Medium 9781574411362

The Texas Cookbook: From Barbeque to Banquet

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This delightful collection captures the flavor and diversity of the cuisine of the Lone Star State. The Texas Cookbook presents recipes ranging from down-home cooking to high-class affairs, from regional favorites to ethnic specialties. Mary Faulk Koock traveled throughout Texas gathering recipes from ranch kitchens and city hostesses. Scattered among these are the author's anecdotes from her vast and varied encounters with the famous and influential. In Austin John Henry Faulk, the author's brother, savors Quail Pie with J. Frank Dobie, Walter Prescott, Roy Bedichek, and Mody Boatright. Fort Worth's Van Cliburn enjoys the hostess' biscuits and offers his own recipe for a whole-wheat variety. Here is Lady Bird Johnson's Peach Ice Cream (the LBJ Ranch) and some expected classics such as Lee's Chili (Amarillo), Venison Roast (the King Ranch), and Black-eyed Peas with Okra (Austin). But you will also find the unusual in Roasted Wild Turkey (the Hill Country), Fried Apricot Pies (Fredericksburg), and Watermelon Rind Preserves (Luling). Regional contributions shine in Sauerbraten (Kerrville), Salsa Brava (Brownsville) and Crawfish Etouffee (Beaumont). At the home of friends in Dallas Koock reveals the recipe for Chicken Cannelloni served after an opera. We share in her delight with Persimmon Salad in San Antonio, Cold Breast of Duck with Orange Slices in Houston, and Cebollas Rellenas from the Rio Grande Valley. Where else can you learn the story behind Slumgullion, a purported concoction of Fort Worth's Amon Carter, Sr., and friend Will Rogers, or find the recipe for Pepparkakor (Swedish Ginger Cookies) from the Austin area? Other cities with recipes featured are Tyler, Abilene, Rockdale, El Paso, Waco, Columbus, and Corpus Christi. Much more than a cookbook, this collection offers a look at a way of life and entertaining, Texas style.

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People Are Here!

ePub

PEOPLE ARE HERE!

“Mama! People are here!” The “People are here!” cry rang through the house with much excitement, relayed by various sizes of children with the same alarm as “The British are coming!” People were here! Lots of people had always been here at Green Pastures as long as I could remember. There were five of us children who had grown up in the big frame country house: nieces, nephews and cousins had come to live with us while attending school in Austin, and many others whose extended “visits” had lasted anything up to three years. If clients of my father were lonely, he’d send them out for a week or two’s “pepper-upper” with his favorite diet of *Hot Water Corn Bread and the fresh buttermilk which Mama churned daily. But this time when the people were here, it was different. These people would be paying to be at Green Pastures—we were in business.

I had always been the one in the family to be in charge of getting ready for company dinner, planning the parties, decorating the house—after recruiting all sorts of “free” help, of course. I remember so well getting ready for a party Camille Long and I gave when we were in junior high school. Colored bread had just come into style, and Good Housekeeping magazine had a section on party sandwiches. We made pink and green ribbon sandwiches, solid pink rolled sandwiches, and pink and white checkerboard sandwiches—all day! We also made pecan fudge with heavy cream. We had an electric milk separator which separated the milk from the cream, and this cream was much heavier than whipped cream and made terrific fudge. We also thought it would really be gay to give out fancy paper caps at the party, such as we’d seen at a New Year’s Eve party in a movie; so we cut the colored crepe paper and white tissue paper for fringed tassels, but didn’t have time to put them together, as making the sandwiches and fudge had taken the entire day. I desperately took all the cap-makings in to Captain Tally and Daddy, who were upstairs visiting. Captain Tally was eighty-five years old and had been a trail-driver all his life. Making party caps wasn’t quite his forte—neither was it Daddy’s, which he made clear as he disapprovingly wrapped the thread to secure the tassel on the end of the cap and expounded on how we were spending entirely too much time on the frivolities of life. I donned my pink organdy party dress with picoted ruffles and sallied down the stairs to greet the guests who were coming to dance to the music of our new Panatrope—which Daddy had taken as payment for a case.

