Salina Journal Cooking School

Eleven recipes and some wartime patriotism in a lost form of entertainment.

We know mass media cooking entertainment began with James Beard and Julia Child, but that wasn’t the first form of cooking entertainment. The newspaper-sponsored cooking school, like the Salina (Kansas) Journal Cooking School (full-size link in a new window here, for maximum readability), combined live theater, cooking instruction, household cleaning tips, and fabulous prize giveaways into multi-day events, traveling from town to town.

At these cooking schools, auditoriums full of women (unless it was a “white elephant” day, when women could bring the men in their lives) would see scripted cooking and cleaning demonstrations and take part in raffles. These cooking schools were incredibly popular; another school, run by The Detroit News, started charging admission to control the crowds, which didn’t work (scroll to bottom of link).

The ad on the right from the April 5, 1933 edition of the The Owasso (Michigan) Argus-Press is for a Michigan presentation by the same home economist as the Salina presentation, in 1933. So I guess she was a famous home economist.

Mrs. Thurn also wrote an article for the July 10, 1936 edition of The Southeast Missourian, where she offered practical reminders like, “aspic to be tasty must be cold and piquant,” and “paprika sprinkled over cream soups is an aid.”

What changed in 1940 was the involvement of the Federal Office of Defense, Health and Welfare Services. Now, these cooking tours had to serve not only to disseminate household wisdom and an array of fine products from sponsors–they had to disseminate the American way of life (via “The Pledge of Health,” retyped below) and to encourage the audience to buy defense bonds and stamps.

Defense bonds were exactly what they sounded like–bonds available in amounts from $25 to $1000 dollars, maturing in ten years. Defense stamps were sold by the post office in amounts as small as ten cents; you’d collect the stamps into a book and trade the book for a bond equal to the value of the stamps when you had enough. But “Defense Bonds and Stamps” were only sold from the summer of 1940 to the end of 1941, at which point, the name changed to War Bonds, because the U.S. entered the war after Pearl Harbor.

So this particular cooking school was held sometime between the summer of 1940 and the end of 1941. This also means that, despite the low amount of meat in the menu, there wasn’t any rationing going on at this time, because the office in charge of rationing (The Office of Price Administration) didn’t exist until after we entered the war. So consider the lack of meat an economic measure rather than a governmental measure.

Watson Stiefel Theater, Salina, KS

Watson Stiefel Theater, Salina, KS by QueenieVonSugarpants, on Flickr

The theater where this was held, now named the Stiefel Theater, first opened in 1931 and is still in operation today in downtown Salina.

From the box of L.S. of Joplin, Missouri.

Tuesday’s Program of the Salina Journal Cooking School

“The Pledge of Health”

I pledge on my honor as an American that I will do all I can to build myself and my family and my neighbors into strong and healthy Americans as God meant us to be.

(In cooperation with the Federal Office of Defense, Health and Welfare Services).

Conducted by Mrs. George Thurn
Fox-Watson Theatre


Chamita Meat Balls
Pan Coat
Green Beans Au Gratin
Pineapple Drop Cookies
Apple Dumplings
Beet Salad
Chocolate Chip Cake
Chocolate Filling
Fluffy White Icing
Vitamin Cocktail
Spicy Apple All-Bran Muffins


Chamita Meat Balls (back to top)

1-1/2 pounds ground beef
1-1/2 cups grated raw potatoes
1/4 cup milk
1 onion finely cut
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 cup shortening

Mix all but the shortening well together and form into patties or balls. Put the shortening in the skillet and brown the meat balls. Cover and steam one hour. May be steamed with spaghetti and tomato sauce.


Pan Coat (back to top)

(A Spry Kitchen Recipe)

1/2 cup shortening
1/4 cup flour

Mix shortening with flour to form a smooth mixture. Keep pancoat in a covered dish on the pantry shelf. It will stay sweet and fresh indefinitely. Use for greasing cake pans, muffin pans, etc.


