Jenny Thomason
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Jenny Thomason


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Following the Cooking Directions

Follow the Cooking Directions

In the latest issue of Columns, I visit with wives of local architects who provided support to their husbands’ careers and to each other through participation in the Dallas Architects’ Wives Club. Learn more about the untold history of the group and hear more memories from its past members here.

The Architects’ Wives Club published Cooking Directions in 1976 for the Texas Society of Architects convention in Dallas and republished it in 1978 for the national convention.

“The secret to this book is that you can search by ingredients,” says Babs Cape, chairman of Iadies’ events for the Dallas convention. “I remember the typing went on forever. Then we got our husbands involved to do the graphics.”

The cookbook is “dedicated to the husbands who have been victimized by the failures necessary to achieve success. May you cook with joy, eat with delight — and reduce in private!”

It was that quote in the cookbook that led me to meet these women. One of my co-workers pointed out the blurb in an AIA document about the Architects’ Wives Club cookbook, and I was curious enough to try to find a copy of the cookbook. I got in touch with Connie Hawes and Pat Meyer, who lent me a copy of the cookbook and suggested that the best way to learn about the Architects’ Wives Club was to meet the group. They were absolutely correct, and I am very grateful they organized the reunion.

The favorite recipes, Connie and Pat say, are Angel Biscuits, Marinated Carrots, Mexican Enchilada Casserole and Ward’s Beans. Although Cooking Directions is no longer in print, we’ve included some favorite recipes below and the full cookbook can be downloaded here. 

Angel Biscuits (3-4 dozen)

  • 5 C. flour
  • 1/4 C. sugar
  • 3 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1 C. shortening
  • 2 C. buttermilk
  • 1 pkg dry yeast
  • 4 T. warm water

Sift together first 5 ingredients. Cut in shortening. Add buttermilk and yeast mixture (dry yeast dissolved in the warm water.) Mix and place on well-floured board. Flour your hands, knead the dough for about a minute. Roll out and cut. Dip in melted butter, fold over, place on greased baking sheets. Bake in 400F oven for about 15 minutes.  Biscuits may be frozen before cooking by placing prepared biscuits close together on baking sheet, freezing solid, then placed in a plastic bag or container. Frozen biscuits may be placed directly on greased baking sheets, adding about 5 minutes to baking time.  Dough may be kept in the refrigerator for several days also.

Mrs. Dale E. Selzer (Betty)

Ward’s Border Beans

2 lbs. pinto beans
1 to 2 lbs. cubed slab bacon or ham
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 t. fresh oregano, heaping
6-8 chili pequins
2 level T. salt

Wash beans and place in earthenware pot large enough to hold beans when swelled, but not over 6 qts. Barely cover beans with cold water. Place on very low flame and bring to boil, stirring occasionally, until beans are fully swelled. Add boiling water as needed to keep level just above the beans. Slowly boil for 1 hour. DO NOT COVER.

At end of first hour: add bacon or ham and about 3 T. bacon drippings. Keep heat very low. Beans should cook so slowly that only a bubble oozes to the surface every second[d] or so.

At end of second hour: stir in garlic and continue to cook very slowly, stirring occasionally.

At end of third hour: stir in oregano and chili pequins. The oregano should be spooned into the [palm] of your hand and ground between your palms, sifting into the pot. (This will bring out all the delicate flavor of oregano.) Grind and mash chili pequins; sprinkle into beans.

At end of fourth hour: add salt (1 T. per pound of beans). Beans are now ready to eat although they are better if very slowly simmered for another hour.

At end of fifth hour: spoon out into bowls. Eat with spoon. If you like mushy beans, cook in artesan water. If you don’t, use Ft. Worth water or hard water.

Ward Bogard, AIA Ft. Worth

Submitted by Mrs. Jim Meyer (Pat)

Other Favorites:

Appetizers, Dips, and Hors D’oeuvres

Pineapple Cheese Ball

  • 2 pkg. cream cheese (8 oz.) 
  • 1 can crushed pineapple, drained (8- ½ oz.)
  • 2 C. chopped nuts
  • ½ C. finely chopped green peppers
  • 2 T. grated onion
  • 1 T. seasoned salt

Mix all but 1 C. nuts. Shape in ball and roll in remaining nuts.

