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A good cracker goes with anything.


September 1980

The recipes I want to share with you have been piling up on me, so I’ll try hard to be brief and make room for them.

After experimenting for over a year on a whole wheat cracker, I’m ready at last to call this recipe the best as I can do.

My goal was to achieve a crisp cracker that was fairly simple to make; it had to be low in fat and sugar content, too.


Whole Wheat Crackers


¼ cup shortening

2 tablespoons sugar

3 ½ cups of whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon soda

1 cup milk


Put dry ingredients in mixing bowl. Stir to mix. Add milk and shortening. Mix with heavy duty mixer or by hand until dough has a smooth consistency. Add more flour if necessary.

Divide into two balls. Grease two cookie sheets that do not have sides. Place a ball of dough in middle of sheet and roll out until sheet is completely covered. Try to have an uniform thickness. Trim edges even with pan.

Score with knife into squares or triangles cutting completely through dough. Prick each cracker deeply with a fork several times. Repeat with other ball.

Bake at 400° F until light brown and all softness is gone. It is usually necessary to remove those crackers on te outer edge first and then continue to bake the rest. It takes around 20 minutes.

Remove crackers and cool. Store in cookie jar. Before the crackers are baked, they may be sprinkled with plain, garlic, or seasoning salt or any kind of seed if desired.



Easy Tomato Catsup


16 pounds tomatoes

3 large onions

1 pint vinegar

4 cups sugar

3 tablespoons salt

½ ounce of your favorite spice


Cook tomatoes and onions until soft. Put through sieve. Drain in jelly bag. Throw away juice. Remove pulp. Add rest of ingredients to tomato pulp. Bring to boil and cook ten minutes. Put in jars and seal.



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Cooking on the fire

It’s that time again. Time to take out the grill and enjoy the nice weather.

May 1981

Whenever the gusty Kansas wind subsides to a gentle breeze it is a good time to plan a family cookout. As a change from hot dogs and hamburgers, try wrapping the food in foil and cooking it over the fire. When the meal is done, just open the package and eat directly out of the foil. No dishes to wash.

Heavy duty foil is best for outdoor cooking. Cut foil to allow for a five inch overlap on each side of food. Place food in center. Bring opposite sides together at the top of the food and press down in several small consecutive folds. Flatten the two remaining sides of foil and roll in small folds toward the food. This I call the drugstore wrap. This wrap will seal in juices and will work well when cooking on a grill over coals.

Be careful to always have some food with a high moisture content on the top and bottom of the foil package. For instance, place onions, potatoes and carrots on both sides of a hamburger pattie.

If you want to cook directly on coals, wrap food in drugstore wrap. Then wrap again in foil and set package directly on coals.

Another method to cook directly on coals is to place food on foil, wrap foil with drugstore wrap before wrapping the package in layers of wet newspapers. This is good for fish and other short term cooking. Remove before paper catches on fire. Packages should be turned over at least once during cooking by any of these methods.

New- Idea Hamburgers
2 pound hamburger ¼ pound sliced cheese
2 large onions Salt and pepper
Season meat. Make 12 large, thin patties. Use 11×18” heavy duty foil (6). On each piece of foil put one slice onion and one beef pattie. In center place cheese. Put on another pattie.

Pinch edges of patties together. Put on another slice of onion. Seal, using drugstore wrap.

Cook on grill 15 minutes per side or insulate and cook on coals 12 minutes per side or until meat is done.

French Fries in Foil
4 medium potatoes 3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt Pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chopped parsley ½ cup sour cream
Cut potatoes in narrow strips. Cut 18” length of heavy-duty foil. Place potatoes in the center of the foil. Dot with the butter. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Wrap, using drugstore wrap. Place on wire grill 2 or 3 inches above hot coals or insulate package and cook directly on coals for 20 minutes on each side.

Open foil. Cover with the sour cream, sprinkle with parsley and serve hot.

Serves 4.
Kraut Hot Dog Dinner
1 16 oz. can sauerkraut ½ lb. Swiss or cheddar cheese
8 hot dogs
Cut four pieces of heavy-duty foil, each 12×18 inches. Divide kraut into four portions on the foil. Split hot dogs and place strips of cheese between the halves. Put two hot dogs on each foil. Seal foil, using drugstore wrap.

Cook on a wire rack two inches above the coals or insulate and lay on coals. Cook ten minutes on each side.

Serves four.


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Nutritional Value for your Dollar

Many of my Grandmother’s articles were seasonal so I will begin with her April column from 1979 from the Co-op news. Though the prices have changed the advice on what foods to buy and prepare for dinner still stands. My grandmother was a very frugal person and liked to get the most nutritional value she could get for her dollar. The recipes at the end feature recipes that can be made in the microwave. She refers to the March column of that year, which I do not have a copy of.

April 1979

A reader asked me where I got the figure I used last month to say that $2.00 a day is enough to provide a wholesome diet at current prices. Well, that is the food allowance at the transitional living house I manage in Newton, and we have to buy everything that is eaten. Dr. Jean Mayer, professor of nutrition, at Harvard University believes that “The healthier you eat the less it costs you.”