 

In and Around Austin I

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IN AND AROUND AUSTIN I

My own, beautiful, lovely Austin! I had intended to confine my collection to right here in the heart of Texas, which well I could do, as I am sure there is no place where hospitality is projected more “in toto,” where the population is made up of dearer, finer people who certainly know and prepare fine food.

Austin and the surrounding communities could well compose a fascinating library on the subject of food. There are literally thousands of fabulous cooks and, as I have said before, they have indeed been most kind and helpful to me. But for the most part, I am saving Austin for my next book.

People who were born here but moved away, people who were stationed here during the war, people who have visited here at one time or another, all want to come back to live in the Friendly City. The others of us, Austinites who were born, reared, educated and always lived here, who have spent many a summer swimming in Barton Springs, boating and waterskiing on Lake Austin, climbing to the Capitol dome with visitors, proudly watching Austin grow from a small town to a city, and who have traveled far abroad, are always glad to get home; home to our beloved Austin.

 

In and Around Austin II

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IN AND AROUND AUSTIN II

As you will have discovered by now, very few of the recipes I use at Green Pastures originated with me. I have to stop and think, and sometimes for the life of me can’t remember where I did first get certain ones. Some are written on the backs of envelopes, wrapping paper, brown paper sacks, the margin of a symphony program—and in my shorthand they really make a rare collection; and I am often surprised to find I can interpret them.

Why not copy them all off on to cards for the recipe file? Well, that’s exactly what I’m going to do—next week! Anyway, I have tried to keep the best ones in the top drawer. This is definitely top drawer. Try to have it baking when guests arrive—the ones you want to stay, that is.

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Olga Crawford’s Orange Nut Bread

Rind of 5 oranges

¼ tsp. soda

1 cup sugar

½ cup water

BATTER

1 cup sugar

1 cup milk

3½ cups plain flour

¼ tsp. salt

½ cup shortening

2 eggs

3 tsp. baking powder

1 cup chopped nuts

Cook orange rind in water to cover, with soda, for 5 minutes. Drain and chop (not too fine), add 1 cup sugar and ½ cup water and cook very slowly until almost all the juice is absorbed, but not dry. Cool. Add rind mixture to batter last. Pour into greased loaf pans and bake 50 minutes at 350 degrees (325 if pyrex pans are used). For a more cake-like texture, use 2 cups all purpose flour and 1½ cups cake flour.

 

Sweetbrush

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SWEETBRUSH

Standing at the front door of Sweetbrush is like looking through a stereoscope where many beautiful pictures become as one with deep multiple dimension. The wide doors at the opposite end of this spacious hall frame a magnificent view, opening out to the formal gardens and on to the grassy slope with giant live oak trees which border the peaceful blue Lake Austin and the green hills beyond. Sweetbrush is the picturesque home of Dr. and Mrs. Z. T. Scott. It is indeed synonymous with Southern hospitality in the truest form. Dr. Scott, great in Texas Medical heritage, came from Virginia, and Mrs. Scott was one of the four Masterson girls, whose family for several generations has played an important role in developing the Panhandle and other parts of Texas. Probably because of the distinctive lives their three children have chosen, as well as their own diversified interests, the Scotts entertain with a great deal of versatility. It may be for a screen or stage star friend of son Zachary; or members of the Cattle Raising Association, which has always been dear to the Scotts’ heart and life and which is vitalized by their daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Dick Kleberg, Jr., of the King Ranch. Then, of course, there is always a party when popular Ann Scott Hearon comes home for a visit.

 

Beaumont

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BEAUMONT

The Broussards’ house in Beaumont stands empty and silent as the busy traffic of this thriving city in southeast Texas zips by. The blooming magnolia trees appear sad as they stand guard around it. Chessie Taylor lives in a comfortable house surrounded with big fig trees in the side yard. Chessie cooked for the Broussard family for fifty-five years, and of course this is her home.

Mr. and Mrs. Joe Broussard built this spacious home in 1909 for their family of eleven. Needless to say, it was brimming over with the activities of nine healthy children and is remembered as one of the happiest houses in this area. Papa Joe would beam broadly when his entire brood was around the big dining table. Even after the children married, this house was still the gathering place for all of them on special occasions such as birthdays, christenings, and Christmas, and the usual lively pace was even more lively with the hustle of twenty-six grandchildren and more than sixty great-grandchildren.

