FORT COLLINS, Colo. (KDVR) – This might be the tastiest book on military history you’ve ever seen.
Members of the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 1879 at Colorado State University in Fort Collins have spent months compiling military family recipes from the last century. The result is a new cookbook, aimed at raising money for local military families.
“Serve: Revisiting a Century of American Legion Auxiliary Cookbooks” was designed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the American Legion, which was chartered by Congress in 1919 to serve veterans who left the service in good standing.
“The decision was made to try and gather cookbooks from around the United States – one from every state,” said Karen Boehler, president of the auxiliary unit. In six months, they gathered 89 books filled with more than 600 recipes.
“The oldest we found, believe it or not, was a reprint of a cookbook from California in 1919,” Boehler said.
Some of the recipes were hilarious.
“The 1919 book had a story about making chicken tamales, and you first go out in the yard and butcher a fat hen. We were instructed in another recipe to use 15 cents worth of ground lamb. And so you can imagine the challenges over the 100 years of trying to find out what in the world the ingredients were and what quantities were appropriate. Many of the cookbooks until the ’60s didn’t indicate a size of a pan or a temperature for cooking or baking,” Boehler said.
As the group whittled down the collection to 221 recipes, the book came together. In between pictures of mouth-watering meals, the auxiliary included a synopsis of each war the US has fought in over the last century, and photos of the national memorials to each of those wars.
“We wanted to educate about the sacrifices our veterans have made,” Boehler said.
They also interviewed a number of local veterans and told their stories.
“And we didn’t sugar-coat things. We talked about, not only all of the strengths that our veterans came home with and all the skills that they learned while in service to America, but also the costs that they paid in terms of physical and emotional health in many cases,” Boehler said.
One-hundred percent of the profits from the book will be used to support the physical, mental and emotional help of Colorado veterans. To purchase a copy of the cookbook, visit the auxiliary’s website.