The key is to buy products which haven’t been completely revamped in appearance between the farmer and the consumer. That is where the price builds up and up.

Study the ads in the newspaper and plan menus around the specials, pork chops, salmon, chuck roast, hamburger or whatever. Recently, grapefruit, flour, potatoes, pork and canned vegetables have been good buys.

Instead of potato chips buy fresh potatoes. Chips are approximately $1.60 a pound, and potatoes sell for 9 to 15 cents a pound. Popcorn makes an excellent snack food, and is an economical buy at our Co-op.

Buy fresh milk or orange juice in preference to soft drinks and powdered artificially colored aids. Even most canned fruit juice is 80% water and 20% juice. At the present time frozen juice concentrate is the cheapest source of an honest-to-goodness fruit drink for your family.

Substitute cheese or bread sticks (homemade if possible) for deep fat fried snacks, rich salty crackers, cookies, cake and candy.

Ice cream, oranges, apples or a seasonal fruit make good desserts instead of rich, elaborate concoctions or sweetened canned fruit.

Avoid most convenience foods. Their desirability has been vastly overrated. They are less nutritious and more expensive. Most of them don’t save much time or work either. When you buy convenience food you are paying the manufacturer to provide you with a built-in cook or maid. Ask yourself “Can I really afford servants?” If that is what American women want that is their privilege, but they should not then put all the blame for the high cost of food on the middleman and farmer when they are asking for services that escalate the cost. Everyone who refines and handles food has a right to a living wage.

Bypass all commercial helpers and extenders. Make your own soups. Canned soups from the store are mostly thickened starchy water with a couple thimblefuls of food thrown in and are a mighty poor buy for anyone’s dollar. Shop the produce counter and know what vegetables are in the soup you feed your family.

I like Julia Child’s advice for reducing food bills. “Learn to cook. You’ll be amazed what marvelous dishes the simplest things you can make if you know what you are doing.”

The demonstration at Sedgwick was a success and I’ve had requests for some recipes to use in it.

Microwave Oven Orange Chicken
2 ½ to 3 pound chicken, cut up ¼ cup chopped onion
¼ cup chopped green pepper 1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup catsup 2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons soy sauce 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
½ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon pepper
Place chicken pieces, skin side down and thick edges toward outside in 2 quart glass baking dish. Combine rest of ingredients, pour over chicken. Cover with plastic wrap. Microwave for 8 minutes per pound of poultry. Use high setting. Let set 5 minutes before serving.
South of the Border Special
1 pound lean hamburger 1 medium onion, diced
2 cups undrained canned tomatoes ½ cu sliced ripe olives
1 teaspoon chili powder 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon beef bouillon granules 1 teaspoon salt
4 ozs. Slightly crush corn or taco chips
Crumble ground beef in 2 quart casserole. Stir in onion. Tomatoes, olives, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, salt and beef bouillon granules.
Cook, covered, 10 minutes in microwave oven at high setting, stirring occasionally after 5 minutes. Stir half of chips into casserole and sprinkle remainder on top.Variation: Add a 16 ounce can of chili beans.

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Hi I’m Carolyn and I want to share with you the words of wisdom that my Grandmother shared with others. She wrote many food columns during her years. There is more information about that in the About section that I hope you check out. So to start this off I’m going share the introduction to her new column “Around the House” from the “Co-op News” as published in December 1978:

New News Feature

It has been pointed out to the management and staff at the Co-op that our monthly publication, Co-op News, was lacking articles of interest to the better half of the Co-op farm families. The wife of our member is a very important person to the cooperative. She is often the one who does the running for supplies, hauls the grain, pays the bills and quite often markets the farm production; so it is only logical that we incorporate information monthly of special interest to women as well as men.

We have commissioned Dolores Challender of rural Sedgwick to help us with this task; and we would like to encourage women from throughout our reading area to send Mrs. Challender ideas on homemaking or whatever would be of interest to our readers. We do not necessarily want to restrict this article to domestic functions, so have at it gals.

In order to build a rapport between Mrs. Challender and the reader, it seems only fitting to give a biographical sketch. Dolores was raised in Reno County, received her B.A. degree in Home Economics and has taught economics and history for several years. Presently, she is writing articles for three area newspapers and is employed as House Manager for Meadowlark Homestead, a rehabilitation agency in Newton, Kansas.

The Challender’s farm is north of Sedgwick, Kansas, where they have raised seven children who range in age from 20 to 32 years. Until 1976, their family milked dairy cows for 18 years and now is primarily involved in crop production. Willard has been a member of our cooperative ever since he began farming and his father, A. R. Challender was a charter member of the original Sedgwick Co-op Oil Company. Of course when all their kids were growing up, they were quite involved in 4-H Club work; the local clubs have made good use of Dolores’ talents by having her as a food leader for 18 years.

We are hopeful our readers will enjoy this new feature and will participate in its development. You may contact Dolores by mail.

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