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A student of preparing food

By Staff | Jan 20, 2012

Helen Friest, of Radcliffe, cuts into a pan of her cream puff dessert. In 2008, she was named a Master Homemaker by Wallace’s Farmer.


Farm News staff writer

RADCKIFFE – Helen Friest, a 2008 Master Homemaker, has cooked for visitors from 32 countries in her rural Hardin?County home.

After growing up in Mount Pleasant, Friest went to school in Des Moines at the American Institute of Business.

A mutual friend introduced her to an Iowa State University student named Dennis Friest, of Radcliffe, in Hardin County.

Friest said she learned to cook from her mother and mother-in-law, plus enjoys looking through church and community cookbooks. She has served visitors on her farm from 32 countries.

The Friests were married in 1970 and moved to the Friest family farm.

Friest’s education continued, learning to cook first from her mother and then her mother-in-law.

The family’s favorite dish is her potato cassarole, Friest said. It has been served to guests from 32 foreign countries visiting the farm, due to Dennis Friest’s activities on soybean and pork boards and with the ISU?Extension council at local, state and national levels.

Along the way, she also learned to drive the tractor, combine, chisel plow and haul loads with a tractor and wagon.

“They haven’t let me plant,” she said.

In 2008, she was earned the Master Homemaker certification from Wallace’s Farmer.

The Friests’ farm raises corn, soybeans and 4,500 hogs yearly from farrow-to-finish as an independent producer with one hog building under contract.

Their daily routine includes the family members gathering at noon for a family meal together.

Friest’s specialty is casseroles.?She said she “likes to mix things together,” cooking by inspiration with or without a cookbook.

When reading for enjoyment, she will pick up a cookbook. Her favorites are her church and community cookbooks.

Her other activities include church, where she has been the organist for 30 years, Sunday school teacher for 38 years and serving on the church council off and on for 30 years.

The Friests are parents to three children.

Son Brad and his wife, Jody, have three children and he works in Ankeny for John Deere. Jody teaches vocal music at the Webster City middle school.

Son Brett and his wife, Colette, are parents to four children and he does the hog work on the family farm.

Daughter Brenda and husband, Kendall Colvin, live in Pella, where she is an administrator of a senior living complex.

Currently, Friest enjoys being involved with her grandchildren, making cookies and chauffeuring as needed.

Potato casserole

1 2-pound bag frozen hash browns

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1/2 can milk

1 16-ounce carton sour cream

2 cups cheddar cheese

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

3 cups crushed rice cereal

1 cup melted butter

Mix first seven ingredients together. Put in a greased 9-by-13-inch cake pan.

Mix 1 cup melted butter with crushed rice cereal. Spread on top of potato mixture.

Bake 60 minutes at 350 degrees.

BBQ sauce

This recipe has been used by Friest for 25 years and is from when pork patties were introduced. Helen Friest said this is great on pork and chicken.

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

1 cup vinegar

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

60 ounces ketchup

Mix the first four ingredients together and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Add ketchup and simmer 10 minutes.

Pork roast

1 18-ounce jar of apple jelly

Same amount of ketchup as jelly

6 tablespoons chili powder

1 pork roast, 3 to 5 pounds

Bake pork roast for one hour at 325 degrees.

Remove the roast from oven and remove liquid.

Mix first three ingredients together. Pour over roast.

Continue to bake another hour or until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees.

The sauce makes a good gravy for mashed or baked potatoes.

You may change the amount of apple jelly, ketchup and chili powder depending on the size of the roast.


Helen Friest said she’s been making this for 30 years. “You can’t have a family dinner without fluff,” she said. It can be a side dish or, when mixed with Oreo cookies, a dessert.

5 egg yokes

1 cup sugar

1 1/3 cup milk

2 package Knox gelatin

1 cup cold water

5 egg whites

2 8-ounce carton Cool Whip

2 teaspoons vanilla


1 package graham crackers

2 tablespoons butter

Mix 1 cup cold water and Knox gelatin together. Set aside. Mix egg yokes and sugar. Stir in milk.

Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until it coats the spoon. Remove from heat and stir in the Knox gelatin. Cool.

Crush graham crackers and add butter. Pour half of crumbs into the bottom of a large bowl. In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until they are stiff.

Fold the cooked egg mixture and the egg whites together. Stir in the vanilla. Fold in the Cool Whip.

Pour half of the pudding over crumbs, cover with all but a few crumbs. Pour rest of pudding on top of crumbs.

Sprinkle the remaining crumbs on top and refrigerate.

Scalloped pineapple

1/2 cup softened butter

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

1/4 cup milk

4 cups soft bread cubes

1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple

Cream together butter, sugar and eggs. Add milk. Gently stir in bread cubes and pineapple. Pour into a buttered baking dish.

Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees. Serve hot or cold.

Note: This will curdle when mixed, but comes out of it when baked. This is delicious when served with ham.

Cream puff dessert

1 cup water

1 stick butter

1 cup flour

3 cups milk

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

2 small packages instant vanilla pudding

Cool Whip

Chocolate syrup

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Boil water and butter. Turn off heat and add 1 cup flour. Beat until it forms a ball. Add 4 eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each egg. Spread onto a sheet cake pan.

Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. Cool completely.

Beat softened cream cheese and gradually add milk. Then beat in vanilla pudding. Pour over crust. Refrigerate.

When the pudding is set, frost with Cool Whip and drizzle chocolate syrup over the top. Refrigerate.

Contact Clayton Rye at crye@wctatel.net.

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