When I first started at the Edina Historical Society, the Board was in the midst of a discussion of what to do with a room full of recipes.
Yes, you heard me: a room. Not a book, a drawer, or one file cabinet, but an entire room full of recipes.
The recipes were donated by the estate of an inveterate recipe collector, who had a librarian type brain and an passion for organizing (more so than cooking). The recipes filled at least five four-drawer file cabinets and a few other boxes, carefully separated in every possible category. The board had agreed to take the recipes without realizing how much space they would take and how little the public would need to access them. No one comes to a local historical society to research recipes, so I set about trying to find a good home for them.
I called places that specialize in food and cooking. I called home economists and historical societies. I met with food writers and cookbook collectors - to no avail. No one wanted recipes without the story that went along with it. Historians wanted to know when and where the recipes were published to understand their place in history. Cooks wanted to know if the recipes were served and whether they were favorites.
With the donor's permission, we gave away recipes to visitors and volunteers and recycled others. After all, if you want a chili recipe, all you have to type "chili" into your search engine and you'll come up with thousands of variations. But if you want the chili recipe served for Edina Public School lunches in the 1950s, well... that's a different story. We DO want recipes that tell the story of Edina community life.
We are looking for great Edina recipes AND their stories for a special cookbook honoring the city's Quasquicentennial. In the 125 years since its founding, what foods were favorites at family gatherings, neighborhood picnics, school lunches and church potlucks? What mom on your block made the best homemade mac and cheese? What was your favorite meal of the week and why? Or, what recipe do you wish you had? Post your request here, and maybe someone will have it!
I think it would be fun to get some favorite recipes from local restaurants too. Who remembers the Christine salad at the Convention Grill? Who loved the Ediner brownies? (The Star Tribune recently published the recipe here.) And hey, given Edina's cake-eater reputation, I will be disappointed if there's not a cake recipe or two.
Page through your recipe box (or book or file cabinet) of recipes and contact the City of Edina's Communications & Technology Services Department by May 1 to share yours. Families featured in the cookbook will receive free copies. Call 952-826-0359 or email to participate.
In the meantime, here's a great recipe from our collection, submitted by Connie Bennett Magoffin, an Edina art teacher and Edina graduate.
In the 50’s when I was a student at the old Edina High School, everyone ate lunch on the days this chili was served with rice. Ann Stoneberg asked Helen Gunderson, the head cook, for the recipe sometime during the 60’s when we were teaching at Valley View. Ann had to break it down to more manageable portions from the original recipe, which called for 100 or more pounds of ground beef!
Edina High School Chili
2 lbs. ground beef
1 sm. can tomato paste
2 cans stewed tomatoes
½ bottle chili sauce
2 cans kidney beans, drained
2 tbs. chili powder
2 medium onions, chopped
1/8 tsp. red pepper
½ large bottle ketchup
½ cup (or less) sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Brown beef and onions together and drain. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for ½ hours.
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Jennifer Adam is the Executive Director of the Edina Historical Society. She welcomes your contributions. Comment on a post or send an email (see below). Traditional mail, of course, can also be sent to:
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