Joe Broussard was not only the patriarch of this fine family but a very strong force in the development and progress of the Beaumont area. When Joe was a young man, he tended cattle on his mother’s homeplace. He was also the home gardener, for he loved the soil and trusted it. He decided there were big things to be done in farming in that part of Texas. Lumber had been the mainstay in Beaumont in those days, but the pine and cypress trees had pretty well been cut out, and this land, bereft of its timber, was almost abandoned.

 

South Middle East

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SOUTH MIDDLE EAST

It was difficult to get off the Broussard circuit to visit my niece Peggy, who is married to a native Beaumonter, Arthur Greenspan. Peggy agreed with me that Beaumont has some of the finest cooks to be found anywhere. Peggy is pretty good herself; I wheedled a recipe out of her that I have wanted for a long time:

.   .   .

Christmas Cake

1 cup butter or margarine

2 cups sugar

6 eggs

8 cups flour

1 lb. white raisins—soak in whiskey to cover overnight

1 qt. shelled pecans

1 tsp. salt

1½ tsp. nutmeg

Cream butter and sugar thoroughly. Add eggs one at a time, beating alternately with the flour (½ cup at a time). Add raisins and remaining liquid, then pecans, salt, and nutmeg. Bake for 2 to 2½ hours in medium to slow oven (275 to 350 degrees.)

The Greenspans with their four adorable children were in the throes of moving into their new contemporary house, but they took time to have me for lunch at the handsome Beaumont Club. Here they introduced me to Mrs. Elliott Jacobs and her mother-in-law, Mrs. M. L. Jacobs, who can call off fascinating recipes like a trainmaster calling the trains. And she delights in preparing them, too!

 

Dallas

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DALLAS

For me Dallas has always been a very special place, which I associate with very special occasions and people who were important in my life. As long as I live I will never forget my first visit to Dallas. My brother Hamilton agreed to take my sister Martha, our two cousins, Catherine, and Lucy, and me to Dallas to visit our Aunt Pearl and Uncle Jim and our beloved bachelor uncle Amos. We spent days getting ready. Mama carefully packed our Dallas clothes between sheets of tissue paper, made sure we had the right color hair ribbons and socks, and gave multiple instructions on how to be “good company.” We left Austin in Hamilton’s T Model Ford before sunrise. Seems like whenever we took a trip in those days we would always leave before daylight, which added to the mystery and excitement and I am sure caused us to wake up much earlier than was necessary. Mama had also packed us a big lunch, and Ham said we would stop at the park in Waco to picnic, but as it turned out we were a long way from Waco at lunchtime and a long way from Dallas by dark. We had seventeen blowouts and flat tires! Yes, sir, seventeen! Now while we perish the thought today, at that time this seemed only to add to the merriment and did not dampen our spirits one bit!

 

Tyler

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TYLER

We just returned from the Texas Rose Festival in Tyler. It is something one has to experience to really fully realize the grandeur of this annual event. Tyler, now known as the Rose Capital of the World, is a beautiful, small city in East Texas, recognized for many years as the center of aristocratic culture and later as the oil capital of East Texas. Tyler claims also to be the home of the prettiest girls in the world, and this becomes very evident during the Rose Festival, when they are all on hand, not only beautiful but charming and gracious, seeing that all the visitors become a part of these gala festivities. Showers of rose petals constantly flutter down from low-flying airplanes onto the streets, which are already festooned with literally millions of roses. Pretty Tyler girls throw bouquets of roses into the cars of startled visitors arriving in town for the festival.

This year Lucy Ross was the Duchess from Austin. Lucy had been presented at the International Debutante Ball in New York. The parties there were quite lush, but actually nothing can quite compare to the Tyler Rose Festival. She and her mother, Mrs. Ellen Steck Ross, received the design for her fabulous royal robe, invitations to parties, luncheons, dinners and dances, and all pertinent information in advance, with every detail of the arrangements outlined for them. So when they, as well as some twenty other attendants from all parts of the state and country, arrived, all they had to do was to enjoy the elaborately planned affairs on the agenda booked solid for the three-day celebration. The Queen’s Coronation and the Rose Parade, with their inspiring beauty and pageantry, are events none of us will soon forget.

