My turn: Spry cookbook golden find at library

I struck gold at the used book sale at the Portales Public Library last week, and it cost me only a quarter.

Betty Williamson

Betty Williamson

My treasure is a tattered 50-page booklet called “Aunt Jenny’s Favorite Recipes,” most likely a freebie when it was published in the early 1940s to promote Spry, a brand of vegetable shortening with the catchy motto: “It’s Triple Creamed!”

Seen 70 years later through filters that set off alarms at the notion of hydrogenation and saturated fats, the pamphlet is now more time capsule than cookbook.

The pages are dotted with black and white photos of the chipper gray-haired Aunt Jenny, and her devoted husband, Uncle Calvin. Via cartoon speech bubbles, Aunt Jenny assures readers that her recipes are “not too fussy or hard on the pocketbook, but good-tastin’ … an’ so digestible even a child can eat ‘em.” Uncle Calvin chimes in affirmations like, “Say, Jenny, this chocolate cake of yours is a humdinger!”

My favorite quote (although it’s hard to pick) is from Aunt Jenny: “Since I been fryin’ the Spry way, you should see all the doughnuts, French fries, and fried chicken my husband, Calvin, stows away! And they’re so good for him, too!”

Alas, Spry is no longer available, even in the “the handy, family-size 6-pound can.”

Let me know if your cholesterol is too low. I’ll share a few recipes.

Following Aunt Jenny’s lead, Betty Williamson pledges to make her food so digestible even a child can eat it. You may reach her at

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