breaking news

10 sailors missing after USS John S. McCain collides with tanker

Cookbook user: 49 years, 24 Time/Life volumes and 3,300 recipes

The Peking Duck recipe was particularly tricky.


When Carolyn Bohler was 20, she subscribed to Time/Life cookbooks — the innocent beginning of a 49-year “hobby” she just completed in February.

“I made a pie dough and cried because I couldn’t get it in a perfect circle like my mom’s,” said Bohler, a downtown Dayton resident.

“Someone knocked on my door. Ironically, he was selling Time/Life cookbooks, with recipes from all over the world. I agreed to start with the American edition, the first in the series. I had no idea there’d be 24 volumes.

“I didn’t marry until I was 31, so had a decade when I was invited to dinners as a solo, and I’d make something from the cookbook.”

When she married, she and her husband, John, made their own wedding cake. A California native, Bohler came to Dayton to teach at United Theological Seminary. When the couple had children — a son and daughter that were raised here — she found herself using the cookbooks for family meals and potluck dinners, and she’d use a new recipe to prepare a celebration treat for students at the end of classes.

“Each volume contains recipes from a different country, so it helped me understand other cultures.”

She never forced family members to eat her experiments, but some of her creations became family favorites, like tuna Rangoon, oatmeal pancakes and a 3-layer chocolate cake that her daughter still wants on her birthday.

By the time she made chitterlings, which her son-in-law’s family said were fragrant but she didn’t, she had 400 recipes to go out of a total of 3,300. “In retirement, I was determined to complete all of them — it became a compulsion.

“It was a great hobby because nothing accumulates and I had to cook anyway,” she observed. “I was very grateful that my husband was accepting of this, and was involved. He’d go to the grocery to search for ingredients, which were often hard to find.”

When they couldn’t find Tamarind for a chutney recipe, a Persian neighbor led them to a grocery that carried it, but she occasionally had to make substitutions. Elk, eel and truffles were problematic, and when a nephew finally gave her a truffle and she used it in scalloped potatoes, “I really didn’t like it.”

She noted that there are inherent problems with 50-year-old recipes. “Eggs have changed in size, and there are other differences in ingredients and the processes. I often revised and improvised.”

She kept notes on each recipe, writing down the dates, occasions and successes or failures.

John recalls her Peking Duck recipe, since the duck had to hang in the shower for several days. “It’s part of the process to get the juices moved to the exterior,” he said. “That was a fun recipe.”

Although she only cooked the “iffy” recipes for her family, Bohler recalls one recipe for guests that was a complete flop. ”It was chicken and wasn’t done — something was wrong, and it was a real mess.”

Then, there was the black-bottom pie she carried to a dinner, “But, by the time I got there, the pie was out of the pan — I had to invest in good food-carriers.”

She didn’t do the recipes in order, and her last recipe was a French pastry she made on Feb. 11, the night before her 69th birthday. “We’d invited couples, my daughter and her husband who had enjoyed and endured my recipes before,” she said. “The recipe, which took 14 hours to prepare, included puffs of pastry filled with cream – but they didn’t puff. I served the cream on the side and that worked, but I won’t try that one again.”

Now that she’s completed all recipes in all the volumes, she says “I feel a bit of relief. I’m more daring with my cooking and can dream things up on my own.”

And, when she has to have a successful recipe, “I can check my notes and select one that says ‘excellent’ or ‘superb.’ ”

Contact this contributing writer at virgburroughs@gmail.com.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

1979 solar eclipse news report ended with wish for peace in 2017
1979 solar eclipse news report ended with wish for peace in 2017

“May the shadow of the moon fall on a world at peace.” Those were the words of ABC News anchorman Frank Reynolds, who covered the last total eclipse that passed over the continental United States on Feb. 21, 1979. Reynolds ended his broadcast with a hopeful message of world peace in 2017 when the next total eclipse passed over the country...
Eclipse also has relevance for astrologers
Eclipse also has relevance for astrologers

Monday’s total eclipse is a significant event for astronomers, but it also has relevance for astrologers.  On her website, astrologer Marjorie Orr said that several major history-altering events -- including the explosion of the first atomic bomb and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy -- have occurred within a few months...
Eastern Tennessee town prepares for ‘sweetest view’ of eclipse
Eastern Tennessee town prepares for ‘sweetest view’ of eclipse

The east Tennessee town of Sweetwater is normally quiet, with the Lost Sea Adventure caverns its main tourist attraction. On Monday, the town will be bustling with thousands of people ready to view the total eclipse that will be passing through the area. City recorder Jessica Morgan said nearly 50,000 to 60,000 people are expected in town to see...
Funkadelic legend George Clinton visits Dayton Funk Museum
Funkadelic legend George Clinton visits Dayton Funk Museum

He wasn’t wearing his signature funkadelic wig, but George Clinton brought his big presence to Dayton on Sunday. The Rock and Roll hall of famer visited the Funk Music Hall of Fame & Exhibition Center at 113 E. Third St. in downtown Dayton’s Fire Block District on Sunday. Clinton, who has been involved with some of the heaviest hitters...
Group from Latvia travels to Idaho for eclipse
Group from Latvia travels to Idaho for eclipse

A group from Latvia will be among the thousands who will view Monday’s total eclipse, the Idaho Statesman reported. Agnese Zalcmane organized a trip for 22 Latvians, who traveled more than 5,000 miles to Weiser, Idaho, this weekend. Zalcmane has seen seven total eclipses in places including Kazakhstan, Australia, Kenya and Indonesia, the...
More Stories