Community and continuity are key ingredients in the success of the Amarillo Junior League Cookbook, so too are hard work and cultivation as symbolized by the asparagus on the cover (it takes several years until the plant is ready to harvest). The cookbook, which was published in the league’s fiftieth anniversary year, is presented like a buffet at a family reunion, with a little bit of everything and a whole lot of love.
Recalling the priorities of an Amarillo woman battling the arid Panhandle climate, the book opens with a recipe for hand and face cream that, like the timeless food recipes, “never gets old.” The cookbook’s initial recipes first appeared in earlier editions and link Amarillo’s past and present. The subsequent recipes reflect the city’s growing population, as each section includes not only traditional fare but also a nice peppering of Asian, German, Italian, African, Mexican, and Mediterranean selections.
The appetizers kick off the theme of variety, offering everything from Cream Cheese Puffs to Tamale Balls to Sugared Peanuts. The soup section is equally diverse, with recipes for Gazpacho, Crab Bisque, and Posole, a traditional Mexican stew. And what Panhandle cookbook would be complete without sixteen recipes for molded salad?
Cheeseburger Pie, Hungarian Goulash, Meatloaf, and Quick Chili are just a few of the many entré selections. But for fine dining, the cookbook suggests specialties like Golden Goose for Ten on Christmas Eve and side dish options like Creamed Asparagus, Glazed Carrots, and Baked Artichokes. A potpourri of names accompanies many of the main dishes. Take, for instance, Simon and Garfunkle Chicken or Jay Taylor’s Pork Sausage Scrapple.
Finally, for those stricken with a sweet tooth, the Amarillo Junior League offers recipes for delectable desserts such as Chocolate Chiffon Cake, Sweet Potato Cake, Pumpkin Roll, and Forgotten Cookies, tasty treats left in a cooling oven overnight and enjoyed the next day.
Like the asparagus on the cover, the Amarillo Junior League Cookbook is a tightly bound bundle of creations. For the busy cook who seeks a one-stop cooking resource, this book is an Amarillo tradition.