Fort Wayne – Since June, Linda Troyer of Paulding County, Ohio, has been a member of the John Paulding Historical Society in Paulding.
I’ve been coming since the last of January. Tuesday is volunteer days. I help out in the kitchen, Troyer says.
Then looking over at her friend, Dave Stouffer, 77, she adds, Someone got me started.
Calmly, he replies, I’ve been here 10 or 12 years.
Now retired, Troyer had worked at the Paulding Exempt Schools in the kitchen for 30 years, with the last 10 years as the head cook.
Then I went back for a three-hour job for seven years. I didn’t have to use my head anymore, she says with a chuckle.
Asked how old she is, Troyer answers, I just turned 37. That’s what I tell people.
Then with a laugh, she says, No, I’m 73. I just turned 73.
Although she has two sons, five grandsons, two granddaughters and one great-granddaughter, Troyer says she doesn’t cook as much at home except for special occasions.
I take stuff to places. I’ve taken stuff to Dave’s house and his sister will come over. My sister and I go to (The) High Water Hall in Ottawa, Ohio. We bring food, other people do, too, she says.
Pointing to the plate with a slice of Easy Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake Pie, she adds, I would bring something like that pie or another new recipe.
A favorite dish of her grandchildren is Troyer’s beef and noodles.
I think one Christmas I didn’t make it and they wondered where they were. I make that for Christmas and Easter. I make the whole dinner: turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, a vegetable and macaroni and cheese, she says.
Q. What’s your favorite cookbook?
A. For my wedding, 50-plus years ago, I got a Betty Crocker (cookbook). I’ve used it. I follow the directions the first time. Like that sauerkraut recipe. I followed it the first time. Then I added potatoes to it.
Q. How many cookbooks do you think you own?
A. Oh, just like everybody does. The one I really like is that Kraft magazine. I really like that one. I’ve got 25 (cookbooks). That’s a good number.
Q. Other than beef and noodles, what’s your go-to meal?
A. The other easy food to make is green beans, potatoes and ham. Or beef stew. They’re all easy to put together.
Q. Who would you consider as your cooking idol?
A. My grandmother, (the late) Lulu Johnson. I stayed with her one summer. I was about 13. She sat and told me what to do. She had a health problem, I think high blood pressure, and she needed help that summer.
Q. What’s something people would not find in your refrigerator?
A. Beer. I don’t drink beer.
Q. What advice would you give beginner cooks?
A. Have fun. Follow the recipe the first time and then do what you want
Q. If you were stuck on an island, what food would you have to have?
A. Hot fudge sundae. I’ve thought about this; if it was my last meal, what would I have? Hot fudge sundae and I don’t remember the other. Remember? I just turned 37.
Easy Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake Pie
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted peanuts, chopped, divided
1 (9-inch) prepared chocolate crumb crust
2 tablespoons caramel topping, divided
1 2/3 cups (11 ounces) peanut butter and milk chocolate morsels
1/4 cup milk
1 (8 ounces) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed
Sprinkle 1/4 cup peanuts onto bottom of pie crust. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon caramel topping. Combine morsels and milk in medium, uncovered microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium-high power for 45 seconds; stir. The morsels may retain some of their shape. If necessary, microwave at additional 10 to 15 second intervals, stirring until smooth. Beat cream cheese and sugar in large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in chocolate mixture. Add whipped topping and stir vigorously until smooth. Spoon into prepared pie crust and swirl top. Sprinkle with remaining peanuts and drizzle with remaining caramel topping. Cover; refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Makes 8 servings.
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (16-ounce) container sour cream
1/2 cup mild salsa
1 (1-ounce) packet mild taco seasoning mix
1 (1-ounce) packet onion soup mix
4 cups lettuce shredded
3 cups Mexican-style cheese shredded
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 cup canned french-fried onions, coarsely crushed, optional
Combine cream cheese, sour cream, salsa, taco seasoning and onion soup mix in a medium bowl. Blend well with a mixer at low speed. Spoon into a shallow bowl, or a 13-by-9-inch baking dish, and smooth top. Sprinkle lettuce over cream cheese mixture. Top with cheese and tomatoes. For added crunch, add french-fried onions to the top before serving. Serve with tortilla chips. Makes 14 servings.
Martha Strahley’s Recipe
1 pound kielbasa, cut lengthwise and then crosswise
1 (48-ounce) jar Great Northern Beans
1 (32-ounce) jar sauerkraut, drained and rinsed
2 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup ketchup
2 large potatoes, cubed, cooked and drained
Place kielbasa, beans, sauerkraut, brown sugar and ketchup on slow cooker. Cook on high for 3 hours. Stir half-way through cooking time and add cooked potatoes. Makes 6 to 8 servings.