Mary Hart Favorite Recipes

I personally feel that every editor of every city’s newspaper food section should write a cookbook. No one has a better feel for the best kinds of recipes in their area.

In my hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota, the editor of the Taste section was Mary Hart. She became the food editor of the Minneapolis Morning and Sunday Tribune in 1946, then presided over the food section in 1969 when it was called Taste.

The cookbook Mary Hart Favorite Recipes gathers, well, her favorite recipes. It was published in 1979, so is heavy on the tomatoes, cheese, ground beef, bar cookies, and seafood. The recipes aren’t complicated, and represent the types of food people were making in the upper Midwest at the time. But they are all delicious and I refer to this cookbook regularly, to make the recipes or just enjoy it.

She writes, “When I pored over my 34 thick notebooks containing clippings of newspaper food articles, I found that main dishes and desserts formed the bulk of readers’ favorite recipes. My choices for this book also fall into that pattern.”

I love her recipes for Lemon Muffins, which uses 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice in the batter, Sour Cream Drop Cookies, which feature a soft dough wrapped around date stuffed with walnuts, then frosted with a Brown Butter icing, and Chewy Picnic Bars, a type of dream bar made with walnuts, coconut, and dates.

Wild Rice Baron is a hearty and savory main dish made with wild rice, beef, mushrooms, and lots of sour cream. And I have used the base for her recipe for Artichoke Quiche hundreds of time, varying the additions. It starts with a white sauce, which is something I have never seen in any other cookbook, then adds eggs and sour cream. It makes the most tender and velvety quiche recipe ever.

So try this cookbook. It’s homey and inviting and contains many wonderful recipes.

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