MONMOUTH – Mildred Robinson of Monmouth has been cooking almost all of her life. “I joined the 4-H club when I was 10. Then as I got older, I took home economics in school. There, I learned cooking, sewing and housekeeping. Of course, then I graduated and got married. So, I had a family to cook for, then.”

Her cooking skills weren’t reserved for her personal kitchen, though. Robinson became the school lunch program director for the Monmouth schools. There she learned about the challenges of preparing meals for many people.

“It involved making menus every two weeks for the schools. Not only did I plan, but I did inventory and was one of the cooks, too. I think at one point we hand-peeled about 50 pounds of potatoes a day!”

Now that she’s 93, Robinson doesn’t let age or the fact that she’s legally blind keep her out of the kitchen she loves so much. “There are things that help me in the kitchen. I have a great set of measuring cups: They are dark brown with large white numbers marking the measurements. That way I can see them. I also love using my bread machine. Making cinnamon raisin bread is my absolute favorite in the machine!”

Robinson has a “drawer full of cookbooks,” but still relies on her old favorites. “I love to whip up all-bran muffins from a recipe I made up all on my own.” She also says that the best advice for any cook is to get out “everything you need before you start cooking. Then put it away as you use it. It prevents confusion and cleaning up a big mess.”

Her family includes two daughters, three granddaughters and one grandson, six great-grandchildren and another five great-great grandchildren. She recently enjoyed a visit from one of her granddaughters who lives in Florida. “I don’t get to see them very often,” she says. “But, when I do, it’s wonderful!”

Vegetable casserole
1 pound frozen mixed vegetables

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

1 stack/sleeve of Ritz crackers
¾ stick butter, melted
Cook and drain vegetables. Mix mayonnaise, onion, cheese and veggies and put in a greased 9-by 13-inch pan. Put crumbled crackers on top. Pour butter on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serves 6.
Mildred’s notes:
I like broccoli, cauliflower and carrots for this casserole. As an option, add ham or turkey slices to use this as a main dish.
Broccoli salad
1 medium-sized head of broccoli, chopped

1 package (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese

2 tablespoons chopped onion

1 to 2 tablespoons bacon bits

5 tablespoons mayonnaise

4 tablespoons sugar

2 caps vinegar

Salt to taste
½ cup chopped nuts or raisins
Mix together all ingredients well. Serve. Serves 6.
Chocolate fudge cake
2 cups sugar

½ cup cocoa

2 cups milk

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

2 eggs, beaten well

2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
In saucepan, put 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk and ½ cup cocoa. Stir well and bring to boil. Remove from heat and add the 2 tablespoons of butter. When melted, add remaining 1 cup milk and 1 cup sugar. Add beaten egg to the chocolate mix. Add flour, baking soda and salt. Beat with mixer until smooth. Add vanilla. The batter will be very thin. It is very important not to add more flour. Pour into greased 9-by 13-inch pan and bake for 20 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees; when it is done, test it with a toothpick, which will come out clean.
Mildred’s note:
This is delicious when frosted with a peanut butter and confectioners’ sugar icing.

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