To Better Homemaking

“Cooking means the knowledge of all herbs, and fruits and spices, and of all that is healing and sweet in the fields and groves, and savory in meats; it means carefulness and inventiveness and watchfulness and willingness, and readiness of appliance; it means the economy of your great-grandmothers, and the science of modern chemists; it means much testing and no wasting; it means English thoroughness and French art and Arabian hospitality; and it means, in fine, that you are to be perfectly and always ‘Ladies—loafgivers’.” [1]

Such is the opening address in the Granddaughter’s Inglenook Cookbook.

The very first Inglenook Cookbook was published in 1901, complete with 1000 recipes from women associated with the Church of the Brethren. Two generations later, “granddaughters” of the original contributors submitted over 5000 recipes from which the Granddaughter’s Inglenook Cookbook was born.

When my mother graduated from high school, her grandfather gave her the Granddaughter’s Inglenook Cookbook. When I was growing up, many of our meals were based on recipes from it. (I say “based on” because my mother is one of those creative cooks who views recipes as mere guidelines and likes to add her own pinch of this and dash of that—with excellent results!)

A few years ago, I purchased a 1973 edition on eBay. (You can find practically everything there!) The 1973 edition was modified to “serve new generations with recipes that are still current and choice.” [2] … Chicken potpie … Scalloped Potatoes … Creole eggplant … Applesauce Doughnuts … Black Walnut Taffy….

Granddaughter’s Inglenook Cookbook, 1973 edition: Herein lie the secrets to the daily routine of managing home with thought and ingenuity.

Much like the dictionary and encyclopedia, I enjoy simply opening the cookbook and reading—it’s a quaint and delightful adventure of gastronomic proportions topped only by actually making the recipes described.

As the introduction to the cookbook exhorts, here’s “to better homemaking”!

[1] Quote by Ruskin, Granddaughter’s Inglenook Cookbook. The Brethren Press, Elgin, Illinois; 1973, 5.
[2] Ibid.

A Tribute to Dad on Father’s Day

Father's Day 2006

Father’s Day 2006

My Dad is many things, but on this Father’s Day I honor him for being:

Family Man who always put the needs of my Mom, two sisters, and me first.

An Adventurer: Dad planned family vacations, bike rides, water-tubing trips, hikes, and Sunday afternoon getaways…without an internet connection.

A quiet Thinker: Dad didn’t talk much.  Who could with four girls in the house? But when he did, what he said was worth hearing and heeding.

A handy Home Improver: If it needed built or fixed, Dad got the job done–and always had his little helpers nearby to pass the screwdriver or hold a piece of plywood steady.

An Encourager to be an ambassador of God and family.

A Ready Protector of the Sullivan clan.


My younger sister, Lisa, and me helping Dad remodel one of our bedrooms. When finished, it had pink and purple-flowered wallpaper halfway down with white paneling to look like wainscoting. The best part? A purple, ruffled canopy bed. ~ 1976


Dad graduated from Shepherd College (Shepherdstown, WV) when I was six years old. I remember the day. It was so humid and hot, and I was wearing an airy, orange dress that was perfect for twirling. ~ 1977


This is my favorite picture of Dad. (The red barn in the background was one of the many things he designed and built.) ~ 1979


Dad and me at the top of Sunken Road at the Antietam National Battlefield, (Sharpsburg, MD), in 2011. The Battlefield and the C&O Canal Towpath were our two favorite places for family bike rides.

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Riches and Honor: The Putting On of Peonies

With his penknife, Dad cut the top off the empty, plastic milk carton.  He then arranged rocks in the bottom before filling the carton with water from the outdoor spigot.  A man of few words, he walked over to the row of pink and white peonies that lined the turn-around of our long, gravel driveway.  With the use of his trusty penknife, he snipped an equal number of pink and white fragrant stalks from the blossom-laden bushes. Mom arranged them in the milk jug.


Dad, Mom, my two sisters, and I then piled into our old, Chevy pickup truck.  It was a snug fit as we drove down Route 67 to the cemetery in Pleasant Valley, Maryland; but more than this, it was a Memorial Day tradition, this putting of peonies on my grandmother’s grave. We did it every year from the time that I was little until the time that I left home.

I never knew my Grandma Sullivan, but her reputation was as large as life.  She loved people–even (especially) the less than lovely ones.  She was strong in spirit, despite a long-term lung disease that slowly killed her, and she was persistent in her mission to tell (and to show) her community about God–the Creator, Sustainer, and Savior of the world.  Well into my twenties, I would encounter people who said their lives has been forever changed by her charity.  Now her soul is in heaven and her bones are at rest for a time in the grave. During my growing-up years, we preserved her memory with peonies, which are traditionally symbols of riches and honor.

This past week on Twitter, the Eisenhower Library tweeted about a 1955 Memorial Day initiative by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in which he urged the nation to “slow down and live.”  It reminded me of two 1961 photographs that bear my Grandmother’s handwriting.  The photos are of Eisenhower, whom Grandma Sullivan refers to as “General Ike.” The pictures were taken by my grandparents when General Eisenhower visited Hagerstown, Maryland, on September 3, 1961. Eisenhower, who had completed his two-term presidency earlier that year, was in town to speak at the rededication of the Washington Confederate Cemetery, (which is a graveyard for soldiers killed during the Maryland campaigns of the Civil War).  Eisenhower had traveled to Hagerstown from his farm in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, less than an hour away. Also at the rededication was General U.S. Grant III, grandson of Civil War Union General (and 18th President of the United States) Ulysses S. Grant.

I hope that you enjoy these snapshots from America’s past, and I wish you a safe and happy Memorial Day.


General Dwight D. Eisenhower gives the peace sign during his visit to Hagerstown, Maryland, on September 3, 1961, for the rededication of the Washington Confederate Cemetery.


General Dwight D. Eisenhower smiles for my grandparents’ camera during his visit to Hagerstown, Maryland, for the rededication of the Washington Confederate Cemetery on September 3, 1961. Seated to the far left of Eisenhower is U.S. House of Representatives, (6th Congressional District of Maryland), Charles “Mac” Mathias, Jr; and beside General Eisenhower is J. Millard Tawes, Governor of Maryland from 1959-1967.