Hungering for the past

In 1968, one could buy two broiled burgers, a large order of fries and a malt for 79 cents at Karley’s Drive-In on the south side of Lake Okabena.

That’s one of the tidbits of information I learned this week from the “Growing Up in Worthington: What Do You Remember?” Facebook page. I previously wrote about the “Growing Up” phenomenon about a month and a half ago in a Faces & Places page feature for the Daily Globe. The site continues to be a source of nostalgia and amusement for me and many other people with ties to our community. When I checked today, there were now 5,211 members.

The Karley’s notation came from an item posted by site administrator Dave Ford. He came across a bag of old Daily Globe newspapers and has been gradually scanning in and posting items of interest —including ads from many businesses, some defunct and a few still functioning.

To my personal delight, he included a big advertising spread from a business spotlight section for my family’s business, Rickers Photos. We no longer own it, although it continues to bear the family name. The advertisement included the business’ history, having been founded in 1872 by E.F. Buchan and bought by my grandparents in 1934. If my math is correct, that means a photography studio has been in business in Worthington for 142 years, 80 of those bearing my family’s name. That’s pretty darn cool.

The ad also included photos of my late father, Don Rickers; uncle, Russell Rickers; and grandparents, Alice and Harry Rickers. The photo of Harry is one of my favorites —a studio shot with a cigar in his mouth. It gave me a good chuckle.

As I’ve mentioned before, the “Growing Up” site has also involved some recipe sharing, particularly for favorite dishes at Worthington’s dining establishments. None from Karley’s Drive-In yet, but the A&W’s barbecue/coney recipe has been shared, along with the goulash recipe from Ray’s Café.

The A&W favorite is from the files of Amy Merrill Moritz.

A&W Barbecues & Coneys

2 pounds ground beef (original recipe says to buy cheap beef, the greasier, the better)

2 ½ tablespoons dehydrated chopped onion

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon Open Pit barbecue sauce

½ tablespoons salt

½ tablespoon pepper

2/3 cup Heinz ketchup

Put all ingredients in a roaster and bake at 350 degrees until meat is brown.  This next part is important, turn oven down to 225 degrees and simmer for about an hour.  Stir often.

To make coneys, add chili powder, about  1 teaspoon per pound, after you turn the oven down.

The Ray’s Café recipe was shared by Jami Cummings:

“For those of you that knew my Grandma Severson as the ‘Goulash Queen’ at Ray’s Café … here is her famous recipe for ‘Elaine’s Goulash!’ (Knowing my Grandma, she probably left something out on purpose just so you will say ‘It’s NOT as good as Elaine’s.’”

Elaine’s Goulash

3 cups elbow macaroni

3 pounds lean ground beef

2 quarts plus 1 pint home-canned tomatoes

2 ½ cups finely chopped onions

2 ½ cup finely chopped celery

½ large green pepper, finely chopped

½ cup ketchup

Salt, pepper and garlic salt to taste

In a large electric fry pan or heavy skillet, brown ground beef, onions, green pepper, salt, pepper, and garlic salt. Keep chopping the mixture until the hamburger is well broken up. Put the celery in the microwave with water on it and cook until half done. Drain water off celery and add to beef mixture.

When browned add 1 quart of the tomatoes and the ketchup. Let simmer for a while. Meanwhile, cook macaroni according to the box instructions. Drain and add the other quart of tomatoes, stir gently and let stand a while and then add hamburger mixture. Mix well and add the pint of tomatoes.

Let goulash cool completely and put in the refrigerator overnight. This goulash will be very juicy, but the macaroni will absorb juice overnight. The next day, bake in a slow oven. Let goulash get “DARN GOOD & HOT.”

NOTE: This makes a large batch. If you want to make this and eat it the same day, use fewer tomatoes.

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