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A lifetime of food, 4-H

By Staff | Apr 22, 2011

Carolyn Coe holds a recipe card for her 24-hour fruit salad that she has used since the early years of her marriage and remains a family favorite today.


Farm News staff writer

VENTURA – As Carolyn Coe tells about her life, in addition to her family, it is a story of food and 4-H.

Growing up on a farm a few miles northwest of Thornton, as the daughter of livestock showman Joe Duea, Coe’s life was filled with farm activities and 4-H projects.

Joe Duea raised and showed Duroc hogs and Hereford cattle on the family farm. He had the champion steer at the Chicago livestock show in 1945.

Carolyn Coe was inducted into the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame in 2004.

As a freshman in college in 1962, Coe was awarded champion for her Shorthorn steer at the Denver stock show.

Activities in food and 4-H followed her as an adult when she married Bill Coe and reared their three children. They are parents to Eric and his wife, Judy, of Denver, CO.; Colette, and her husband, Michael, of Mason City; and Aaron, and his wife, Angie, of Wood Lake, Minn,; and grandparents to six grandchildren.

The Coes have recently retired, but remain involved with their family and community.

Carolyn?Coe started cooking as a child because she was expected to do her part as a farm kid, she said.

The Duea family had a garden making it mostly self sufficient in growing much of it own food.

Coe was a member of two 4-H clubs, because showing livestock meant belonging to the boys 4-H club and home economics projects were done by the girls 4-H club.

She continued working with the 4-H program as an adult in leadership roles including running the 4-H food stand at the Cerro Gordo County Fair for several years.

Coe’s food stand duties came to an end when she realized that by running the food stand she would miss seeing her grandchildren showing their own animals at the fair.

In retirement, she still helps with 4-H horticulture projects. As a couple, Carolyn and Bill Coe contribute to the 4-H program now by cooking the meal at the annual county awards banquet.

In 2004, Carolyn Coe was honored by being inducted to the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame.

For 30 years, she worked first as a waitress and then as a cook at the Harbor Inn in Ventura. Her experience as a waitress was good training to prepare what was wanted from her as a cook.

“I didn’t send anything out I wouldn’t eat or serve myself,” she said.

Besides cooking for customers at the Harbor Inn, she worked as a substitute cook for the school and helped at the sale barn at Garner every Tuesday on sale day.

She credits her experience at the sale barn for teaching her to not be fearful whether cooking for 50 or 400 people.

Today, she cooks at her church for the Elderberries, a group of senior citizens, and helps with food at funerals.

At Thanksgiving and Christmas, her daughter takes orders for pies. She will bake about 30 pies with the money going to a local Relay for Life effort.

She also helps with the food at the golf tournament held at Klemme each year and has been a Pampered Chef consultant for the past 15 years.

The gardening that started when she was growing up on the farm followed her as an adult, as well.

The Coes’ garden is smaller in size, but still raises tomatoes, peppers, onions, green beans, lettuce, spinach, beets, parsnips and broccoli.

The garden is located in a space where a pump house once stood, easily seen from the Coes’ kitchen.

It is slightly raised above the ground so they do not have to bend over so far to do their gardening that provides abundantly each year.

Coe said that for all her cooking, she does not see herself as a baker. It was her mother who made bars and cookies and added that that made her “get out of the habit.”

When asked if she was always cooking, her answer was, “I don’t plan on it. I just tend to do it.”

Bacon tomato dip


1 8-ounce package Cream Cheese, softened

1/2 cup ranch dressing

1 Roma tomato chopped

6 slices of bacon cubed, fried and drained

1/2 cup finely chopped celery

2 tablespoons finely chopped onion

1 teaspoon sugar

Mix well, cover and refrigerate three hours for flavors to blend.

Serve with favorite crackers or oven toasted bread slices.

Cottage cheese pineapple salad

1 24-ounce carton of cottage cheese

1 large box of dry Jell-o (your favorite flavor)

1 20-ounce can drained crushed pineapple

1 8-ounce container of Cool Whip

Mix and refrigerate.

24-hour fruit salad

(A Coe family favorite.)

l large package of miniature marshmallows

2 pounds of red grapes, sliced

3 20-ounce cans of pineapple tidbits, drained

1 1/2 cups whipping cream, whipped.

Mix and cook the following in microwave untilthickened.

2 tablespoon sugar

1/2 cup cream

3 tablespoons lemon juice

3 egg yolks, beaten

Coolabove andfold inwhipped cream. Mix with fruit mixture and chill. Serves 15 to 20.

Roasted vegetables

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

3 baking potatoes cut in wedges

l onion cut in wedges

1 red or green pepper cut in pieces

8 ounces whole mushrooms

3 carrots sliced

Optional: Cubed zucchini, green beans, asparagus

1 rope of kielbasa sausage cut in 1 inch slices

Coat with 1/4 cup of Greek salad dressing.

Bake for 30 minutes. Also, great cooked on the grill.

Pumpkin gems

1 yellow cake mix

3 eggs

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 15-ounce can of pumpkin

Mix and spoon into well spayed mini muffin pans 2/3 full.

Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Frost with cream cheese icing.

Makes 72 mini muffins.

Quick apple crisp

Use 9-inch square pan.

5 baking apples, peeled and sliced

1 package yellow cake mix (sprinkle on apples)

Mix following and sprinkle over cake mix:

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1/4 cup melted butter or margarine

Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown. (Can be baked in amicrowave for 10 minutes in a safe dish.)

Serve warm with ice cream.

Pecan pie

(Recipe used for Relay for Life pies.)

3 eggs slightly beaten

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup butter

1 cup Karo syrup

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

Place pecans in bottom of favorite 9-inch pie crust. Pour filling overpecans. Bake 50 minutes in 350 degree oven.

Contact Clayton Rye at crye@wctatel.net.

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