The Senior Center of Rainier published a “Historical Cookbook” that is designed to keep the memories of distant times alive in what we eat.

Linda Johnson, who put the book together, said that it is really a tribute to the multiple members of the community that passed away recently, a sort of living memorial. 

Along those lines, the “Senior Center of Rainier Historical Cookbook” isn’t quite what it appears. At first glance, one would think that the book contained only older recipes. However, the book contains recipes of all ages, from old to new. However, interspersed amongst the recipes are photos that depict momentous events for the center, portraits of old friends, and everywhere in between.  

For example, Johnson said that the book even has a record, in a way, of how the senior center came to be.

“”(The senior center’s building) was a gym next to the old historical school, and there’s a picture of that, and then there’s pictures of it being moved from the school to here and how it was renovated,” Johnson said.

The cookbook started in the simplest of ways: One person wanted another person’s recipes. Next, many people wanted the recipes. The popularity of the request became so high, that the members of the senior center decided to do a cookbook, Johnson said.

When the cookbook idea was still young, it morphed from just a book with recipes to share, into a cookbook that was also a historical companion for the center, and Rainier itself.

“It got to the point where someone said ‘well we have [scrapbooks] with all of the pictures of how everything came about,’” Johnson said. “‘Why don’t you take three scrapbooks home and scan the pictures, put them in the cookbook.’”

Overall, the book contains 100 recipes from various people, and is chock-full of historical photographs.

Johnson did this labor of love because of all the relationships she has made and lost at the senior center, she said.

“This is my entire social circle,” she said. “I’m coming here at least twice a week to see what’s going on and to sit and chat. We have a good time.” 

Johnson said she didn’t make the cookbook happen for some kind of profit. Instead, she said it was “all about the history.” But to support the center, the book will go on sale May 15.

“The cookbooks will be available at different stores and different outlets for a $20 donation,” she said. “We’re a 501-c3, so we don’t charge sales tax because we don’t report sales tax.”

“Senior Center of Rainier Historical Cookbook” will be available at Rainier City Hall, Main Street Cookie Co., the Tenino Time Machine, Rainier Grocery and the Senior Center of Rainier. 

The book is also already available in ebook, in color on Amazon, along with a print black-and-white version.

“It can be delivered right to your door,” Johnson said.


Berry Pizza

By Bea Carpenter


Ingredients for crust:

1 1/2 cups flour

6 Tbsp. powdered sugar

3/4 cup butter (soft)


Directions for crust:

1. Thoroughly mis all three ingredients.

2. Press into the bottom of a cookie or pizza sheet.

3. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 10-15 minutes.

4. Take out of over and cool.


Ingredients for

fruit topping

an 8 ounce package of cream cheese (room temperature)

1/4 cup sugar

1 small container whipped topping or Cool Whip (thawed)

1 1/2 cups fruit if your choice.


Directions for 

fruit toppings

1. Thoroughly mix cream cheese, sugar and whipped topping together.

2. Spread fruit topping evenly on the cooled crust. (Make sure the pizza crust is completely cool.)

3. Spread fruit evenly on top of cream cheese mixture.


Ingredients for 

fruit glaze

1 cup water or berry juice

1/2 small package of Jell-O (your choice of flavor to go with the fruit you’re using.)

4 Tbsp. cornstarch

Directions for

fruit glaze

1. Put all ingredients in a small sauce pan.

2. Bring to a boil.

3. Cook until the crystals are dissolved.

4. cool for 10 minutes.

5. Spread fruit glaze on top of fruit pizza.

6. Cool in fridge,

until time to serve. 

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