 

Brownsville

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BROWNSVILLE

I really wish I could set my lines on Brownsville to music like a spirited tango. Brownsville is lush and lavish with brilliant blooming plants such as bougainvillaeas, exotic hibiscus, poincianas, palm and papaya trees. In the spring the air is fragrant with the blossoms on the citrus trees.

Bienvenidos amigos is not only the friendly greeting in border lingo for saying “Welcome friends”; it is the real atmosphere which is prevalent among the populace. I am certain this is one of the reasons Brownsville is becoming such a popular resort for visitors from all over the country, a few of the others being: the very desirable year-round climate, the outstanding fishing opportunities, along with hunting at its best for the famous white wing dove, wild turkey, quail and lots of deer which are plentiful in this region. It is the consensus of those who live or visit in Brownsville that the food there is also quite superior and has its own distinctive flavor.

It was a delightful experience being the guest of Leefe and Peyton Sweeney who have always lived in Brownsville, and Peyton is quick to declare he just would not live anywhere else. I wouldn’t either with a home like theirs. It is a lovely contemporary white brick on the grassy sloping banks of one of the pretty little lakes which are interspread through the residential sections of the city. The house is beautifully designed for entertaining, which is one of the Sweeneys’ chief occupations.

 

The King Ranch

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THE KING RANCH

If there were to be named an eighth wonder of the world, the King Ranch would spring forward as one of the magnificent marvels of nature. Even if this were to happen, I agree with Tom Lea that no mere facts or statistics could convey the final meaning of this largest ranch in the world. The wonder and marvel lives in the land itself, in the growing grass and the grazing herds. All the beautiful, exciting stories I had heard all my life about this spectacular piece of land in South Texas are true. Only did I begin to catch the real spirit of its beauty when I drove through the big, white gates with the sentry boxes on each side, and started along the winding road that stretched out with the contours of the land.

The ranch headquarters standing grandly on the left farther down the road is perhaps one of the few marks of mankind on the ranch; everything else blends into unmarred landscape. If the walls of this old house could speak, they would tell an unequaled story. Tom Lea relates many of the tales in his books, but his sketches are perhaps more poignant. One room of the house is filled with Lea’s drawings and paintings of the ranch. The big house is really like a small hotel. When guests come for the cattle sale it is like a three-day house party; they always look forward to staying in this grand ol’ ranch house. When I visited the ranch it was Easter week, and throughout the house were hundreds of tall, blooming Easter lilies in clay pots, large arrangements of bells of Ireland and deep-blue larkspurs grown in the ranch gardens.

 

Amarillo

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AMARILLO

We have all been brought up on stories from the “Panhandle,” the northern part of Texas that is truly the shape and just as flat as the handle of an old pot iron skillet. Perhaps the most famous tale is the myth that in winter there is nothing between Amarillo and the North Pole but a barbed wire fence—very often the fence gets blown down.

Somehow none of the trips we had made through Texas had ever taken us to the Panhandle; we were always turning up in the middle of the skillet, so to speak. Five hundred miles from Austin to Amarillo is a fer piece, unless, of course, there is some special occasion. Indeed such an opportunity arose when our oldest son, Ken, announced that he and Jane were to be married June 22, at her home in Amarillo! This caused a great flurry of excitement in our household. We held the traditional Sunday morning brunch to make the announcement to all of our family. There were twenty-four of us seated around the long family dining table. We were fortunate to have as guests Jane’s parents, Judge and Mrs. Carl Periman. They had come down primarily to attend Jane’s graduation at Texas University and to hear President Lyndon B. Johnson give the address—but academic “triumph” soon became of secondary interest. At breakfast, we tried to keep the conversation centered around the young prospective bride and groom, drinking toasts intermittently with *Milk Punch, followed by this menu:

 

Abilene

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ABILENE

Perhaps more than most towns—or cities, if you prefer so to call a population of more than 100,000—Abilene is a comunity of contrasts. Within the city limits of this dry West Texas spot are three church-supported colleges. Incongruously, within these same city limits, indeed, right in the heart of Abilene itself, is the recently founded “town” of Impact, whose forty-odd taxpaying residents voted, in contrast to those of the city of Abilene itself, to sell liquor and beer to anyone who wanted to visit their dusty street—which is now handsomely paved from the profits of this independent venture!

