Fun, feasting and family tradition are compiled into the new State Fair Community College (SFCC) cookbook, “How to Eat Like a Roadrunner, a Cookbook Celebrating 40 Years of Food and Fun.”
It began with the enjoyment of food when the college was called Plywood U. and progressed to a fall food fest in the Yeater Building years ago. It has grown into a multi-building, multi-staff gatherings of camaraderie and cuisine over the years.
“I think the wonderful thing about this cookbook is it celebrates the history of the college,” SFCC President Marsha Drennon said.
Along with the history, the anecdotes and color photos make it special, said Debbie Noland, cookbook editor and chairwoman of the 40th Anniversary Steering Committee.
“It brings back the memories,” said Shirley Evans, head cookbook committee member.
Committee members Betty Blackwell, Leora Bremer, Shonna Dady, Judy Ragan, Merrilyn Williams and Evans began collecting recipes in July for the cookbook that is part of the yearlong 40th anniversary celebration.
Photos were collected from Evans, Blackwell, Noland, Jackie Aldridge and old yearbook pictures, the women said.
“We had pictures that went clear back to the first fall food fest, up to this year,” Ragan said.
There are also photos of SFCC’s first president, Fred Davis, and his wife.
“He really set the stage for family-oriented food,” Evans said.
For many years, he and his wife would have staff, faculty and students over for food celebrations.
“No matter how little we had, we had food and we shared it,” Noland said.
Dady said the cookbook features about 150 of SFCC’s most requested recipes.
Drennon and Noland said the recipes are all homegrown and homemade.
The recipes and stories in the cookbook bridge SFCC’s retired and current “family” of faculty and staff, featuring more than 70 cooks.
“I think that’s important, because I don’t think these two generations knew each other,” said Noland.
“I think the thread that keeps everybody involved is the food fests,” said Evans.
“And, they aren’t just an hour long,” Dr. Drennon said.
Many times a food fest can last four or more hours.
“It’s important to note, if you arrive late, there won’t be much left,” said Boni Lee, director of counseling and career services.
“It’s the first thing you put on your calendar,” Ragan added.
The cookbook is divided into sections featuring appetizers and dips, breads, candy and snacks, desserts, drinks, main dishes, salads and sides. It has a handy index for finding your favorite dish and is filled with stories and photos of food gatherings over the years.
Dr. Drennon’s cow-flop cake recipe comes with an amusing story.
“Thirty five years ago I made a coffee cake for New Year’s Day, and my youngest daughter was 3 years old,” she said. “I found the recipe in Good Housekeeping and it was called Sandy’s Cake. My 3-year-old came up to me and said, ‘Mom, that looks like a cow flop.’ I didn’t even know she knew what a cow flop was.”
The name stuck. Cow flop cake is still popular in the Drennon household and on campus. Her daughter, now 32, asked for the cake on her birthday. Dr. Drennon mailed the cake to her home in Van Nuys, Calf.
“It cost $52 to send it,” she said.
Everyone knows Boni Lee for her baking talents. For years, she’s made colorfully decorated sugar cookies that can take hours to create.
Although now she only bakes cookies and cakes for gifts and campus food fests, she used to bake for weddings and other events. Recently she spent two hours baking 17 dozen cookies that subsequently took seven to nine hours to decorate.
Beverly Wilkerson, chairwoman of the allied health and physical education department, is known for opening her home each December for a breakfast. She makes homemade cinnamon rolls, three types of egg casseroles, two to three types of muffins, banana bread, coffee cake, a fruit salad and banana punch for Roadrunners to feast on.
“It’s like my Christmas gift to the department, we even invite the retirees,” she said.
“She’s a fabulous cook and she cooks and shares a lot,” said Evans.
From wiener roasts, bonfires and hayrides to the Thanksgiving dinner service project and Roadrunner fudge made by Elves and Alma’s Roadrunner cafe — this cookbook has it all. It sells for $6, tax included.
“It’s a totally in-house project. That allows us to charge less for it,” said Evans.
Cow flop cake
1 box of yellow cake mix
1 box instant vanilla
3/4 cup oil
1 cup water
2 sticks butter, softened
Mix cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl. I use quite a lot of cinnamon, but you can adjust the combination to your taste.
Mix all of the above ingredients in a large bowl. Grease and flour a large iron skillet. Pour ingredients into the skillet and bake in 350 degrees for about 35 minutes. Watch carefully and don’t let the cake get too brown on the top. You may need to check with a toothpick and make sure it is clean before taking out of the oven.
Turn the cake onto a serving plate immediately after taking it out of the oven. Using a brush, coat the cake (top and sides) with butter and then spread the cinnamon and sugar. Repeat until the butter and cinnamon mixture is gone. The more topping the better! This cake gets better with age and is great with coffee in the morning, after supper, a late night snack and any time in between.
P.S. You must use the iron skillet, but I’m not sure why. It just doesn’t turn out the same if you don’t.
Source: Dr. Marsha Drennon, president of SFCC
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups shortening
1 tablespoon vanilla
4 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking
1/2 teaspoon salt
Add alternately with eight-teaspoons milk to creamed mixture, stirring to mix well. Chill about four hours. Roll out on flour-coated surface to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut with well-floured cookie cutters. Place on ungreased cooking sheet about 1/2-inch apart. Bake in 325-degree oven 10 to 12 minutes until very lightly golden. Cool slightly before removing from sheet. Cool completely before icing.
Sugar cookie icing
2 sticks butter or
2 pound bag powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/4 to 1/3 cup milk at room temperature
Cream butter with about 1/3 of the powdered sugar. Add vanilla and half of the milk. Add remainder of powdered sugar. Add enough milk to spreading consistency. For decorating, use less milk to achieve slightly stiffer consistency. GEL icing colors will make darker color and will not thicken the icing.
Source: Boni Lee, SFCC director of counseling and career services
2 pounds bulk pork sausage (spicy)
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup chopped sweet red pepper
1 30-ounce package frozen shredded hashbrowns
1 carton onion dip
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1/4 cup chopped green
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Brown and drain sausage. Combine 3/4-cup of the cheese and the rest of the ingredients except pork sausage. Mix into the potatoes. Place in nine-by-15-inch dish. Top with sausage and then the rest of the cheese. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. You may also spread half the potatoes then sausage and top with remaining potatoes and then cheese.
Source: Bev Wilkerson, SFCC nursing instructor
Curry chicken casserole
3 to 4 whole chicken breasts; boil in water with 1/4-teaspoon curry powder
2 packages frozen broccoli, cooked
2 cans cream of chicken soups
1 cup real mayonnaise
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
Put broccoli in bottom of nine-by-13-inch pan, add chicken breasts, cover with sauce. Sprinkle with 1/2-cup shredded cheddar cheese. Put buttered bread crumbs, chow mein noodles or french fried onions on top during last 15 minutes.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes — until bubbly.
Source: Former SFCC President and his wife, Fred and Margie Davis