Recently, a friend called me and asked if I wanted her mother’s Norma Berke cookbooks. She had all four. I said “yes” right away. What a gem. So, as I was looking for summer recipes, I thought I would look through her recipe books.

The first was published in December 1967. This marked her 10th anniversary with the “Litchfield Area News” on KDUZ. The second was in 1971 after 14 years, and the third was in 1976 after 19 years. Her fourth cookbook was in 1980. At that time she had been on the radio for 23 years. All four cookbooks were titled “My Favorite Recipes.”

Generally, I make a recipe before I print it; I did not have to do that with Norma’s recipes!

This recipe is from cookbook No. 1. It is a custard-like homemade ice cream. Now I am printing it just like Norma has it. The recipe says nothing about freezing or doing the hand crank with salt. This is what she says:

Homemade Ice Cream

(This is a cooked custard that we used to make years ago.)

4 1/2 c. scalded milk

7 to 8 egg yolks, beaten

2 1/2 c. sugar

3/4 tsp. salt

5 1/2 c. whipping cream

10 tsp. vanilla

Add sugar and salt to egg yolks, mix into milk, place in double boiler, cook slowly over boiling water — add whipping cream and vanilla. (Makes 1 gallon ice cream.) — You will have to make an angel food cake with the egg whites!!


In cookbook No. 2, I found some treasures! At the end of the book, Norma had some words or wisdom: “Expect failures — the first bread you make will in all probability be poor. The first time you make jelly, it may not “jell,” but the second or third time the bread will be excellent and the jelly delicious. Whatever happens, be bright and do not let the shadows enter your home.”

Rhubarb season is about over but this sounded different. Sweet corn season is just starting!

Rhubarb-Orange Gum Drop Marmalade

5 c. cut up rhubarb

5 c. sugar

Let sit to form juice.

1/2 pound of orange candy section gum drops

Boil 15 to 20 minutes and seal.

Roast Corn

Each fall we try to have an outdoor Corn Roast — when the sweet corn is at its best. This is Fred’s favorite method.

Peel husks back to take out silk and check corn over for worms. Lay husks back over the corn, dip each ear in cold water, then wrap individually in aluminum foil. Roast corn on hot coals, 10 min. then turn and roast 10 min more on the other side. The corn will stay very hot a long time wrapped this way.

Unwrap the ears, peel off the husks and eat with lots of butter and salt to taste!!


In Norma’s third book, she thanks Lois (Mrs. Ken) Gustafson and Pat (Mrs. James) Stueck, who worked with her at the Shopper office. Both have shared some of their recipes for this third cookbook.

It is almost zucchini time and very soon we will be flooded with this vegetable. I found two recipes.

Zucchini Rounds

1 3/4 c Bisquick mix

1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese

1/8 tsp. pepper

2 slightly beaten eggs

2 c. shredded zucchini

2 Tbsp. margarine

Mix together Bisquick, cheese, and pepper, stir in beaten eggs. Fold in zucchini. In a skillet melt margarine on a medium heat. Put 2 Tbsp. of batter for each round, fry 2 to 3 minutes — watch so it doesn’t burn. Flip over and fry on the other side. Makes 12 rounds.

This is a popular zucchini recipe and is a little different than mine. I think she meant 1 stick of butter!

Zucchini Hotdish

4 medium zucchini, cut 1/2” thick

3/4 c. shredded carrots

1/2 c. chopped onion

1/2 stick butter or margarine

2 1/4 c. herbed stuffing cubes

1 can cream of chicken soup

1/2 c. sour cream

Cook zucchini in salt water until tender. Drain. Put 4 Tbsp butter in a large pan and cook carrots and onion. Remove from heat and stir in 1 1/2 c dressing cubes, mix in soup and sour cream, gently stir in zucchini. Put in a 1 1/2 quart casserole. Melt remaining butter. Add remaining stuffing cubes on top with melted butter. Bake 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.


Norma’s fourth cookbook also has some treasured recipes but I found these two items.

Happiness Cake

1 c. Good Thoughts

2 c. Sacrifice

3 c. Forgiveness of Others

1 c. Kind deeds

1 c. Consideration

2 c. Own Faults, well beaten

Mix thoroughly. Add tears of Joy, Sorrow, and Sympathy. Flavor with Love and Kindly Service. Fold in 4 c of Prayers, Faith, and Enthusiasm. Spread all into your daily life. Blend well with human kindness. Serve with a Smile at all times and it will satisfy the hunger of many people less fortunate than ourselves.

Look Up and Live

This business of living was meant to be more Than plodding along each day

With head bowed down and eyes on the ground while time ticks the hours away.

God made this world a delightful place with beauty everywhere -

The grass, the flowers, the trees, the sky, the tang of the clean, fresh air-

A world to be lived in, laughed in, loved, to be met with joy and zest,

A world with a challenge for each of us to give our very best.

This business of living was never meant as a treadmill sort of thing,

There are rivers to cross and mountains to climb and glorious songs to sing.