It was in 2007 when Jim Weishaar opened his deceased Aunt Mill’s recipe box and her legacy that spilled out and brought to life a heritage deeply rooted northeast Kansas family farm traditions.
“It was when I opened that box and memories of her and the family just came out,” Weishaar said. “There were lots of recipes handwritten on scraps of paper and backs of envelopes.”
Weishaar is the son of William and Mary Lou Weishaar, and is a member of the 1986 graduated class of Jefferson County North High School, soon left the family farm in the Nortonville community and left for a spell to pursue a civil service career with the financial management in various federal government departments. His career path took him to Kansas City, Washington, D. C., and Indianapolis, Indiana with the U.S. Department of Defense. In 2013 Weishaar returned back to his home place where he resides his six Labrador-mixed dogs, five brothers and their father. Weishaar currently works with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Aunt “Mill” as she was fondly known to Weishaar is his dad’s sister, Mildred.
Sometime after, Weishaar reviewed the contents of Mill’s recipe box he mentioned it and the memories it stirred to his friend and co-worker at the time, Rose who encouraged home to write the collections down to share with others. Rose’s encouragement culminated into his recently published book “MillRose – A Century of Family, Farm and Food.” The book is named for three persons who inspired him, Aunt Mildred, his mother Mary Lou and Rose, Weishaar said in honor of the farm, family and food that has been an integral part of life.
In his younger years it was a long-standing family tradition that his father’s side of the family — the Weishaars, would gather for Christmas and Easter family dinners, Weishaar said. That is from the times many of his memories stemmed from.
The book feature glimpses of the past and seasonal bounties gathered from the farmland and the gardens. Weishaar said his favorite is an angel food cake because Aunt Mill always have one on hand whenever he would drop by for a visit after he left the farm.
“She always seemed to have one in the freezer,” Weishaar said. “She would always give me one.”
Aunt Mill died when she was 86 years old on Nov. 8, 2006 according to www.findagrave.com/. She was born May 24, 1920 to John Joseph and Cecelia Helen (Bertels) Weishaar.
Jefferson County Online News posted Mildred F. “Mill” Weishaar’s obituary that indicated she attended St. Joseph Catholic School in Nortonville. She was a seamstress at Horton Garment Factory in Atchison for many years and served as a cook at the youth center and the Village Villa Nursing Home. She tended to the St. Joseph Church Sacristy and taught the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine religion classes to the Nortonville youth.
Weishaar’s Aunt Mill also served as a cook at Bub O’Trimble’s Restaurant in Nortonville, according to the online obituary.
In his book, not only does Weishaar feature his Aunt Mill’s and his mother’s recipes, but some of his own basics along with 40 food preparation hints, methods and tips that he’s learned since he started cooking. They mostly developed by trial and error, Weishaar said his techniques. Sections of the book are organized according to the seasons and features recipes for the fresh fruits and vegetables from the orchards and gardens to the dinner tables. There are sections that focus on preservation and canning, and pet foods. Weishaar’s farm heritage and recollections are integrated throughout the book. Not only is Weishaar’s work in the content, but he designed the book’s cover.
“MillRose” is Weishaar’s first book and is available at Amazon, amazon.com, in both printed and Kindle formats.