Seniors & Aging

Try some down-home cooking from Whatcom women

Some family recipes are guarded like Fort Knox and doled out only to those deemed worthy.

Luckily, some wonderful local women have deemed Prime Time readers worthy of the recipes that, for them, have come to mean home and hearth.

These recipes have been made dozens of times, decades over, and taste-tested by those who mean the most to them - their families.

So, they are sure to be winners in your own kitchen, and might even find a special place in your own family's recipe book.


"I got this recipe from a cook at a homestead barbeque restaurant in Illinois, where I was raised. He gave me the recipe around 1942. I've been making this recipe since then.

"I give everyone this recipe. We've always used it for ribs for picnics. My grandson, who is in his 30s, lives in California. Whenever he comes around he says, 'Grandma, can you make me some ribs?' Of course I do."

Barbeque Sauce

3/4 cup ketchup

3/4 cup water

2 tablespoons white vinegar

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 onion, finely diced

1/4 cup brown sugar

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes. Use on ribs, chicken or pork.


"This is the best lemon pie. We'd always have it if we were having Sunday dinner or having company. But my husband's favorite pie was always cherry.

"The recipe is from a recipe book I received when I was a telephone operator in Bellingham. It was around 1952. I was one of the last of the manual operators."

Lemon Meringue Pie

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 1/2 tablespoons flour

1 cup sugar

1 cup boiling water

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 egg yolks

1/3 cup lemon juice

grated zest of a lemon

In a double boiler, combine boiling water with cornstarch, sugar, salt and flour. Simmer until thick and clear, about 30 minutes. Add lemon juice and zest, beat in egg yolks one at a time, and add butter.


3 egg whites

6 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Beat egg whites with cream of tartar, add sugar slowly.

Fill prepared pie crust with lemon mixture. Cover with meringue. Place in 300-degree oven for 30 minutes. Let cool before eating.


"About 35 years ago I started making Christmas cookies and giving them out in tins and baskets. It became a tradition. These cookies became one of my family members' favorites.

"I discontinued making the cookies and my family put up quite a fuss. I told them, 'I'm saving you from the hardening of your arteries.'"

Stuffed Date Drops

1 pound (about 70) pitted dates

1 three-ounce package of pecan or walnut halves

1/4 cup shortening

3/4 cup medium brown sugar

1 egg

1 1/4 cup sifted enriched flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sour cream

Stuff dates with nut halves. Cream shortening and sugar until light. Beat in egg. Sift dry ingredients and add alternately with sour cream to creamed mixture. Stir in dates and drop onto greased cookie sheet, one date per cookie. Bake in hot oven (400 degrees) eight to 10 minutes, until light brown. Cool and top with Golden Frosting (recipe below).

Golden Frosting

Lightly brown 1/2 cup butter or margarine. Remove from heat and gradually beat in 3 cups of sifted confectioners' sugar, 3/4 teaspoon vanilla. Slowly add water until constitutes spreading consistency (about 3 tablespoons). Add more water if frosting thickens.


"This is my family's favorite for the holidays. I serve a fresh fruit bowl and warm rolls. I like the recipe because the dish is made the day before. If you do not care for the smokies, cube up ham."

Sausage Souffle

1 package of Lit'l Smokies

8 to 10 slices of white bread, decrusted and finely cubed.

1 cup grated sharp cheese

2 cups milk

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 dozen eggs

Chopped green onion

Decrust bread and cube. Place in a well-buttered baking dish. Place Lit'l Smokies Cocktail Links in layer, cut in half if you like. Blend eggs, milk, salt and mustard. Pour mix over bread. Sprinkle green onion over egg mixture. Place cheese over entire dish. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Bake in 325-degree oven, 45 to 50 minutes.


"These cookies bring back memories of my grandmother. We'd make these cookies on a Saturday morning or for Christmas. She lived on a farm and we always used our own butter from milk from the farm in Olalla (on Kitsap Pennisula). But my cookies turn out better than hers. It might be the cookie press."

Spritz Cookies

1 pound butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 egg yolks

1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream

4 cups of flour

1 teaspoon almond extract

Mix all ingredients together. Put in cookie press for spritz cookies. Or roll into long ropes, twist and shape into circles.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.


"I immigrated from the Friesland province of The Netherlands. This is a traditional Dutch recipe that my family would make every New Year's Eve. I had eight sisters and seven brothers. We'd go to church service, have friends over, and play shuffleboard on New Year's Eve. Now, every year, my sister and I bake 30 dozen or so for a bake sale and for my family. Oliebollen reminds me of home."


7 cups flour

2 cups sugar

9 teaspoons baking powder

1 tablespoon salt

3 beaten eggs

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3 1/4 cups milk

1 1/2 cup of raisins

1 1/2 cup apples, cubes

Pan of vegetable oil or Crisco, heated to 350 degrees.

Simmer raisins in water. Mix dry ingredients, set aside. Beat eggs and milk with oil and add to dry ingredients. Add apples and raisins. Heat vegetable oil to 350 degrees. Use an ice cream scoop to put batter in oil. When brown, remove and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Oliebollen can be frozen and thawed out overnight.