Mrs Gary Weeter (Elaine)

Easy Dip

Top a square or rectangle of cream cheese with Picante Sauce. Allow to set about 5 minutes before serving to allow cheese to soften. Good with any firm chip. Wonderful for unexpected guests

Mrs. George W. Cape Jr. (Babs)

Salmon Dip

  • 1 lb. can salmon, flaked
  • 2 8oz. pkgs. cream cheese
  • 1 T. horseradish
  • 1-2 T. lemon juice
  • 1 or 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 or 2 dashes Tabasco

Blend together well. Shape on platter as a fish. Use olive for the eye. Chill. Serve with crackers.

Mrs. Dales Y. Foster (Jan)


  • 3 zucchini, peeled
  • 5 avocados, peeled
  • 2 – ½ lemons (juiced)
  • Salt and garlic salt to taste
  • 1 large carton sour cream
  • 1 purple onion

Slice or dice zucchini and avocados. Dice onion or cut in rings. Cover the avocado with lemon juice. Add the zucchini and onions. Gently toss with the sour cream and season with salt and garlic salt.
Serve as a dip or put in puffed taco shells.

Mrs. Ken Siegel (Georgianne)

Noodle Nibbles


  • 3 T. melted butter or oleo
  • 2 t. soy sauce
  • 4 drops hot pepper sauce

Drizzle over 1 3 oz. can (2 – ¼ C,) of chow mein noodles.

Sprinkle with ¼ t. celery salt and dash of onion powder or garlic or onion salt.
Toss to mix.
Place in jellyroll pan in very slow oven (275 F.) for 12-15 minutes or till lightly browned.

Mrs. George W. Cape Jr. (Babs)

Can add other ingredients: peanuts, chex cereals.

Beverages and Punches

Sudden Death

  • 8 oz. lemon juice
  • 8 oz. honey

Mix together. Add one fifth inexpensive light rum. Just before serving over block of ice in punch bowl, add 1 quart domestic champagne. Garnish as you wish. This can be made 1 week ahead and stored in a glass or plastic container.

Mrs. Jack M. Corgan (Perk)

Hot Rum Punch

Top of percolator (where you would normally put the coffee):

  •  1 T. whole spice
  •  ½ t. allspice
  • ¼ C. brown sugar

In Lieu of water in bottom of percolator:

  • 1 ½ C. cranberry juice
  • 1 ¾ C. water
  • 1 ¼ C. pineapple juice

After brewing, pour into mugs and add rum.

Mrs. Jack M. Corgan (Perk)

Soups & Sauces

Gaspacho (Cold Cucumber Soup)

Put in blender and chop:

  • 1 large onion
  • 2 medium cucumbers (seeded)
  • 4 large tomatoes (fresh or canned)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 4oz. jar pimento


  • 3 C. beef bouillon
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • ¼ C. red wine vinegar
  • 1 t. salt

Blend and chill well.

Mrs. King Graf (Pat)

Jim’s Barbecue Sauce

  • 3 T. salad oil
  • ½ C. chopped onions
  • 1 C. catsup
  • 1/3 C. vinegar
  • ½ C. brown sugar
  • ½ C. honey
  • 2 t. prepared mustard
  • 2 T. Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/8 t. salt

Saute onions in oil in sauce pan. Add remaining ingredients and simmer covered about 10 minutes. Great for ribs! “The secret is the honey.”

Jim Clutts


Curried Fruit Bake

  • 2 bananas
  • ½ C. pitted black cherries
  • 1 #303 can cling peaches
  • 1 #303 can pineapple slices
  • 1 #303 can pear halves
  • Small jar maraschino cherries
  • 1/3 C. butter
  • ¾ C. light brown sugar, packed
  • 4 t. curry powder

Day before heat oven to 325 F. Drain fruits after cutting into bite size pieces. Dry fruit on paper towels; arrange in 1 ½ qt. casserole. Melt butter and add sugar and curry powder. Spoon over fruit. Bake one hour uncovered. Let cool and then refrigerate overnight. When ready to serve reheat casserole in 350 F. oven for 30 minutes.

