When my grandmother passed away, I was fortunate enough to have inherited her small collection of cookbooks. I love flipping through them, not just for the fun retro recipes for elegant desserts (Baked Alaska, anyone?) but also for the comments Grandma wrote in the margins:
“Do not use cherry Jell-o. Makes an atrocious color!”
“Ken (my granddad) hated this.”
Just as good are the recipes and tips she clipped from magazines and product packages and carefully tucked between pages. I guess I love them because I feel like I’m getting a glimpse into her life as an Air Force wife. Grandma was a pretty private person, as well she might have been. She’d been through a lot, between having grown up during the great depression and marrying an airman. There’s a reason they say “Military Wife: Toughest Job in the Military.”
When they were stationed on the coast of Louisiana and a hurricane came roaring up the gulf, my granddad had to pilot his aircraft inland to Kansas, leaving Grandma behind to fend for herself and two kids under the age of five. She was a very stoic lady.
So you can understand how much I love finding these little tidbits of her life. The other day, I was looking for Grandma’s famous Jell-o salad recipe to take to a retro cooking party, and I re-discovered these two gems. These would date back to when they were stationed at Wurtsmith AFB with the Strategic Air Command (SAC), probably in the mid 1960’s.
The first is a newspaper article urging housewives to keep a two week supply of food on hand. It even offers a suggested list of items appropriate for a family of four.
I love it – and I love the little notes that tell me this article had Grandma’s strict attention!
Next I have a “Dependents’ Disaster Control Checklist” distributed by SAC at Wurtsmith. It provided clear instructions on what the women and children were to do in the event of an emergency.
It even includes what to do in a Broken Arrow situation. Pretty badass.
So there you go. My grandma (and probably yours) was prepping before prepping was trendy!