Pamela Loxley Drake goes looking for inspiration from her mother's kitchen clippings.

COURTESY PHOTO - Pamela Loxley DrakeBoxes of papers, clipped recipes kept over the years, old letters and cards, the list goes on and on. You want to toss them into the fireplace or throw them into the trash just to get rid of the clutter. But whoa. Slow down. A bit of history just might be in your hands.

Mom's old cookbook, though worn and tattered, holds treasures. Well, treasures for this writer. The publishing date is 1936. Was it a wedding gift? Perhaps it belonged to Mom Johnson or one of my aunts.

But this is not about the book.

There is a rich history between the pages of the old book in the pieces of yellowed paper that my mother once clipped from newspapers and magazines. "Prairie Farmer" dated Sept. 15, 1948, when I was the ripe age of 1.

The page is covered with history: A woman in a bibbed apron stands holds a package of Fleischmann's dry yeast. A freezer can be purchased for $350. Less mending and longer wear are available from rip-proof, Rockford Socks. A machete can be purchased for 75 cents. Hm.

I scanned the list looking for new "old" ideas: A straw cut into sections and placed through a piecrust allow the steam to escape. A teaspoon of lemon juice added to the water when cooking rice will keep the grain separate and snowy white.

Then I happened on to this:

"Chicken wishbones can be put to many uses. Wash them in soapsuds, dry them and paint them with bright nail polish and tie one to each gift package. They can also be made into little dolls or you can crochet around them, adding a little crocheted bag to hold a thimble or a sachet."

We girls fought over the wishbone. Who would be married first? Who would get the wish? My granddaughters do the same.

But the idea of holding that bone from some chicken that gave up its life for our dinner, giving it a fresh coat of nail polish, let alone dressing it up as a doll, is just wrong. Nightmares of dancing dolls with chicken bone arms. Revenge of the chicken!

Oh well, one never knows what one might find in those stacks of old books and papers. "Why did the chicken bone cross the road?" "I don't know. Why?" "To get a manicure and put on a dress."

Pamela Loxley Drake is a Beaverton resident and self-described lifelong "farm girl."

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