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December 10, 1996

Whether you're a backyard barbecue buff on the weekend or an authentic kitchen gourmet virtuoso, a new cookbook has just been produced with you in mind. It's titled Cooking With the Ditch Witch Family and it contains nearly 800 recipes furnished by employees and retirees of the Charles Machine Works, Inc., and, to provide an international flavor, by many of the Ditch Witch dealerships scattered throughout the world.

From noodle strudel to kraut bierocks and frankfurter grune sobe, from sock-it-to-me cake to hot and creamy mustard dip, there's something for virtually every taste. And, each recipe is reputed to be tasty in its own right.

The recipes were collected by the Underground Professionals chapter of Professional Secretaries International, a corporate chapter sponsored by CMW. Proceeds will benefit a scholarship fund now being structured by the group.

Copies will go on sale at $10 Wednesday noon in the atrium at the main office building at the CMW complex on West Fir Avenue. Sales will continue during the noon hour at the atrium on Thursday and Friday and in the company's Promotional Supply department after that.

Recipes are presented alphabetically and in categories -- from "appetizers, beverages and dips" to "vegetables" -- and one of the bonuses is a "household hints" section with suggestions for handling such crises as overcooked potatoes, how to avoid tears when peeling onions and how to remove candle wax from wooden finishes. Other sections contain a wealth of information on kitchen matters and everyday household problems.

In all, the book has 316 pages of useful information with a spiral binding that enables it to be opened flat for easy reference. It was published by G&R Publishing Co., Waverly, Iowa. Cover art was provided by Toby Brooks of the CMW Technical Publications department. A flyleaf shows the book is dedicated to Ed Malzahn, president of CMW, and his wife, Mary; David Woods, chief operating officer of the company; and to all those who read and use the recipes.

The book project was handled by the chapter's ways and means committee, composed of Leslie Weaver, chairman; Linda Branson, June Golliver (chapter president), Tammy Haynes, Brenda Kindschi, Kim Korn, Terrie Platt, Karen Rouse and Susanne Schovanec.

The chapter was chartered Dec. 5 last year with 27 members. Professional Secretaries International represents members of diverse backgrounds, industries, services and professions. The local chapter also donated $1,000 to assist victims of the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.

It's interesting to see how this cookbook, with its international cuisine, underscores an important point described in the dedicatory message. It, says in part:

"Whether you are in the Southern United States trying a Far Eastern recipe or in Sweden trying a Tex-Mex recipe, remember this: we have all been brought together because of that wonderful organization called the Charles Machine Works, Inc. When we respect each other as family members, distance, culture and language are not barriers. They are merely subtle differences that enable us to complement and strengthen each other so we can accomplish more together than we ever could without one another."

Beautiful sentiments eloquently expressed. The world needs many cookbooks and other works like this to keep the nations on a peaceful pursuit of gastronomic and aesthetic happiness. Judging from the recipes I've seen in this book, there's a lifetime of possibilities to be checked out.