October marks 80 years since the start of The Spokesman-Review’s beloved Dorothy Dean Homemakers Service. The newspaper launched the service in 1935 with a test kitchen and cooking school. Recipe leaflets and a telephone hotline were also part of the popular program.
With crispy, crackling skin and intense flavor, roast duck makes a rich main dish for holiday dinners. But the element that makes it so succulent is also what makes it seem so intimidating. Duck is such a fatty bird.
Advertising in the newspaper for latest release of vintage Dorothy Dean recipe leaflets left Marilyn Ottinger hungry for a long lost recipe. Ottinger, who now lives in Bothell, Wash., remembered a recipe for frosted orange cookies that she loved. We found it in the “Cookies Galore” leaflet from 1974.
Trouble trussing a turkey? Laundry dingy? Desperate for a holiday menu and decorating ideas? For 45 years the women of the Inland Northwest knew where to turn for advice on everything from recipe failures to party games – Dorothy Dean.
Homemaker extraordinaire Dorothy Dean was never one to rest on her laurels. The women who worked for the Dorothy Dean homemakers service not only published the leaflets that many still use, they also maintained a hotline for homemakers who needed help with recipes or other kitchen problems. The women in the department also produced a long-lived “Ask Dorothy Dean” column in the newspaper, hosted demonstrations, tested and updated recipes and held an annual recipe contest.
Many of the people who called, wrote or e-mailed about Dorothy Dean said she seemed like a trusted friend, mother or grandmother. The recipe leaflets and phone line gave them a much-needed connection for confidence in the kitchen. We also heard from the children of some of the real women who served as the head of the Dorothy Dean department. Here’s what they said:
Thank you, thank you and thank you. Lovers of Dorothy Dean’s Homemaker’s Service flooded my e-mail, voice mail and mailbox with notes, photos and favorite recipes after an item in last week’s Fresh Sheet asking readers to share their recollections. It was wonderful to hear stories about how many of those cookbooks are still in use and the family memories that have been made along with the recipes inside.