“Especially pretty for Christmas or any holiday.”

Mrs. Larry Lacy (Carol)

Congealed Tomato Salad

Heat 1 can stewed tomatoes

Add 1 pkg. lemon Jello.

Stir until dissolved and then let cool.

Add ½ C. mayonnaise and mix in blender.

Chill until firm.

Mrs. Leland M. Moss (Gayle)



Use straight out of the can:
cream of shrimp soup over cooked cauliflower

Mrs. Ed. Bennett (Lou)

Breads & Sandwiches

Sour Cream Coffee Cake #2

  • ½ C. butter or oleo (1 stick)
  • 1 C. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 2 C. sifted flour
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. soda
  • ¼ t. salt
  • 1 C. sour cream (8 oz. carton)


  • ½ C. chopped pecans
  • ½ C. sugar
  • 2 t. cinnamon

Cream butter and sugar, add eggs, vanilla and beat well. Sift together dry ingredients. Add sifted ingredients and sour cream alternately. Beat well. Mix nuts, ½ C. sugar and cinnamon. Put half of batter into lightly greased 10-inch tube pan. Sprinkle half of nut mixture over top. Add rest of batter, then last of nut mixture. Bake at 350 F. for 45 minutes. Stays moist for a long time.

Mrs. Allen Pierce (Donna)

Cakes & Frostings

Applesauce-Mincemeat Cake

  • 1 pkg. applesauce cake mix
  • 1 jar Borden’s Mincemeat
  • 1 C. chopped nuts
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ C. water

Blend and beat as instructed on package.

Grease and flour sheet cake pan or tube pan.

Bake at 350 F. for about 50 minutes, or until tester comes out clean.

Cool before turning out.

Mrs. Jack Craycroft (Shirley)

Harvey Wallbanger Supreme Cake

  • 1 pkg. Duncan Hines Orange Supreme Deluxe Cake Mix
  • 1 pkg. vanilla instant pudding mix (3 ¾ oz.)
  • ½ C. Crisco oil
  • 4 oz. frozen orange juice
  • 4 oz. water
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 oz. Galliano
  • 1 oz. vodka

Blend all ingredients in large bowl; beat 5 minutes. Pour into greased and floured 10” tube pan. Bake at 350 F. for 45 – 55 minutes until center springs back when touched lightly. Cool in pan about 15 minutes.

Glaze: Blend well –1C. confectioners sugar, 1 T. orange juice, 1 ½ T. Galliano, 1 T. vodka.

Spread over warm cake.

Mrs. George W. Cape, Jr. (Babs)

Easy Tomato Soup Spice Cake

Prepare batter from 1 pkg. spice cake mix according to pkg. directions, but using 1 can condensed tomato soup plus ¼ C. water in place of liquid called for on cake mix box. Add ½ C. each seedless raisins and chopped nuts. Bake in 2 paper-lined 8” round pans at 350 F. about 30-35 minutes or until done. Cool 10 minutes before removing.

Frost with a cream cheese/confectioners sugar frosting.

Mrs. George W. Cape, Jr. (Babs)

Cookies, Bars, & Candies

Fry Pan Cookies

  • 1 C. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ C. chopped dates
  • 2 T. butter
  • ½ t. salt
  • ½ C. chopped nuts
  • 2 C. Rice Krispies
  • Flaked coconut

Combine first 5 ingredients and cook in heavy skillet over low fire for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly until thick. Let cool. Then add nuts and Rice Krispies. Drop by spoonfuls into flaked coconut. Form into balls. (For smaller cookies, use a teaspoon).

Mrs. Jackson B. Atkinson (Ruth)

Ecology Recipe

Recycle your grapefruit peel (Candied Grapefruit)

Peel from 4 grapefruits, cut into ¼” strips

  • 1 t. salt
  • 3 C. sugar

Cover grapefruit peel with water and add salt.

Boil for 15 minutes. Pour off water and add fresh water (no more salt). Boil for 2 minutes. Again pour off water and add fresh water. Boil again for 20 minutes.

