The first woman was a walk-up. Did the library have The Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook? No, we had other BH&G cookbooks, but not that one. Our copies of the BH&G New Cookbook, which appeared to have been a revised edition of that original book, were all lost or withdrawn. She asked to see The BH&G All-Time Favorites Cookbook, and then looked through the index.
I asked her again what she was looking for. She wanted a recipe for tuna casserole that had been in that BH&G cookbook. Her copy of the book had been destroyed. I thought I might be able to find it online. We returned to the reference desk, and I was able to find it, thanks to Retro-Food.Com, where it was copied from The Better Homes and Gardens Casserole Cook Book, (1961). I turned the monitor so she could see it. She said that it was the recipe, because it had the pimientos in it. I printed it out and gave it to her. She had a big smile as she read through it and thanked me.
The second woman called by telephone. SM was someone I've helped many times before. She wanted a recipe for chicken salad that she thought had appeared in The Springtime Tallahassee Cookbook back in the seventies. Springtime Tallahassee is Tallahassee's Spring festival and parade. It was just getting started in the seventies, and the cookbook had likely been part of a fundraising effort.
Tuna-Noodle Casserole6 ounces (about 3 cups) medium noodles
1 6 to 9 oz can tuna, drained
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sliced celery
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup diced green pepper
1/4 cup chopped pimiento
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 can cream of celery soup
1/2 cup milk
1 cup (1/4 pound) shredded sharp process cheese
1/2 cup slivered blanched almonds, toasted (optional)
Cook noodles in boiling salted water till tender; drain. Combine noodles, tuna, mayonnaise, vegetables, and salt.
Blend together soup and milk; heat through. Add cheese; heat and stir until cheese melts. Add to noodle mixture.
Turn into ungreased 2-qt casserole. Sprinkle with toasted almonds. Bake uncovered in hot oven (425) about 20 minutes or till bubbly. Makes 6 servings.
The thing she remembered about this recipe was that it included "chow-chow", a pickled relish that she said Publix Super Market told her they had. We didn't have The Springtime Tallahassee Cookbook. I was doubtful, but a search for "springtime tallahassee chicken salad", amazingly, yielded a recipe for Tallahassee Chicken Salad, chow-chow and all, from The Florida Cookbook, by Jeanne Voltz and Caroline Stuart, at RecipeSource.Com.
If you want an easy way to feel like a hero, find a recipe for an old woman. Her warm thanks made my day.TALLAHASSEE CHICKEN SALADRecipe By :Serving Size : 4 Preparation Time :0:00Categories : Poultry SaladsAmount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method-------- ------------ --------------------------------2 c Poached Chicken thighs and--breasts, poached. See note1 c Celery, diced.Half a 93/8-ounce jar chow--chowDash hot pepper sauce1/3 c Mayonnaise, or as needed to--moistenGarden or Boston lettuceIn a medium-size mixing bowl, combine the chicken, celery, chowchow, and pepper sauce. Mix lightly; add the mayonnaise and mix again. Add more mayonnaise if needed to moisten well. Chill 1 to 2 hours before serving. Line a bowl or platter with greens and spoon the salad onto the greens.
NOTE: To poach chicken: Combine 1 pound each of skinned chicken thighs and breast pieces in a large skillet with a carrot, peeled and sliced; a rib of celery, cut in chunks; a small onion, cut in halves but not peeled; pepper, a sprig or two of parsley, and a lemon half. Cover, and simmer 30 to 45 minutes, until juices run clear or golden when the chicken is pierced with a fork. Cool the chicken in the broth. Cut meat off the bone and chop it coarsely. Refrigerate until ready to make the salad. If desired, the broth should be saved for soups or other uses.