When readers think of Farm and Dairy, they often think of many voices, of the columnists they read on a regular basis – Janie Jenkins, Judie Sutherland, Dale Wildman. Like the family of Farm and Dairy subscribers themselves, these writers become like family. We often share what’s going on in their lives.
Perhaps no one columnist position is as visible and as well read as our family life editor (OK, so we used to call it the “women’s pages”) – the person who coordinates our recipe page and the information on the facing page.
The first women’s page appeared in the May 10, 1935, edition of Farm and Dairy. Called “For the Home Manager” (I like the sound of that!), the page debuted with recipes for rhubarb brown betty, spicy rhubarb pie, winter jams and peanut butter muffins.
The first “women’s page” editor wasn’t a woman, but the man “who also does livestock stories,” the editor wrote.
“Everyone seemed to think we should have a department for women,” the 1935 issue said. “We believe it does help the appearance of the paper, so it will be continued for a time – at least until we hear of someone being poisoned from one of the recipes!”
Older readers will remember Ruth Henry in the late 1960s and early 1970s. But the woman who shaped those pages for 20 years, starting in 1973, was Kathryn Bennett, daughter of the paper’s editor, the late Elden Groves (whose voice of wisdom and common sense continues to ring in my ears and those of longtime readers).
I still remember some of Kathy’s columns – she could make you laugh ’til your eyes watered! She knew Farm and Dairy readers intimately – and they responded!
When I received Kathy’s resignation letter, the bottom dropped out of my stomach. Like armies, sometimes this paper marches on its readers’ stomachs! How and where would I ever find a decent replacement? And along came Marcy Todd. All is well again.
And so, when Marcy told me last fall that she and her husband, Dave, were moving to the South in December, I felt that stomach-churning feeling again. How and where would I ever find a decent replacement?
And along came Laurie Steeb – and I have no doubt that all is well again.
Laurie, who pens her first column in this week’s paper, is a natural fit. Her rural roots go deep in Columbiana County – the farm where she was raised has been in her mother’s family since it was presented by Thomas Jefferson.
She and her husband of 15 years, Mark, live in Columbiana with their two daughters, Josie, 13, and Kathie, 9. I asked her if she warned her family that anything they say and do might be a column topic (Dave Todd always wanted to write one of Marcy’s columns in revenge…), and Laurie said, yes, that warning has been issued.
A graduate of Mount Union College with a degree in English, Laurie worked in banking for 16 years until the birth of her second child, when she became a stay-at-home mom.
While at Mount, Laurie entertained thoughts of a journalism career, “but the little I worked on Mount’s papers, I hated the deadlines!” (I’m confident that’s about to change.)
Laurie got her first taste of the kitchen through a 4-H cooking and baking project. “I do love cooking and experimenting in the kitchen,” Laurie told me, “but now that I have this job I won’t have as much time to cook!”
When she’s not volunteering at her girls’ schools, Laurie stays busy reading (especially her cookbook collection) and she enjoys photography and crafts.
Laurie is anxious to hear from Farm and Dairy readers and invites suggestions, ideas and, of course, recipes. You can write to her at P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460.
Welcome to the family, Laurie.