Old Farm Country Cookbook: Recipes, Menus, and Memories

By Jerry Apps Susan Apps-Bodilly

Paperback: $26.95

ISBN: 978-0-87020-830-0

224 pages, 43 color and b&w photos, 7 x 9 E-book Edition Available


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Return to an era when all food was local and farming was a family-run affair. When Jerry Apps was growing up on a Wisconsin farm in the 1930s and1940s, times were tough. Yet most folks living on farms had plenty to eat. Preparing food from scratch was just the way things were done, and people knew what was in their food and where it came from. Delicious meals were at the center of every family and social affair, whether it be a threshing-day dinner with all the neighbors, the end-of-school-year picnic, or just a hearty supper after chores were done.

As Jerry writes, "For me food will always be associated with times of good eating, storytelling, laughter, and good-hearted fun."

Inspired by the dishes made by his mother, Eleanor, and featuring recipes found in her well-worn recipe box, Jerry and his daughter, Susan, take us on a culinary tour of life on the farm during the Depression and World War II. Seasoned with personal stories, menus, and family photos, Old Farm Country Cookbook recalls a time when electricity had not yet found its way to the farm, when making sauerkraut was a family endeavor, and when homemade ice cream tasted better than anything you could buy at the store.

Discover more books by Jerry Apps on our Jerry Apps author page here.

To receive a media review copy, interview the authors, or for more information, contact the Wisconsin Historical Society Press Marketing Department at whspress@wisconsinhistory.org.

Jerry Apps has been a rural historian and environmental writer for more than forty years. He is a former county extension agent and professor for the University of Wisconsin College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. He is the author of many books on rural history, country living, and environmental issues, including "Old Farm: A History" and "Garden Wisdom: Lessons Learned from 60 Years of Gardening." Jerry and his wife, Ruth, divide their time between their home in Madison and their farm, Roshara, in Waushara County.

Susan Apps-Bodilly has been an elementary and middle school teacher for more than twenty years. She is the author of "One Room Schools: Stories from the Days of 1 Room, 1 Teacher, 8 Grades." Susan lives in Madison with her husband, Paul. When she's not reading, teaching, or writing, she loves biking or hiking in the woods with her family.

“A delightful trip down memory lane, Old Farm Country Cookbook transports readers to an era when the food was local and farming was a family-run affair. Filled with forgotten recipes and thoughtful anecdotes, it’s sure to leave readers with an appetite for headcheese and an appreciation for indoor plumbing.”

—INGA WITSCHER, Fourth-Generation, & Host of “Around the Farm Table”


 This memoir-cookbook is a warm-hearted yet realistic study of food and farm life in days gone by, a time when the noon meal was called ‘dinner’ and families left the back door unlocked for the ice man. Jerry guides us through farmhouse, fields, garden, barn, woods, and community to reveal how food-related concerns and satisfactions infused nearly every aspect of country life. Susan’s family recipes— canned chicken, fresh peas in milk sauce, wild blueberry cobbler—channel beloved flavors and bygone techniques. From ring bologna and whiskey slings to feed-sack aprons and the green-stained fingers of cucumber pickers,

Old Farm Country Cookbook is a literary way-back machine that vividly, lovingly, and deliciously details the food culture of a younger time.”

 CHEF TERESE ALLEN, coauthor of The Flavor of Wisconsin

& cofounder of The Culinary History Enthusiasts of Wisconsin (CHEW)