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A Cookbook’s Journey to Print – Our Favorite Recipes, by Abilene School Food Service Association

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A Cookbook’s Journey to Print Starts with Finding a Treasure

Reprinting his mom’s cookbook Our Favorite Recipes, by Abilene School Food Service Association allowed Dusty Hudgins to preserve history and bring a vintage cookbook to a new generation. This cookbook’s journey to print started with Dusty going through his mom’s cookbooks after she passed away.  When he came across a book called Our Favorite Recipes, it caught his eye. Written on the inside front cover he found his mom’s signature and the date February 26, 1963. Later he posted a photo of the cookbook on social media and people began asking for copies of the cookbook.

Vintage Cookbook with Local Flavor

As she worked in the cafeteria for the Abilene, Texas, school district, Dusty’s mom, Florice Hudgins created Our Favorite Recipes. The city’s lunch ladies shared recipes they served at home for Florice’s cookbook.  This helped her capture the flavors of 1960 Abilene homes. Some recipes call for items not often used today, including lard, Accent, and oleo.

Cookbook Journey to Print as a Reprint       

Dusty wanted to find the original printer of the book to do the reprint, but the printer’s name wasn’t in the book. Thankfully, a friend had a cookbook from about the same year and shared the printer’s name. Dusty reached out to Jumbo Jack’s (now a division of Cookbook Specialists).

Cookbook Specialists, located in Iowa, quickly found the original records for the book. However, due to the time that had passed, there were no electronic files. So at Dusty’s request, the printer retyped and recreated the book. With attention to detail, they kept it as close to the original as possible, preserving the vintage charm of the book. Furthermore, people have commented that even the cover is the same and maintains the aged and stained look of the original.

Word Gets Out About the Cookbook

Word got out about the cookbook and it started selling quickly. Soon, Dusty had to place a reorder with the printer. In time the cookbook appeared in local newspapers,  Southern Living magazine and CNN, causing sales to increase. Now that the word is out, Dusty finds himself filling orders for the cookbook daily.

Fundraising to Supply Kids with Food

Profits from Our Favorite Recipes goes to the local Love & Care Ministries and their program “CarePack for Kids,” providing food for kids in need over weekends and holidays. This means the cookbook created by a lunch lady still continues to feed the children of the community today. As a result, some orders for cookbooks come in with additional donations for CarePack for Kids.

Bringing Joy and Preserving History

Dusty has developed a bit of a reputation as being the “cookbook guy” and calls himself the Cookbook Kid. Reprinting the cookbook and selling it in his mother’s honor keeps Dusty busy in his retirement. He has received many letters and comments about the joy the cookbook has brought. What’s more, people appreciate the work to preserve family recipes.

Dusty’s original copy of the book contains the best treasure – it includes notes in his mother’s handwriting. Within the pages the notes point out things like “this one is good” or “good to take to church.” Our Favorite Recipes has become a beautiful legacy from Florice.  Now, today’s cooks can add their notes to the reprint while the cookbook inspires family meals.

To purchase a copy of the cookbook email Dusty Hudgins at

Learn more about CarePack for Kids at Love & Care Ministries

Read additional stories about Our Favorite Recipes at the following links:

KTAB/KRBC/Telemundo Abilene & BigCountryHomepage

Southern Living


To learn how to have your book printed, visit Cookbook Specialists or call 1-800-383-1679