Saturday, March 27, 2010


My Department 815 had, without a doubt, the best
carry-in dinners in the plant.

A new Assembly Manager had been promoted shortly before Easter. Good Friday was a holiday; our carry-in dinner was scheduled for Thursday. One of my repairmen collected money to purchase the meat. Each person was to contribute $2.00 and bring a covered dish.

I told my boss, the new Assembly Manager, that he MUST join us for dinner. He said, "Oh, every department is having a carry-in." I said, "But none will be as good as ours." He said, a little sarcastically, "I suppose that's because you're here." He said that because I was the only woman in the department. I said, "Oh, Hell no, the guys do everything." As a matter of fact, I worked very hard organizing the event, but the guys did do all of the work!

The Carry-In Committee came to me on Wednesday and said that they'd gotten such a good deal on the ham and turkey that they had money left over and one of them said, "I'm thinking about having shrimp cocktail." I said, "Wow, I love shrimp cocktail."

Before lunch time on Thursday the forklift drivers had wire baskets lined up in the gangway with boards placed across them for makeshift tables. The Committee had brought tablecloths, pots of yellow tulips, and candles for the tables! I paged my boss to come join us. He and I led the line and he said, "I can't believe it; flowers, candles and SHRIMP COCKTAIL at a carry-in dinner!" The meal was splendid with all kinds of dishes that the men were proud to share.

Because of the great dinners, I decided that a "Carry-In Cookbook" would be a nice memento for the guys. I asked each one of the guys to submit a favorite recipe and to add a humorous anecdote if they wished. I did all of the typing, proofing, graphics, and assembling and the guys pitched in the money to pay for the binding. The day after I had distributed the cookbooks to MY guys, the Assembly Manager confronted me and told me that HIS other departments were upset because they had not received cookbooks. I said, "Tell them WAAAANNNNHHH!" I will admit that was unprofessional, but I could not believe that they were acting so silly! He gave a look of disgust and said, very dismissively, "You have the most pampered pieceworkers I've ever seen." I could not let that pass and answered, "That's probably why our quality and production are the best!" A few days later I received a call from Human Resources and I was told that it was not acceptable to make the cookbook for JUST my guys as it demonstrated favoritism. I asked how it could be construed as favoritism when each one of my guys had been FAVORED with a cookbook! The HR Manager did not like my flippancy but I told him to tell the other departments to do as I had done if they wanted a cookbook for their people and that all the work had been done on my own time at home except for gathering the recipes and that l had done that at break times. I added that I would be willing to give advice.

When the President and CEO came to visit, I gave him a copy of the cookbook to give to his wife and she sent me a lovely thank-you note. My boss sheepishly asked if he could have one for his wife!

Last year I was at Eastland Mall and one of the guys who had worked for me in Department 815 was there with his wife, and as he introduced me to her, he said, "This is the lady who made the cookbook!" His wife told me how much she loved the cookbook and especially because TWO of her recipes were in it!

Yes, I completed that Contract ahead of schedule and under budget, but what he remembered after 26 years was the cookbook! This is one of his wife's recipes which I have been making since 1983 and it is my family's favorite sheet cake:

Mrs. Richard Harmon's Hershey's Cocoa Cake

Grease and flour a 15" x 10" sheet cake pan (cookie sheet with sides)

Mix in saucepan and bring to a boil:

2 sticks margarine
1 cup water
4 rounded tablespoons sifted Hershey's Cocoa (do NOT use any other brand!)

Remove from heat.

Mix together dry ingredients:

2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

Mix together and add to the dry ingredients mixture:

2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix well. Place in sheet cake pan.

Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Let cool completely before icing.


1 stick margarine
1/3 cup milk
3 tablespoons Hershey's cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix well and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add:

1 pound powdered sugar

Mix well and pour over cooled cake.

1 comment:

Mona Lisa said...

Do you have a recipe for "calico beans"? A guy used to bring them to potluck dinners and I never got the recipe and now he's deceased.