Denfeld News

April23, 2008
Duluth News Tribune

Vintage Taste: Cookbook Celebrity
By Candace Renalls

When Veronica Flowers won the grand prize in the 1973 Duluth News Tribune Recipe Contest at the age of 17, she became a celebrity of sorts.

“I was all over the bulletin board in school when I went back my senior year,” says the 1974 Denfeld High School graduate. “And there were phone calls.”

In those days, everybody waited for those annual Duluth News Tribune cookbooks, she recalls. They came out each year around Labor Day and featured hundreds of recipe entries from readers and the prize winners.

“Between those and the Pillsbury cookbooks, my mom collected all of them,” she says. “They were a big deal.”

Flowers — who later married and became Veronica Frost — was the youngest person to win the top prize during the contest’s 21 years.

She won for her Bean Pot Bread, which she says is like rye bread.

“It’s really good,” says Veronica, now 51 and living in Eden Prairie, Minn. “People don’t believe that there is bean and bacon soup in it and big wheat biscuits.”

A horoscope in the newspaper on the last day for entries urged her to “enter a contest.” So Veronica, who had never entered a contest before, typed up a favorite recipe that she had gotten from an aunt. She then walked it to the post office at 27th Avenue West to make sure it was postmarked in time.

She ended up winning over a team of five judges for the grand prize, a one-week vacation trip for two to Daytona Beach, Fla. Because she was only 17, she took the trip with her mother.

“We had a good time,” she recalls. “It was very hot. We went to Disney World and had a whole day there. I got a major sunburn, too. It was an event in my life that I will never forget.”

She had been cooking and baking since she was 10. Before entering the contest, she had prepared the family’s evening meals for years because her mother worked.

After winning the grand prize, she kept up her cooking and baked cookies and cakes from scratch. She even worked in food service for a time. She describes herself as an everyday home cook who is not big on experimenting.

“I’m more of an old fashioned, give-me-a-church-cookbook kind of woman,” she says. “If I have a recipe, I do pretty well.”


Bean Pot Bread

Veronica Flowers read her horoscope on the last day for entries in the Duluth News Tribune’s 1973 recipe contest. It said “enter a contest.” She typed up the Bean Pot Bread recipe that she had gotten from an aunt. It’s similiar to rye bread, she says.

2 ounces cake yeast
2 large (Nabisco) shredded wheat cereal biscuits, shredded
2 cups lukewarm water
11-ounce can condensed bean and bacon soup
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup shortening
1 egg
7 cups flour

Put cake yeast and shredded wheat biscuits in the warm water to soak for 5 minutes. Add soup, brown sugar, molasses, salt, shortening and egg; then beat. Add 2 cups flour and beat until smooth.

Add remaining flour and knead until dough is smooth and not sticky. Let rise for 1 hour in a covered pan. Knead dough; let rise again for 1/2 hour. Place in greased bread pans and let rise to top of bread pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes.

Yield: 3 one-pound loaves.

Each week, Vintage Taste features a recipe from Duluth News Tribune cookbooks published yearly from 1954 to 1974. Have a request or a memory to share? Call (218) 723-5329 or e-mail crenalls @ duluthnews.com.

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