Monthly Archives: February 2012

A History Of Community Cooking


There is nothing wrong with simple AND delicious.

BUY IT! - Three Rivers Cookbook I

The community cookbook. All of us have somewhere between two and two hundred of those plastic ring bound gems in our cookbook collections. They’re all little different. But, at the same time they’re all a little similar.

The Three Rivers Cookbook I fits the mold perfectly. The Child Health Association of Sewickley Pennsylvania thought 12,500 copies would do it back in 1973. Wrong. By 1990 they had printed an additional 400,000 copies. That’s when the edition I have was printed.

My wife doesn’t cook. At least that’s the story she tells. Actually, she just doesn’t want anyone to know she can do it. I think it takes the pressure off.

At one point in her life, she lived in the Pittsburgh area. So, she was pretty wide eyed when she saw me walk in with this Pennsylvania home cooking treasure. My friend Dennis, who has some PA roots of his own, thought it was a book worth checking out. Before I could even set it down on the counter, she had it on the couch.

Suffice it to say, I have A LOT of cookbooks that come in my front door. She usually just asks me what I’m making her. This was decidedly different. She flipped through those slightly worn pages with genuine interest.

Fifteen minutes past, then thirty, then a proclamation. “These Herbed Rolls look really good”. What? Really? Does she want me to make them or is this something she was going to tackle herself? Before I could sort through the possible answers in my head she filled in the blanks. She was going to make them for us tomorrow night!

I’m sure The Child Health Association of Sewickley Pennsylvania had no idea the magnitude of the breakthrough they had inspired. At least in my home. For the moment, my duties would include only photography. I could get used to this.

Herb Rolls

Here’s How To Do It

1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 1/2 tsp. parsley flakes
1/2 tsp. dill seed
1/4 tsp.onion flakes
1 package buttermilk biscuits, refrigerated

Preheat oven to 425F. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Add the parsley flakes, dill seed and onion flakes. Stir to mix. Cut the biscuits into quarters. Dip each biscuit quarter in the melted butter mixture. Arrange the pieces in a round Bundt pan, pie pan or square casserole. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand to cool before serving.

Serves 6

Herb Rolls

Recipe adapted, Herb Rolls, Three Rivers Cookbook I, Mrs. Robert A. McKean III, Child Health Association of Sewickley, Inc., 1973

TIP: It may be hard to find dill seed. We used dried dill weed and had a good result.

This dish was a home run. It’s easy to execute and loaded with goodness. This collection is a great representation of the recipes that are contained in most of the community cookbooks that were written in the 60’s and 70’s. Awesome, homemade, generational dishes that stand up over time.

Looks like my wife can now add these Herb Rolls to the now growing list of dishes that she can whip up. A couple more additions and she’ll have to shed her “non-cook” label. Sorry honey.

You can still get a copy of this classic. They’re used, but, lovingly used.

BUY IT! - Three Rivers Cookbook I Author: Norma Sproull
Plastic Comb
Publisher: Child Health Assn of Sewickley (June 1973)
ISBN-10: 0960763406



BUY IT! - Three Rivers Cookbook I

A Fish Story


What do a two year old and an Alaskan salmon fisherman have in common? Not much.

Salmon, Desserts & Friends

Back when my son was two years old, I thought it would be a good idea to teach him some basic man skills. Fishing. Not that I had actually mastered that particular skill myself, but, a two year old certainly wouldn’t be able to figure out that the instructor was nearly as green as the student.

A camping weekend was a good opportunity. We brought our gear. Which amounted to a couple of nearly new rods, some old lures and a few randomly collected fishing odds and ends. We were off to reel in the BIG one.

Our campground had a small lake, which I thought would be the perfect training ground for my son’s life lesson. We unpacked and organized our things for what was certain to be a killer afternoon of fishing.

We carefully baited our nearly rusty hooks with fresh night crawlers from the camp’s general store. Eyed the almost calm water and set about the business of emptying that small lake of its gilled contents.

Thirty minutes past. Which when your fishing with a two year old seems just a little longer. Another thirty gone. And, another. Either these fish were too crafty for us or someone had beaten us to our scaly treasure.

Then it happened! My son started reeling as madly as any two year old with a junior fishing pole could. He looked excited. As he brought his prize to the surface one thing became immediately obvious. Whatever was at the end of that hook certainly was not a fish.

When the reeling was finished, my proud son had landed himself a medium sized, water logged oak leaf. But, did that stop the celebration? Certainly not. His first catch may not have been edible, but, it was exciting as all get out.

After another half hour we decided to pack our gear and call it a day. With nothing but great fish stories in tow, we left the lake and grilled burgers for dinner. An unqualified success.

I recently came across another great fish story, Salmon, Desserts & Friends by fisherman/chef/author LaDonna Gundersen. But, unlike my tale, this story has an ending that involves actually catching fish.

LaDonna and her husband Ole operate a commercial salmon fishing boat in Alaska. This is REAL fishing. Thank goodness they can actually catch fish, because I love salmon. And, I would hate to see my supply dry up.

Canned Alaskan Salmon

This book is stocked with all kinds of great salmon recipes. Fortunately, you don’t have to execute them in an authentic, cramped galley kitchen like she does.

I thought I would try my hand at the Lemon Salmon Burger with Creamy Basil Sauce. I figured, hey, I have more than a 10 X 10 kitchen to work with. LaDonna probably wouldn’t know what to do with all that space.

Lemon Salmon Burger with Creamy Basil Sauce

Here’s how to do it

1 14 oz. can salmon, drained
2 eggs
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp. onion, finely chopped
¼ cup panko bread crumbs
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. fresh basil, chopped
½ tsp. dries oregano
? tsp. salt
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 hamburger buns
4 crisp lettuce leaves
4 large tomato slices

Ingredients – Creamy Basil Sauce
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. fresh basil

In a medium bowl, mix together the salmon, eggs, parsley, onion, bread crumbs, lemon juice, basil, oregano, salt and red pepper. Form into four patties.

Uncooked Salmon Patties

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the patties and cook for about 4 minutes per side or until nicely browned on both sides.

Method – Creamy Basil Sauce
In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of the basil.

Place one cooked salmon patty on a bun bottom. Top with a spoonful of basil sauce. Top with one lettuce leaf and one tomato slice. Add bun top and enjoy.

Serves 4

Finished - Lemon Salmon Burger with Creamy Basil Sauce
Recipe Adapted from, Lemon Salmon Burger with Creamy Basil Sauce, Salmon, Desserts and Friends, LaDonna Gundersen, Todd Communications 2011

TIP: You may need to add more bread crumbs to get to the desired consistency to form your patties. Since you are using olive oil and not peanut or canola, be careful not to overheat it. It has a lower smoke point (but more flavor) than the other two.

The Bottom Line: LaDonna has put together a fantastic collection of salmon recipes. Not only are they fun and easy to make, but, her and Ole’s story is pretty unique and interesting. I wouldn’t mind spending some time on their boat honing my nearly non-existent fishing skills. Couldn’t everybody use a seasonal inexperienced deckhand?

One last thing. On page 25, there is a recipe for a dish called, Wild About Salmon. A cryptic dedication accompanies the recipe. I would love to know what all that means.

BONUS: I have signed copy of LaDonna’s book to give to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment to this post telling us how much you love salmon and we’ll pick one at random. Yes, it’s just that’s easy!

Author: LaDonna Gundersen
Paperback: 134 pages
Publisher: Todd Communications
ISBN-10: 157833523X


BUY IT! - Salmon, Desserts & Friends