Another of the noticeable contrasts is perhaps no different from that of any city with a few decades to its heritage; but Abilene is full of the “old” families that have lived there since before Grandma’s day, and today in increasing numbers the newcomers are joining them in the community. Dyess Air Force Base, especially, has brought many young people to Abilene from all over the country. The contrast becomes most apparent when these two groups merge, as they frequently do at social affairs.

 

Rockdale

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ROCKDALE

The University of Texas in Austin and Texas A&M in College Station have always played the traditional Thanksgiving football game. The loyal alumni from each institution travel from almost the corners of the globe to see the arch rivals clash! Alternate years, when the game is played on Kyle Field in College Station, there is a general exodus of Austinites, by plane, car or special train. Many of the fans take picnic lunches, as eating facilities are not available for all the masses who throng A&M on this day. We usually join our friends, the Malcolm Gregorys, the Raymond Gregorys, Dr. and Mrs. Edgar Poth from Galveston, and some of the Lloyd Gregorys, I think; it’s hard to tell just who is who reaching into the fried chicken there on the grassy mall near the stadium. It really doesn’t matter because spirits are high and deviled eggs are pretty much gulped as Malcolm reminds us we gotta go see the teams warm up—not be late for the kick-off, etc., but never mind, he won’t miss a thing!

 

San Antonio

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SAN ANTONIO

San Antonio, Texas, has a distinct personality, perhaps more than any other city in the country with the exception of San Francisco and New Orleans. Long years before the American Colonists threw off the English yoke, Franciscan padres from Spain were building their missions in and about old San Antonio, and there they are today—the missions—dozing in the Texas sunshine and dreaming of days when only the musical sound of Spanish was heard about their walls. In addition to the missions, many other landmarks from San Antonio’s past remain to this day, preserved for all to enjoy. Much of this is due to the heroic efforts of a remarkable group of San Antonio ladies called the Conservation Society. The Conservation Society has made it their business over the years to protect the old city’s historical homes, missions, and other landmarks from destruction at the hands of eager builders and developers. The society’s membership boasts of many of the oldest and best established families in San Antonio. Its members are alert, tireless, and as militant as soldiers when any of the old shrines are threatened (as the city fathers have learned time and again).

 

El Paso

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EL PASO

About two hundred miles before we got to El Paso, we came to Pecos, the center of the agriculturally rich Pecos Valley and land of “the world’s best cantaloupes.” It was easy to visualize the past and the year 1883 with dusty cowboys and worn spectators leaving the arena of the world’s first Rodeo and hastening to the pavilion for the juicy melon as a prelude to the evening with its festive square dances. It was even more enjoyable to actually be in this county where the “law of the West” and the seat of vigilante Judge Roy Bean were established, and to partake of this famous Pecos cantaloupe. It was dark by the time we left the old pioneer ranching center. We saw not a flicker of light along the way except for an occasional passing truck. Suddenly, the darkness was broken by a splenderous sight of twinkling lights and stars. Over the sprawling mesa of El Paso, the stars and lights on the mountains seemed to merge into one luminous expanse of glitter.

El Paso del Norte, once a gateway for the Spanish conquistadores, was named by Don Juan de Oñate on May 4, 1598. The proximity of metropolitan El Paso and its sister city in Mexico, Juárez, allows for the flow of the peoples and the products of two republics. The best views of the city itself are from the surrounding mountaintops or from one of the tall buildings within the city, which have been scarce in the past but are now slowly beginning to shoot up. Bessie Simpson of the El Paso Times took me to lunch at the beautiful El Paso Club on top of the El Paso National Bank Building—one of those new and few “lookout” buildings which tower over the city. The club is quite stunning, done in rich golds, blacks, and reds. Bessie offered me not only the good view and pleasant atmosphere, but also a very tasty recipe that our family has particularly enjoyed.

