Ready or Not #44: Searchlight Cookbook

One of the things that my father, and my mother, taught me was eating the old way, making things from scratch, using everything that the Lord provided and appreciating it. When he passed away he left me a treasure. It was an old cookbook that was handed down to him from his mother. It is an old Searchlight Cookbook from 1938, complete with dog-eared, stained and written on pages.

Dad and I talked about me getting this cookbook when he eventually passed away because I dearly wanted his book; it had a lot of the old ways of cooking and the authors were very creative and not squeamish about recipes that nowadays most people turn their noses up at (like pickled pigs feet).

Another thing that I like about these old cookbooks is that it doesn’t ask you to use a “packaged cake mix” in any of the recipes; instead, it gives you the one egg cake recipe to finish whatever you are making. Everything is really basic, creative and extremely tasty.

The thing that really excited me was the first couple of pages before the recipes started. It was five pages of cooking terms, explanations, general helps and guides to cooking and baking. Have you ever wondered how the pioneer women knew how hot an oven was, or how hot the oil was before digital thermometers and self-heating ovens? I did, and this cookbook shares all of that information and more.

I copied much of these helps for you and you can find them in the Cooking section here on our site. Have you ever wondered what basic cooking definitions meant? How about different baking terms? It had all of this information and a lot of miscellaneous general helps that I found fascinating. Many I knew, but some I did not.

And yes, just to let you know, I have made pickled pigs feet. Technically I didn’t use the pig’s feet, but I did use a pork roast. Basically it is just a tasty way to pickle and preserve meat, and I love it. If you are brave enough to try this recipe, I think that you will find it grows on you and it tastes really good.

Pickled Pigs Feet (and no, you don’t have to use real pig feet)

1 raw pork roast (or 4 pig’s feet)
2 teaspoons whole cloves
1 Bay leaf
4 cups white vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
1 onion (or teaspoon dehydrated onions)
½ teaspoon pepper

Boil meat until cooked. Cut up into small ½” to 1” pieces and place in bowl. Combine vinegar, cloves, salt, pepper, bay leaf and onion. Boil 30 minutes and add 2 cups broth in which the meat was cooked. Strain. Pour over pork roast. Cover and let stand in the refrigerator for 3 days before using.

After it has set up, it should be congealed, then just take a portion and eat it as a side, or you can make a sandwich with it. I prefer to eat it as a side dish or a snack. It is good to try new things and to know that we can make things from scratch and remember the old ways – before everything was pre-packaged.

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