1992

Indexed and with pages numbered, this one fills shelf space. No chop suey. But the dirt cake, page 67, sounds interesting using Oreo cookies and cream cheese. Julia Child would pass on this one. The recipe calls for margarine, not butter. For school age readers, Clogg Nogg, egg nog and party punch would be approved by any school board...all are non-alky preps.

Sum total for Carrie's faves: Great reading for those who never cook...but just read cookbooks. Step back a generation.

Once a hog farm of 400 acres in 1971 when pork prices were high, now down to 40 profitable Ohio vegetable acres...

When Gerald Betz wanted to raise his family with sons Nick and Jim, he bought more than 400 fertile acres in lush Madison County, Ohio. By the 1980s he had as many as 60 sows and hundreds of hogs for market, all fattened with a feed that included field vegetables. Today, the hogs are gone. Those vegetables, sweet corn, tomatoes, cantaloupes, melons, green beans, zucchini, yellow squash and cucumbers fill almost 40 acres of tended rows.

Gerald's sons, Nick and Jim gather ripe in early mornings, sell from a pickup truck bed by noon times. There are no hogs on the farm, but two dozen or more productive hens keep fresh egg baskets loaded.

To continue Betz family folk plan to stay on the land, Nick's wife, Carrie has plans for a herb garden. As for her title in this farm family structure, she calls herself "just a picker."

Picked at daylight, marketed at noon...

Farmers all, left to right: Jim Betz, his son Luke, Julie, daughter of Nick and Carrie Ann Betz, right, with their Betz Farms truck market in season...

Decades ago the oval basket used for toting burley tobacco stalks now is used by Julie Betz when she counts out fresh corn for market customers...

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