Green Beans Au Gratin (back to top)

2 1/2 cups green beans (cooked or canned)
3 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1-1/2 cups milk
1/8 cup liquid from beans
1/2 cup grated cheese

Melt butter, blend in flour and seasoning. Add liquids gradually, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil and cook approximately three minutes. Remove from unit and stir in cheese. Place beans in greased casserole and pour cream sauce all over. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake uncovered.


Pineapple Drop Cookies (back to top)

1 cup shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 9-ounce can crushed pineapple
3-1/2 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon soda

Blend salt and lemon juice with shortening; cream in the sguar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add pineapple and sifted flour with soda. Drop by spoonfuls on cookie shet. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 400 degrees F. 12 minutes. Makes 4 dozen cookies.


Apple Dumplings (back to top)

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons Cream of Tartar baking powder
1/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup milk

Sift dry ingredients. Cut the shortening in as for biscuits; add milk. Roll dough thinner than for biscuits. Cut into 4 square pieces. Pare and core baking apples. Put one on each square of dough. Fill center of apple with sugar. Pinch the corners up together. Make a syrup as follows: 1/4 cup butter, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water. Cook until thick. Put into pan and set the dumplings in the syrup basting about three times during baking at 350 degrees F. for 45 minutes.

(Handwritten note: honey lemon juice)


Beet Salad (back to top)

Chop pickled beets and arrange in lettuce cup. Cover with olives cut in rather large pieces, a spoonful of mayonnaise and then cover with chopped hard-cooked egg. A very tasty salad.


Chocolate Chip Cake (back to top)

(A Spry Recipe)

1/3 cup shortening
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/3 cups sugar
1-1/2 squares semi-sweet chocolate shaved fine
3/4 cup milk
2-/14 cups sifted flour
3 teaspoons Cream of Tartar baking powder
3 egg whites

Blend flavoring with shortening. Cream in until light and fluffy 1 cup of the sugar (whip egg whites and add the third cup of sugar). To the creamed shortening and sugar add flour and baking powder sifted together alternately with the milk. Fold in the egg whites. Put into two pancoated layer cake pans and bake about 25 minutes at 375 degrees F.


Chocolate Filling (back to top)

1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon shortening
1-1/2 ounces chocolate
3 Tablespoons hot milk
1-1/4 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt

Melt butter, shortening and chocolate over hot water. Pour hot milk over combined sugar and salt and stir until dissolved. Add chocolate mixture and vanilla. Beat until thick enough to spread.


Fluffy White Icing (back to top)

1-1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
Few grains salt
2 unbeaten egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix sugar and water. Cook after it starts to boil just three minutes. Place unbeaten egg whites and cream of tartar in small mixer bowl. Turn to high and immediately add the hot syrup. Continue to beat 5 minutes. Add vanilla and spread on cake. This may be done by hand using a rotary beater.


Vitamin Cocktail (back to top)

Mash a cake of fresh yeast in a dry glass with a fork. Be sure the glass is dry so the yeast will pulverize into granular form.

Add a little cool, plain tomato juice–or milk–or cold water. Don’t add too much liquid because you need only enough to make a thin paste of the yeast.

Stir until yeast is fully blended. Fill the glass with liquid. Stir again and drink.


Spicy Apple All-Bran Muffins (back to top)

2 cups flour
3-1/2 teaspoons Cream of Tartar baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1-1/2 cups All-Bran
1/3 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg 1 cup milk
1 cup finely chopped raw apple
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Sift flour with baking powder, salt cinnamon and nutmeg. Add All-Bran. Cream shortening and sugar, add egg and beat well. Add flour mixture alternately with milk. Fold in apples. Fill greased muffin pans two-thirds full; sprinkle with mixture of sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Bake in moderately hot oven (425 degrees F.) about 20 minutes.

Yield: 20 muffins (2-1/4 inches in diameter).


