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Feels comfy as a cook

By Staff | Jul 9, 2010

Ivy Carnelley said she is most comfortable in her kitchen and spent her lifetime cooking.


Farm News staff writer

FORT DODGE – From cooking for her family as a young lady to making a living for her family as a wife and mother, Ivy Carnelley has most likely spent the majority of her life in one kitchen or another.

She figures that it’s been time well spent.

“I’ve always been most comfortable in the kitchen,” said Carnelley.

Carnelley grew up on a farm near Brushy Creek in Webster County and has many fond memories of attending monthly potlucks at the Brushy Methodist Church.

“It was a social event,” she said. “I can remember the ladies all dressed up and wearing their pretty aprons, I just always felt good there.”

Carnelley spent a lot of time with her grandmothers, Ella Mae Windlow, of Duncombe, and Jenny Crane, of Dows. in the kitchen. It was when her mother, Alice Havlick, of Fort Dodge, went back to work at nights for the telephone company that Carnelley took over cooking for her family.

“That was a good thing, because that is how I learned to cook,” she said.

Carnelley works as food service staff for Northwood’s Living and Opportunity Village in Fort Dodge and also co-manages the food stand at the Hillbilly Sales held at the Webster County Fairgrounds.

Although she has been in the food service industry for many years, Carnelley says she’s not finished learning yet and that learning to cook as a youngster really opened a lot of doors for her.

“I learn something new every day,” she said. “Learning how to read a recipe has taught me not only how just to cook, but provide food for my family and provide a living for my family,” said Carnelley.

Carnelley said she likes to switch things up in a recipe to help make it her own.

“I will usually follow the recipe at least the first time and will then end up tweaking it,” she said.

Recipes are a big part of Carnelley’s life. She collects cookbooks, especially old church cookbooks.

Carnelley advises to not be “afraid to play with your food, especially with seasonings.” She also advises that sometimes the simplest recipes are the best.

“The dishes that require several ingredients and steps aren’t always going to be the best,” said Carnelley. “I have always enjoyed cooking and like to play with my food, and I encourage everyone out there to do the same. You need to tweak a recipe to what you like. I like a crisp cookie, others like soft. That’s why we have so many different choices, so pick up a good cookbook and settle in for a night of good reading.”

Spinach salad

(Ivy Carnelley worked as the cook at the Black Knight from 1978-1986 and one of the favorite lunch specials was her spinach salad with hot French dressing.)

1 bag fresh spinach

1 small container of fresh mushrooms (washed and sliced)

4 hard boiled eggs diced

cooked and crumbled bacon, or use real bacon bits


2 cups western-like dressing

1/2 cup brown sugar (or to taste)

1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke

1/4 cup white vinegar

Mix and heat on low stove or microwave.

Crab salad

(This was another one of Ivy Carnelley’s lunch specials)

1 package imitation crab legs, shredded

3 hard boiled eggs, diced

3 green onions, (diced with some of the green stem)

add sauce of:

1 cup salad dressing (mayo)

1/4 cup ketchup

1 teaspoon horseradish

Note: Can be served in a ripe tomato.

Mrs. C’s chocolate chip cookies

1 cup shortening

1 1/4 cup brown sugar

Cream together the shortening and brown sugar.

Then add:

2 eggs

2 teaspoons of vanilla

1 1/4 cup flour

3 cups oatmeal

4 teaspoon soda

1 teaspoon salt

Stir together and add:

12 oz. mini chocolate chips

12 oz. mini M&Ms

Nuts (optional)

Bake at 350 degrees for 8-12 minutes.

Contact Kriss Nelson at jknelson@frontiernet.net.

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