Do You Like Old-Fashioned Recipes?

Grandmother’s Legacy – A Collection of Butler County Recipes From the 1920’s and 30’s

If you like recipes from your grandmother’s day, then this is just the book for you. Many cooks throughout Butler County, Kansas, contributed their old family recipes for this compilation. It was published in 2001 but it’s hard to get your hands on a copy these days.

cookbooks grandmother's legacy

Cookbooks from Gail Lee Martin’s collection

It includes several of my own grandmothers’ recipes (Ruth McGhee and Cora Martin) and some of my mother’s (Gail Lee Martin).

Look for hearty fare like dumplings, old-time bread starter, and some recipes from the Great Depression era like mock chicken pie. There are sweets to try such as bread pudding with lemon sauce or make a vinegar pie. I’m certainly tempted to make the coconut orange delight cake sometime for a special occasion.

(review by Virginia Allain – originally posted on Amazon)


A Comment on Mom’s Book

Six years ago, a friend of Gail Martin on the Our Echo website sent this comment as she was reading My Flint Hills Childhood.
“So far, Gail, I’m lost in the pleasantness of all your memories. No critical words…no terrible tragedy. Just an honest and open type of life that seems to have faded away
as the years have gone by, for the most part.
I know it is probably wrong to think more of yesteryear than today, but I wish the country held to the same traditions and standards of before. I’d gladly give up the Internet and all modern conveniences to enjoy the good times like you and I had growing up. Ahhh….”   R.S.
You can preview the book at the Blurb website.
Her note to Gail reminded me of an earlier post on this blog, Living in the Good Old Days.

My Social Book – A Review

If you use Facebook, you see the ads all the time for My Social Book. I was curious, so I tried it out. My mother (Gail Lee Martin) died in 2013 and I worried that her Facebook page with all her social media history would be lost.

I ordered one with her Facebook pictures/posts/comments in it. It was a way to save the information from her Facebook page in case it ever disappears. It was only about $16, as they had a special and she was not a prolific commenter.

Here’s what her book looks like.

It slurps up the content from a Facebook profile and turns it into a nicely bound paperback book.

You can go through the preview and remove some things like trivial comments or too many of the same picture. It’s a little awkward using their tool to take out duplicate and unimportant content, but it saves some costs by keeping the book shorter.

I recently had the thought that it would be great to save some family group pages from Facebook into a My Social Book. That would preserve the photos and family history being shared there. Unfortunately, this isn’t allowed since there are privacy issues that Facebook enforces. I can understand why they have that rule but sure would have been a nice easy way to save some family history.


Fans of Gail Lee Martin’s Book

Here’s a comment by Gerald Brazil: “Gail grew up in the 30’s in the oil fields of Greenwood County and her book paints a very real picture of the time and place.
Gail’s book is not only well written, it is beautifully and professionally crafted with black and white photographs integrated with the text.

Gail’s book won the 2010 Kansas Authors Club’s Ferguson Kansas History Award.”
November 1, 2011

  • Momose

    Peggy StricklandWhat a wonderful tribute, Gail, to your family and heritage! You are an inspiration to those wondering if their life experiences could make a compelling read for others. I look forward to reading more.

    Peggy Strickland   July 24, 2010

  • kboybob

    Jerry Flynn  “I loved the preview. You are very talented. June 1, 2010

  • Here’s a comment received by Gail’s daughter via e-mail:
    “I just wanted to let you know that I just received your mother’s book.
    It’s just wonderful. I’m so impressed with her writing and what you’ve done with it.” Scott   January 21, 2010

  • “Ok, you are the BEST! Your description of Saturday at the movies prompted much reminiscing by my 92-year-old Mom and me. You guys must have been at the same theater (or they were all like that!). Thanks so much. This is a wonderful story.” (Lori Burdoo) November 23, 2009

    “I loved the story about decorating for Christmas. The glimpse of your life in those days was so interesting and wonderful. What a contrast to the commercial holiday of today. I loved your descriptions and the pictures are great (especially the ones with the Halloween memories). Great reading!” (Mandica)

