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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

BOOK/A TABLE - Twisted Candles Peach Crisp for a Nancy Drew Dinner Party!

I might have stolen it, but I honestly don't think I did. And yet there it is in my possession, has been for many years, The Nancy Drew Cookbook: Clues to Good Cooking by Carolyn Keene, first published in 1973. Inside the front cover, there's a stamp from the Dover Public Library Children's Room in New Hampshire. Hm. I'm pretty sure that there was a yard sale of some kind and I was the first to snatch up the volume, as slim and elegant as the Titian-haired Ms. Drew herself. I'm going to go with that.

Tell us, Nancy--what is the clue in the cookbook?

For me, I just set out to make a meal for some good old friends one evening. I didn't clue them in as to what exactly I would be serving from the cookbook, stolen from Chapter Four (the menu listing of Picnic and Patio Get-Togethers). I suppose I could have done something somewhat more refined like the Souffle Gruen and Lilac Inn Consomme as a starter, but I love anything on a patio and chose items from that instead. There are some hair-raising cliffhangers too, like what would happen if we ate the Leaning Chimney Cones, baloney stuffed with cream cheese and chopped pimentos? The Diary Chicken Salad with mayonnaise, Mandarin oranges, white grapes, pineapple rings and a banana?

Throughout the whole meal, I made some concessions, some modern updates (I never used any margarine for example, only butter). 

During the cocktail hour on the sundeck, I served Miss Hanson's Deviled Eggs (positioned on plum tomato slices to anchor them and topped with a slice of olive) as an appetizer when our guests arrived. I added a little Penzey's Shallot Pepper to the yolk mixture for a satisfying bite. We drank a few adult versions of the Scarlet Slipper Raspberry Punch, laced with vodka. Here, we kept the raspberry gelatin, but omitted the "raspberry drink powder mix" and "frozen lemonade concentrate" and a whole cup of sugar on top of that! Instead we used cranberry raspberry juice, light lemonade, and a little lemon zest.

Crossword Cipher Chicken (a whole chicken cut into eight parts) with crushed Ritz crackers (which subbed for "unsweetened cracker crumbs") was baked for an hour. I used only about half a stick of butter to dip the chicken before breading it with the crackers, onion powder, parsley flakes and grated Parmesan, as opposed to two sticks of butter that the recipe suggested.

Same went for Shadow Ranch Barbequed Beans that I made the night before: the recipe also called for two sticks of butter. Don't you miss the 70's? I didn't add any sugar, except for half the amount of dark brown sugar and lightened it up with a can of vegetarian beans and pork and beans, instead of two cans of the latter. I did throw a piece of bacon in though.

Emerson Cookout Potatoes with bacon, a blend of cubed cheeses and onions baked in the oven while the chicken cooked too and was then served alongside. It was a lot of food but, perhaps not so mysteriously, everything disappeared! If you do happen to have any of the potatoes left over, they'd be great heated up the next day with some scrambledeggs.

We finished the dinner with this recipe for a delicious Twisted Candles Peach Crisp. What a ball--it's no mystery why we love our old friends!

Twisted Candles Peach Crisp


1 stick(4 ounces) butter
2 16-ounce cans sliced peaches
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon


Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Let butter soften outside the refrigerator. Drain peaches and dry them on paper towels.

Mix sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a bowl. Put the softened butter into this mixture. Combine ingredients with a fork until well mixed into a dough.

Place peaches in the bottom of the baking dish. Spread the dough over them. Bake on the bottom shelf of the oven for 50 minutes.
Makes 6 servings

Detective Dynamite:

“For an extra delicious taste, add a scoop of ice cream to each serving. This recipe can even be used as a birthday cake. Insert a tiny candle in each portion and light before serving.”

Thanks to for posting this recipe and others from The Nancy Drew Cookbook! 


  1. Thanks! It sounds suspiciously yummy. : )

  2. I love this! I'm going to follow these footprints as I know they won't lead me to a crime scene, but rather to some really delectable meals. What fun!