Gardeners' Dirt: Favorite recipes included in Master Gardener Cookbook

By Jean Wofford
Nov. 25, 2010 at 5:25 a.m.

The Victoria County Master Gardener cookbook consists of more than 475 recipes, plus gardening tips from members. Cover design by Rachel Campos.

The Victoria County Master Gardener cookbook consists of more than 475 recipes, plus gardening tips from members. Cover design by Rachel Campos.

This Thanksgiving week is a time of expressing thanks for so many things and a time to share with family and friends.

The Victoria County Master Gardeners has compiled shared recipes and traditions in a first edition cookbook that is now available.


The book includes recipes for German chocolate upside down cake, crab cakes, over-the-top bread pudding and even cherry enchiladas . along with hints for which wildflowers grow best in our area; a list of deer resistant plants; varieties of plants that will attract butterflies; choice of plants for a patriotic garden; gardening "to do's" for each month and what's on a VEG tour - all organized and edited by Master Gardener Virginia Ruschhaupt and her committee.


Of course, we are trained and certified gardeners, teaching others about gardening, having great plant sales, offering gardening symposiums, the Victoria Garden Tour and we take great pride in our weekly prize-winning Gardeners' Dirt column.


In April some of the Master Gardeners put their heads together to think what else we could offer to the Victoria area. After mulling over all we do to help educate, food naturally came to mind.

Hosting our own pot luck meals for our members at various Master Gardener functions, many of us couldn't forget the delicious entrees shared.

With this in mind, we decided a cookbook was our answer.

In Master Gardener fashion, we went to work. After a lot of long hours, we completed the first Victoria County Master Gardener Cookbook.


We sent out several memos requesting favorite recipes from our members. Before long they started pouring in. In a very short time, we knew we had hit on a winner. Very few recipes were alike. They were all a little bit different . in excess of 475 of them.


Many of the recipes had been handed down from family members. Many came with a story.

As you can imagine, many were a pinch of this and a handful of that. I had been making many dishes and meals in that way.

So many of us had to stop and measure the ingredients we used and write down the recipe for this cookbook. Needless to say, it seemed to take a long time to prepare certain dishes.

It was interesting to see how much I learned about foods I had prepared for years. For instance, in one of my crab dishes, I had no idea I used an entire pound of crab meat. I had always just added until it looked right.


Our cookbook has many wonderful recipes and far more than just food.

It has a lot of good gardening information with "tips" and hints scattered throughout the book. Many words of wisdom from many of our experienced gardeners are shared.

Many beautiful color photos from our educational gardens are included.

You might recognize the photos on both covers as well as the ones used on the divider pages. I think when you pick up our book, you won't be able to put it down.


Bernice Davis said her passion is making bread. The fragrance of bread baking invokes many happy childhood memories. She has found that food is one of the greatest binders to bring people together.

Charlie Boren had never worked on putting together a cookbook. She thought we would just collect a few recipes, put them together with a couple of pretty photos. She said when she was transcribing some of the recipes, her mouth would start watering, and she would make a mental note to add that to a dinner menu very soon.

Linda Denker said cookbooks bring many memories of sitting around the family table eating a certain dish that Grandma, an aunt or other relative had prepared in the past. She said food was a daily responsibility to keep the family healthy and happy.

We know we've captured the best Master Gardener recipes and gardening tips all in one, and we think you will enjoy what we have put together. Consider getting your own copy this holiday season - and several more for gifts.

The Gardeners' Dirt is written by members of the Victoria County Master Gardener Association, an educational outreach of Texas AgriLife Extension - Victoria County. Mail your questions in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901; or, or comment on this column at



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