    “I particularly liked reading about the prairie dolls. Very sweet and nostalgic story. Thanks for sharing this dying art with us.” (Cherst)
    “You are a wonderful writer. Thank you for sharing.” (Veryirie)

    “You are such an inspiration, I love all of the stories I’ve read so far. I checked out your book on Blurb, how fascinating!” (Cindy Sully)

    “I am always riveted to your storylines… you have a flair for drama and detail. I’m glad you’re writing your memoirs in book form, it will be a hit!” (Shirley Philbrick)

    “I love reading your stories. I never want them to end.” (J.M. Knudson)
    “The health remedies bring back some great memories of growing up. Thank you for it.” (Kimi from eHow)


From Gail’s Bookshelf – As I Remember It

Esther Imhof was born in 1914 and recounts her family’s efforts to turn virgin Kansas prairie into a productive farm. Her memories are preserved in As I Remember It.

Their hard work brings some success until the drought and dust storms of the 1930s come along. The memoir contains fascinating details of daily life of a farm family with activities like hog butchering, wheat threshing and raising chickens and eggs for a cash crop. (review by Virginia Allain)

Ray Imhof encouraged his mother, Esther, to write her memories which he compiled to make this book. Esther Imhof died in 1996. I wonder if my mother, Gail Lee Martin, met Esther or her son, Ray. Esther and Mom would have had a great time talking about the old days.


L is for Liking the Book

Radell Smith of the Yahoo Contributor Network interviewed Bobbie H. Here’s what Smith wrote:

She had been asked to take a gander at Gail Martin’s “My Flint Hills Childhood” and see if she could relate to the stories woven by an octogenarian from Kansas. The request, more an effort to help Bobbie find her own biographical voice, turned out quite a different result entirely.

I have to express my pleasure and thoughts about this little masterpiece,” Bobbie concluded when asked to share her thoughts about the life and times of Gail’s family in 1930s Kansas.

Bobbie says that as she went deeper into Gail Martin’s biographical account of what it was like to live in the Kansas prairie during the era of the Depression, she couldn’t help but “think back to my own childhood and relive many memories of my own.

While not a product of that generation, Bobbie says some activities and actions by Gail and her family resonated with her anyway.

“My Flint Hills Childhood” and the Depression Period

Gail grew up during some of the hardest times America has ever known,” Bobbie lamented, adding, “Because of ancestors who knew the most important things in life was God and family, she was instilled with great values of love of God, family, and country.”

In our current economic climate, those values would be a welcome attribute today many would conclude. But this reader wasn’t finished with her accolades for Ms. Martin, heaping more praise for the book with less than 200 pages from cover to cover.


Gail also learned survival techniques which have obviously served her well.

Indeed, the octogenarian is still around to tell others about them, serving previously as a webmaster for an online memory-writing website called Our Echo. The friendly and informative writing venue encourages others to do like Gail and share treasured family memories about bygone eras — or current ones, for the younger generation. (since this article came out in 2011, Gail Martin has died)

You can pick up a copy of Gail’s historical journey for yourself from Amazon or go directly to the publishing entity known as There’s an author website at and a fan page at the Gail Lee Martin Facebook Page.

Gail’s book “My Flint Hills Childhood” won the 2010 Ferguson Kansas History Book Award and the author has enjoyed the attention of writers as esteemed as those found on USA Today, who say that “Grandma’s greener than you.” The USA Today article featured Gail’s memories of thrifty times in the 1930s.


The Other End of the String (a Book from Gail’s Bookshelf)

This book from Gail Lee Martin’s bookshelf is reviewed here by her daughter, Virginia Allain.

Growing up in the Pegram family is lovingly detailed but not in a maudlin way. This is like Little House on the Prairie updated to the 1920s and 1930s. It’s a time of hardship and learning to make the most of what you have.

It’s the stories honed by many retellings as the family sat on the porch in the twilight after a hard summer day of working in the garden. The rememberings are woven together into this very personal book that also tells the story of that era.

I’ve read dozens of memoirs from this time period and this one is special. A very enjoyable read.