The Following Merchants and Manufacturers Are Co-operating to Make This Cooking School a Success:

American Beauty Macaroni Products
At all Food Stores
–American Beauty Macaroni Company

Canned Foods–Salad Dressing–Tea
At Food Stores
–The H.D. Lee Mercantile Cmopnay

China–Fostoria Glass–Pyrex Ware

Dairy Products
–Jo-Mar Dairies Co.

E.Ectromaster Electric Ranges
–The Kansas Power and Light Company

Faultless Starch
At All Food Stores
–Faultless Starch Company

Fleischmann’s Compressed
With the YELLOW label
–Standard Brands, Inc.

–A.B. Walter Greenhouse

Folger’s Coffee
At all Food Stores
–J.A. Folger Company

–Anderson-Swan Furniture Co.

General Electric Refrigerator
–Phillip’s Furniture and Appliance Co.

Holsum Bread
At Food Stores
–Heath’s Holsom Bakery

House Dresses
–The Shop Around The Corner

Linens–Lace Table Coverings
–Salina Mercantile Co.

Kalamazoo Water Softener
–Salina Supply Co.

Kellogg’s All-Bran
At all Food Stores
–Kellogg Company

–Richard’s Paint & Paper Co.

Red Cross Shoes
–George Seitz Shoe Co.

Rinso–Lux–Lux Toilet Soap–Life-Buoy
At all Food Stores
–Lever Brothers Company

Royal Baking Powder
At all Food Stores
–Standard Brands, Inc.

Silver Mist Flour
At Food Stores
–Shellaburger Mills

–B.A. Strickler, Jeweler

At All Food Stores
–Lever Brothers Company

Sweetheart Hams & Bacon
At Food Stores
–Banfield Packing Co.

Women’s Sport Wear

Zoric Dry Cleaning
–Salina Steam Laundry & Zorile Dry Cleaners

(Handwritten note: Stewart)




Fine Fabrics Washing Tips

Before washing new colored materials make the tumber test: squeeze a sample of inconspicious portion of the garment in a tumbler of lcear lukewarm water for three minutes or so. If the garment is safe in water, it’s safe in Lux.

Make rich lukewarm Lux suds. Lux flakes are ideal for washable silks, rayons and woolens, because they give suds in a second–dissolve at the touch of the water as cool as your hand. No need ot use hot waterthat may injure delicate colors and fabrics.

Squeeze gently without wringing or twisting and roll the garments in a Turkish towel and genlty knead out what moisture you can–unroll immediately.

Three rinses–using fresh water each time–are usually enough to do a good rinsing job.

Before washing knitted or crocheted garments, crepes or novelty weaves, take measurements, or draw an outline of the garment on heavy paper to use as a guide in restoring documents to correct size after washing.

Make lukewarm suds richer for woolens than for silks.

Rinse woolens in water the same temperature as the suds.

Knitted or crocheted garments should be spread out on a flat surface to dry. Ease to shape and hold in shape with rustproof pins, if necessary.

Fabric or washable leather gloves (except chamois or doeskin) should be Luxed on the hands. After rinsing, blow into the gloves to restore to shape. As leather gloves are drying, gently press between the thumb and fingers.


  1. Apparently she had a long career; I have a cookbook of hers from 1934 published by the Ashland (OH) Times-Gazette. The preface states that after the cooking schools she ran there in 1932 and 1933 were so popular, they asked her to send recipes they could publish.

  2. Esil Reiser

    mom made a vanilla box cake with mashed bananas and used this cooked marshmallow type icing on it with sliced bananas in between the layers.

  3. Very interesting trek down memory lanr. My Ma And Aunt used to cut out these recipes.And never missed one recipe.zI even have these recipes now inherited by both folks.Since no one in our little family cares much for tradition or cooking at all.So I have been blessed Also I wonder if anny of your readers heard tell of a Jean Mcbride? Got a heap of hers also
    Anyway thanksgor a wonderful article and good old fashioned cooking

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