 

Luling

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LULING

We were standing on Main Street, Luling, Texas, waving at the young beautiful belles atop the flower-bedecked floats as they cruised by in parade celebrating the Eleventh Annual Watermelon Thump. The spectators stood under the shade of umbrellas or large straw hats, or huddled under the shady fronts of the stores as the gay caravan interspersed with high school and veteran bands moved along in the hundred-degree summer sun. In the background along Main Street, the pumps on the oilwells were busily going about their business.

In 1922, when oil was first discovered in this area, Luling was a sleepy little town with only about fourteen hundred people, who were principally engaged in farming, railroading, or cattle raising. The arrival of Mr. Edgar B. Davis from his home in Massachusetts stirred this town from its drowsy inactivity.

Six attempts to find the elusive oil in Luling brought Mr. Davis down to the last dollar of his shoe and rubber fortune; but he succeeded in striking oil on the seventh try. From the day this oil well, called Rios No. 1., came in as a great gusher, the city of Luling has steadily progressed.

 

Waco

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WACO

The name Waco came from the Waco Indians who settled there because of the fertility of the soil along the beautiful Brazos River.

Baylor University, the oldest Baptist university in the state, is located in Waco and has gained national recognition for its outstanding theater and the Robert Browning Library, which houses the largest collection of Robert and Elizabeth Browning’s works in the world.

In the fashionable suburban section of Waco stands Stanton Hall, the home of Mr. and Mrs. Stanton Brown. The house was designed after the Browns’ plantation home in Meridian, Mississippi, which they left in 1920 to come to Waco, which was then the largest cotton market in the world. They brought with them the South, in its truest meaning of gracious hospitality, and they have never forsaken this style in favor of the easier or more modern way of entertaining.

Gone, except for a few memories, are the days of “banqueting.” No more can one lounge leisurely on a low couch while a slave girl slowly drops sugared grapes into the mouth before the main course begins. Few persons have managed to hang onto even a portion of this delightful way of life, and no matter when or where you find it, it is indeed something to cherish.

 

Columbus

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COLUMBUS

I stopped off in Columbus on my way home from Houston to see Rosanne Harrison for a few minutes, but ended up spending the day! A number of the girls were over having coffee and making plans for next year’s Magnolia Arts and Homes Tour Festival. It was so successful this year. People came from far and wide and just loved the band concert on the courthouse square, consumed gallons and gallons of hand-turned ice cream, and drank ten thousand gallons of cold, fresh homemade lemonade at the sidewalk café while they watched the buggies and wagons start for the tours of old Columbus homes and the Old Opera House where Houdini once appeared. In the late 1880’s, this was the only place between New Orleans and El Paso where opera was performed. The builder, R. E. Stafford, millionaire, cattleman and banker, built his own two-story home adjacent to the Opera House at an angle where he could watch the performances from his own bedroom! Liza McMahan, who, with her husband, is editor of the hundred-and-five-year-old newspaper, was acting as chairman of the Festival. The girls were also talking about the party they had been to the night before down at the Taits’ place. It was El and Alice Tait’s thirtieth wedding anniversary, and their two daughters had sent out invitations simply saying, “A Special Occasion,” with the time and the place. Special it was indeed! The guests danced on the wide front porch, which was added to the log cabin built in 1847. The music was furnished by one of those good Schulenberg bands, the Telstars. Lil Stallman started a long serpentine procession to the shed behind the house, where an enormous white-satin-tied box held a “special gift” for Alice and El. Suddenly the top of the box flew open, and amid colorful balloons, Rita Tait and her fiancé emerged to announce their engagement. Rita was wearing her mother’s wedding gown and John was wearing El’s wedding suit. Toasts were exchanged by Rita and her father, and later all the guests offered toasts to both couples. May West, who is reportedly one of the “best cooks” in Columbus, had made the traditional Wedding Cake she makes for her special friends on such occasions. May is a wonderful friend to have, as she has the largest deep freeze in town and keeps it loaded with all kinds of goodies she loves to cook.

 

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