History Lesson {Recipe: Root Beer Float Popsicles}

My mom taught me a valuable lesson when I was younger. “Kristen… you’ll always be able to tell the best recipes in a cookbook by the wrinkles and splatters on the pages. The worse the page looks, the better the recipe. You’ll know exactly what recipes the cook turned to time and time again by the looks of the pages in their cookbooks.”

Sure enough, I could always flip to my mom’s favorite buttermilk biscuit recipe in one of her cookbooks because it was coated with flour and fingerprints. The page with her favorite banana cream pie recipe was the one with spatters of dried filling and oil spots from the lard in the crust. By flipping through each of her cookbooks, I could find the recipes that were most important and used by her… simply by the look and feel of the pages.

I remembered my mom’s advice when I went through a cookbook collecting phase. I’d head out to estate sales and auctions looking through the cookbooks, soaking up the history that was told by the messy, torn and soiled pages. I’d get insight into the life of the previous owner just by paging through those treasured books. It was a different kind of history I was learning…a lesson I would never learn in school.

A few months ago my friend Mary had an Academy Awards party. When I arrived she pulled down a book and handed it to me. It was a black, well worn agenda book from 1947, stuffed full of recipes. Come to find out, this black book was where her husbands grandmother pasted recipe clippings she would come across from newspapers, magazines and cookbooks. The party was no longer the focus of my attention. I found myself a spot on her couch and poured through the recipes in this book… snapping pictures with my iPhone every now and then of ones that caught my interest. Hundreds and hundreds of recipes and 50+ iPhone pictures later, I came up for air. Mary’s husbands grandma would have been one hell of a food blogger, I know that. What an incredible collection – notes in the margins, splatters on the pages – so much history on the pages of a  little black book.

This first recipe I tried from my many snapshot’s of Mary’s book was these popsicles. They seemed so modern for clippings that old. Since it was touted as the “World’s Simplest Recipe” I knew I had to give it a try.

What pages are the most splattered in your favorite cookbooks?

Recipe: The Worlds Simplest Recipe – aka Rootbeer Popsicles

  • 1 can Eagle brand sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 12-oz cans of soda pop (we used Root Beer)
  • 1/2 cup RealLemon brand lemon juice
  1. Be sure ingredients are added in this order… Add condensed milk, soda pop and RealLemon to a bowl. Stir.
  2. Fill “Passion Pops” maker (I have no idea what that is, so just used normal popsicle mold), cap and freeze solid.
  3. To release pops from mold, hold briefly under warm, running water, twist caps gently and pull out.
  4. Store the remainder of the mixture in the refrigerator for the next batch of passion pops.


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  1. says

    You are so right, and I never thought of it that way Kristen!!……..I’ll never look at a cookbook the same way now!

    lol…..I can just see you at a party snapping pictures of that collection of recipes!! what a treasure! We are making popsicles today- we’ll have to try this one soon!!

  2. says

    Couldn’t agree with you (and your mom) more! I have hundreds of my grandma’s recipes and the best ones are sooo beat up.

    I love everything root beer float related – these look fantastic!

  3. says

    Next time when the kids aren’t around, try root beer float SHOTS. My bf made some for the 4th. And maybe I had more than 1. And maybe I jumped in the pool. And maybe I had my clothes on. Maybe.

  4. says

    My sister always wants her cookbooks to remain perfect and pristine forever so whenever I use them she gets mad when I get them dirty. I always try to explain to her that I’m only trying to improve their sentimental value. It’s definitely not just because I’m a big, messy slob…

  5. says

    Fabulous recipe thanks so much for sharing! Root Beer Floats and Popsicles are staples in our house this summer. My 4 year old will think it is awesome they are combined!

  6. Pat Wogan says

    Ah, this took me back! Aunt Rose has Mom’s old Good Housekeeping cookbook. Ask her to bring it up some time. You will love it! I made copies of recipes from the cookbook Kathy has that used to be mine. All the ones I copied had stains on them. (I was a messy cook, too, I guess.) Mom

  7. says

    Years ago, I posted a roast recipe that is my favorite and showed the recipe card that was splashed with ingredients and warped from use. I totally relate to this post!! I would have loved to flip through that book as well. And I would also love one of these popsicles!!


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