I MET A reader in the bulk section of our local food store last week.
These conversations generally start out in a certain way with a look of recognition and a brief hesitancy.
At that moment, I pretty much know we will be talking about recipes and I love it.
Sure enough, she told me she had enjoyed a leek soup recipe a while ago and we had a great chat about food, writing and long-standing family traditions.
My reader told me that her mother had saved recipes from the paper as far back as the 1950s here in Port Angeles.
Always on the prowl for recipe ideas, and happy to share the byline with a colleague from half a century past, I decided to head straight for the library to browse some history in the archives.
The Port Angeles Evening News, as it was called back then, had many of the same elements we still have today.
Articles about court cases at the Clallam County courthouse, and world news headlines including the words Russia, taxes and Congress filled the tightly packed pages.
Perhaps because they were easier to decipher, the ads were the most interesting.
The Lincoln Theater advertised “Teenage Rebel” (for Grown-up Emotions) and “Safari” (the savagery of darkest Africa).
The Toggery (former home of Sassy Kat Salon) offered a free turkey with every suit, and the Gun Club was getting ready for its annual turkey shoot with the slogan “Turkey, Pumpkin Pie and Muskets on the Side.”
After scrolling through most of a reel of microfilm, buried in the mid-section Sundays I found the recipes.
Food Tips for the Family Menu, as it was titled, was a single column-width, 50-word article.
No photo, no folksy introduction.
Perhaps because it was holiday time, Nov. 16, there was a recipe accompanied by a photo, captioned, “Mrs. Wiltse, shown serving cake at her dining room table, is a piano teacher known for her dinner parties.”
If you are opting this year for the beigey-white Thanksgiving trifecta of turkey, mashers and stuffing, cranberry is a natural condiment.
But if your Thanksgiving looks more like samosas or humbows, I would still recommend this recipe for a crisp refreshing dessert, served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of chocolate.
The recipe is verbatim from the paper.
The only question I had was on the quantity of cranberries — despite adjusting the focus on the microfilm reader, I couldn’t tell whether it was 3, 4 or 9 cups of cranberries … 4 seemed about right and I was pleased with the result when I made the recipe.
And you’ll have to guess at the last instruction: “pour hot into the refrigerator”… I decided to chill the hot cranberry mixture in the saucepan in the fridge, then poured it into a Tupperware container before placing in the freezer.
I hope you like it as much as I did.
Unlike the 1950s when recipe columns were miniscule, I have another 15 words and will close with this: However you choose to celebrate this week, may your holiday be delicious, shared with those you love, and smothered in gratitude.
Thank you for reading, and for reaching out to say hello.
I appreciate connecting with you.
Mrs. Wiltse’s cranberry ice — short and sweet
Add 4 quarts of cranberries to 2 cups of water and cook on the stove.
Force through a colander.
Add the grated rind of 1 orange and return to stove.
Heat again and add the juice of the orange and ½ lemon.
Pour hot into the refrigerator and freeze.
Betsy Wharton is the proprietor of the Clallam Canning Co., a local purveyor of artisan pickles and other farm to jar goods. You can find her and her products at the Sprouting Hope Greenhouse at 826 E. First St. in Port Angeles. Or contact her at betsy@clallam canningcompany.com.