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:
• “My Dad saw Mom as Dorothy Dean once while she was doing a demonstration cooking, somewhere downtown. … Their courtship lasted several years, but lucky for us they married and had four kids. Dad always called our Mom DeeDee, for Dorothy Dean … We have a picture of Mom being Dorothy Dean, working in the newspaper kitchen, hanging in our summer home on Lake Coeur d’Alene.” – Jay Brown, son of Edna Mae Endslow Brown, who passed away in 2005.
• “I’ve considered cooking my way through Mom’s leaflets and documenting my journey much like Julie in ‘Julie and Julia.’ I learned to cook from Dorothy Dean and grew up on her recipes. My mom left The Spokesman-Review when I was born. She had me late in life, at 42 years, so I have an interesting perspective on homemaking as a Gen Xer raised by Dorothy Dean!” Katie (Beaton) Walters, daughter of Rayleen Merman Beaton. Beaton lives in Helena.
• “(My) whole experience with Dorothy Dean has taught me to appreciate quality food, quality people and a quality life. I’ve learned that food and desserts made from scratch with quality ingredients are worth the extra effort. I’ve learned that preparing great food for quality people, family and friends is a wonderful way to express love for those in your life. And I’ve learned that doing things up the right way and doing things for others, whether at work, play, or even in the kitchen, is a cornerstone of a quality life.” – Gary Schmidtke, son-in-law of Margaret Heimbigner. Heimbigner lives in Spokane.