Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Food: Recipes, cookbook reviews, food notes, and restaurant reviews with a heavy emphasis on San Diego. Unless otherwise noted, I have personally tried each recipe that gets its own page, but not necessarily recipes listed as part of a cookbook review.

Mimsy Review: Our Favorite Hometown Recipes Vol. II

Reviewed by Jerry Stratton, January 4, 1998

Review of Our Favorite Hometown Recipes Vol. II, with a recipe for Cottage Cheese Casserole.

PublisherHometown Recipes
Year1994
Length102 pages
Book Rating6

This is a collection of recipes published in Salem-area “hometown” newspapers in 1994. It appears to be in the same class as “church-group” local cookbooks. It is spiral-bound with a cardboard cover. The cover design is more attractive than normal for such books, with faint recipe titles repeated in the background behind the cookbook title and logo. Good job on the part of Robinson Community Publications in Salem. However, there is no table of contents, nor even a topic header at the top of each page, making it hard to find where sections start and making it difficult to leaf through the book. It does have an index, if you know what recipe you’re looking for. The chapters are also listed in the back in italics, making it necessary to leaf through the index to find out what’s up.

The chapters are:

  • Breads & Desserts: My favorites are Banana Bread (only because the author uses the word ‘oleo’ for margarine, just like my grandmother did), Krispy Ice Cream Squares, New Orleans Corn Pudding, Old-Fashioned Corn Bread, and Orange-Crunch Squares.
  • Casseroles & Meats: Such low-fat (hah!) recipes as Baked Ham Slice, Hamburger Stroganoff, Oven Fried Chicken, and Zucchini Lasagna.
  • Salads, Soups, & Vegetables: Beet Relish and Boiled Cabbage, what more could you want? Among the other recipes you get Fried Tomatoes (not Green), Piccalilli (a cabbage recipe for canning), and numerous salads, soups, and casseroles.

The cookbook is 102 pages including a blank last page. It was a joint effort by what appears to be a group called “Your Hometown Newspapers”, which includes the Salem Times-Register, The Fincastle Herald, The Vinton Messenger, and The New Castle Record. Inside information from locals indicates that the latter three towns are tiny burgs somewhere near the larger “city” of Salem, Virginia. Yes, this is from the South. This is not Massachusetts. There are no recipes for Boston Baked Beans (although “Mixed Baked Beans” comes dangerously close), but you where else would you find watermelon rind pickle?

There are at least two corn breads and one corn pudding inside. My favorite has to be the “Old-fashioned Corn Bread” with its eight tablespoons of bacon drippings. Delicious even if you leave out the egg for safety’s sake.

Zucchini Lasagna. Well, you can’t get much more down home than that as far as I’m concerned, but I’m a Michigander and have never been further south than Pennsylvania. Only thing better would be asparagus: look for Asparagus Casserole on page 50. Asparagus, hard-boiled eggs, and soup. Never did like either one, asparagus or zucchini. Fortunately, there was no okra in Michigan that I ever ran into, so I never had to put up with “Okra Medley”. Some folks swear by it.

You can also find a large number of Asian-inspired dishes, especially Chinese. “Chow-Chow”, Chow Meins, and stir fries litter the book. A number of salads also exhibit Chinese influence. One interesting baked salad (“Blue Ride Oven Chicken Salad”) calls for chinese fried noodles as a topping.

I’ve only found one misprint. “Delicious Jerky” (p. 59) has no instructions. I find it hard to believe you eat it raw. Most likely you smoke it, cook it, or let it sit for a few weeks… but I’m not about to take a chance on which.

This is certainly a good collection of “things your mother should have taught you”. You can probably find similar items in your own locale. If you were to want to buy this one, you would have to contact the printer. The prices I have ran out in 1995. Given the nature of small towns, the address probably remains correct. And if they’ve moved, everyone knows where to:

Hometown Recipes
Salem Publishing Company
P.O. Box 1125
Salem, Va. 24153

Cottage Cheese Casserole

  • 1½ lbs cooked noodles,
  • 1 cup cream-style cottage cheese,
  • 1 cup sour cream,
  • ½ tsp salt,
  • ⅛ tsp pepper,
  • ⅓ cup chopped chives,
  • 1 tbls butter.
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees, combine noodles, cheese, sour cream, salt, pepper, and chives.
  2. Pour into buttered 2-qt casserole.
  3. Dot top with the butter.
  4. Bake 30 minutes until noodles begin to brown.
  5. Serve immediately.

Our Favorite Hometown Recipes Vol. II

Recommendation: Good down-home cooking