Drain peel and cover with 3 C. sugar and 1 C. water. Simmer, stirring frequently until syrup boils away. Spread peel on waxed paper. Roll in sugar, or shake several pieces at a time in a coffee can, adding sugar as needed.

Dry on wax paper several hours and store in covered container. Can be frozen for holiday gifts.

If you like, ¼ C. brandy can be added to the final syrup.

Note: Be sure to remove the white pith from the peel as it can be bitter.

Mrs. Harris Kemp (Carol)


Blueberry Slump or Blueberry Flummery
(old New-England recipe – also called the “Grunts”)

Place four C. of berries in a saucepan with one cup sugar and simmer gently for ten minutes.

Trim the crusts from eight slices of bread; butter the bread generously and trimmed to fit, line a baking dish with it. Pour some of the warm berries and juice over the bread, and continue with alternate layers of bread and fruit, ending with fruit.

Bake in moderate oven for 20 minutes. Serve with whipping cream. Can be made with raspberries or strawberries, too.

Mrs. C. Jack Corgan (Carol)

Grand Hotel Frozen Oranges

  • 1 beautiful orange per person
  • Orange or Pineapple Sherbert

The day before:

Slice the top off the orange – about the size of a 50 cent piece or larger. With a sharp paring knife or a steak knife, cut out a cone-shaped center from the orange.

Use a teaspoon to scrape the insides until all the orange is removed from the rind. (Use insides from fresh orange juice!)

Fill the orange rinds with slightly softened sherbert and replace top slices. Freeze firmly. The Oranges look well in rice bowls and they won’t roll so easily. Accompany them with a brownie or a bit of fresh fruit. Always makes a hit and tastes great after a heavy meal or on a summer evening.

Mrs. George W. Cape Jr. (Babs)

Camping Surprises


Mix together in individual plastic bags:

Raisins, mixed nuts and M&M’s.

Every hiker needs this for energy.

Mrs. Allen Pierce (Donna)

Pot Roast – Cooked in the Ground

  • 12” Dutch oven
  • 3-5 lb. roast
  • 3-5 lb. potatoes
  • 3-5 lb. turnips
  • 2 lbs. carrots
  • 2 large onions

Add Miers #22 sherry, wine vinegar, hot beer or tap water to the following spices to make a 1 cup concoction:

  • Some salt
  • Some pepper
  • Some garlic powder
  • Several bay leaves
  • Some Worcestershire sauce
  • Some A-1 sauce
  • Some parsley flakes

Dig a hole, with straight sides, 4” larger in diameter and 4” deeper than your Dutch oven. In this hole you build a fire –a big fire. Use a dense wood such as oak, pecan, hickory, gum, etc.

It will take about an hour or more for the fire to render itself to coals, so towards the latter part of it prepare the vegetables by cutting them into chunks.

This method requires a pre-heated oven and lid to prevent heat from being drawn out of the iron by cold ingredients, so keep them close to the fire –not too close, however. Rotate them every 5 minutes or so to prevent burning the seasoning of the oven.

When the coals are read, place the oven on them and throw in a piece of suet cut from the roast. When it starts to smoke, immediately sear the meat on all sides.

Remove the oven from the whole; stir up the colas a bit and remove about half of them. Place them in a pile a foot or so from the hole. Replace the oven in the hole; add vegetables and the cup of liquid seasonings. Then cover with lid. Place the remaining coals around the oven and on the lids. Then loosely cover the whole ball of wax up with 4” of dirt –honest!

One or two other things: this meal will be read to “exhume” in 4 hours. However, it will be OK in the ground up to 6 or 8 hours in that it cannot overcook.

As in all outdoor cooking, use coals and not an open flame. Don’t try to hurry the process – wait for a good bed of coals.

Lastly – all the spices can be omitted if not handy except salt, pepper and 1 cup (no more) of water.

Remember, “Hunger is the best seasoning.”

Joe E. Guthrie


Learn more about the history of the Dallas Architects’ Wives Club and hear more memories from its past members online here.


Jenny Thomason, AIA, is an associate at OMNIPLAN.