Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Blast from the Past!

I found this news clipping in my cookbook.  The cook book is Seasoned with Grace by Eldress Bertha Lindsay of the Canterbury, New Hampshire Shaker Village.  Years ago when you visited the Shaker Village the Eldress Bertha would greet you and shake your hand, and in her later years she would greet you from her rocking chair.  Eldress Bertha passed away in 1990, one of the last surviving Shakers in the United States.

I entered this summer squash casserole recipe to the local newspaper column of the Nashua Telegraph in 1988.  It was chosen as "recipe of the week" and printed on June 1, 1988.  At the end of the year all the weekly recipe winners were invited to a Cook-Off at the Fairgrounds Junior High School in Nashua.  We all had to cook our recipe and we were judged by a panel of local restaurant chefs.  I remember that I did not win, and the judges suggested I steam my squash in the future (I tried that later at home, and my squash was too mushy).   I also remember that my daughter was a toddler running around the home economics classroom kitchen with my husband in hot pursuit during the entire ordeal.   Although I didn't win the top prize, I did win first place in my category of casseroles and received the Shaker cookbook as a prize.  Imagine my surprise when I opened up the cookbook the next day to peruse the pages, and I found my Squash Casserole recipe in the book!  It was almost exactly word for word the very same recipe.  No steaming either.

Nashua Telegraph, Nashua, NH, June 1, 1988

click images to enlarge

Another thing I remember is that for several years after this event, the phone would ring and complete strangers would ask me what brand of packaged croutons I used.  It was always the same question every time.  "What brand do you use?"  I was always too embarrassed to say I always used the cheapest brand on sale, so I used to tell them I used Pepperidge Farm brand to sound like I was an expert.  This is life in a small town, when complete strangers call to ask questions about recipes in the local paper for three or four years after it is printed!

P.S. Don't you love those 1980s eyeglasses!

The Nashua Telegraph, Nashua, New Hampshire

Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


  1. Awesome! Love the glasses, too. I was going to comment on them before I saw your PS. I had some in BRIGHT blue...

  2. What fun! Love the clippings and the photo. Grew up in the kind of small town you describe. In the south though, you'd have been as likely to get a visit as a phone call.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. In the 80s, I wore glasses just like those! "Aviator glasses." Takes me back. Maybe I will try your recipe . . . it looks delicious to me, but we'll probably substitute lowfat sour cream -- hope that doesn't ruin it! Funny, when I go to visit my SC relatives, I'm always served squash casserole! Along with peach cobbler, it seems to be kind of their signature dish.

    1. Mariann, I learned last year that I'm lactose intolerant, and I've tried yogurt and Tofutti's "Sour Supreme" (made with tofu) in making this recipe. Both are OK, but the Tofutti tastes more like the original recipe. Yogurt has a distinctly different taste. You can leave out the butter, too, without losing a lot of flavor (and save a few calories!)