One man is bringing back memories, and delicious food, for the community of Abilene, Texas.
Dusty Hudgins was going through his late mother’s things when he found her old cookbooks from the 1960s. Florice Hudgins was a cafeteria worker in the Abilene school district in the 1960s and ’70s, Hudgins told CNN.
The book that stood out to him was titled “Our Favorite Recipes” and comprised recipes loved by women in the food service industry who worked in the schools.
Though the book was made in the ’60s — with recipes including cornbread, Southern stuffing, and barbecue chicken – several of the recipes seem more old-fashioned, including one for a chicken loaf with fruit.
Hudgins said he decided to go out on limb and post his recent find to a Facebook group called “Remember in Abilene when…,” which reflects on the city’s history.
The post received hundreds of comments and likes.
“It just kind of blew up,” Hudgins said.
Some community members commented they had the same cookbook and have used it for years. It’s also through the post that someone was able to help Hudgins find the original publisher of the book.
“Someone sent me a card that they had inside their copy of the cookbook, which had the name of the publishing company on it.” Hudgins said.
From there, he got in contact with the company and to his surprise, it was still in business.
The company took Hudgins’ copy of the relic and reprinted copies, which he is now selling for charity.
“The cover of the new book is a little off-white because of some stains from the original cover,” Hudgins said. “They paid a lot of attention to detail and it looks nice.”
After coverage of Hudgins’ journey, hundreds have ordered copies. Hudgins told CNN, “That’s all I’ve been doing – sending invoices, printing shipping labels, going to the post office.”
Recipes of the past
Each recipe in the book is followed by a name, Hudgins said – and that has connected many people to recipes from family members they may not have even known about.
“I’ve heard from quite a few people that tell that the recipe was their grandmother’s or great aunt,” Hudgins said.
The 1960s book also lists some ingredients that may be unfamiliar to modern-day chefs.
“As you look through the recipes in the book, some of them call for things like Crisco, Accent and oleo, and some people don’t know what those things are,” Hudgins explained. “I had one guy tell me he was going to make the peach cobbler; well, it calls for oleo and he said he had to call his grandmother to find out what that was.”
Crisco and Accent – a shortening and seasoning – are still sold today, while oleo is an old term for margarine.
Hudgins sells the books through his Facebook page for $20 a copy.
All proceeds go towards Love and Care Ministries, which helps feed school children on weekends and during the holiday season.