So, one of my favorite (and the fave for a lot of other cooks) recipe sites was the Hillbilly Housewife. Her $70 weekly menu and $45 Emergency weekly menu are legendary. HBHW is not the kind of place you go to everyday (well, Maggie started a blog, so some people did start visting everyday), but when you needed a really REALLY cheap, but nutritious and more than likely good tasting meal for your family, you were very glad it was around. Maggie (the original HBHW) started her site based on her own values and her own recipes. Some of the recipes were modifications of recipes from popular cookbooks (her muffins are almost straight out of Better Homes and Gardens), but it didn’t matter because she wrote her recipes in such a way that you really understood how to do them. None of them were really fancy food, but they were all explained very carefully in a pleasant voice with a light sense of humor. She stressed frugality above all, feeding your family with your own two hands, and understanding what is going into your food (to a lesser extent). She also had a huge collection of recipes which had been tweeked for cooking outdoors (either camping, or the power is off) and was starting a collection of Healthy Hillbilly recipes.
My family hasn’t enjoyed every recipe from her site, but enough of them we have that I plan on making my daughter and my son each a cookbook built around Maggie’s recipes. Why? Because I firmly believe that everyone, man or woman, should be able to feed their family (or just themselves) in a way that isn’t limited to sandwiches and nuclear orange mac and cheese. I am starting to teach my daughter (6) and will teach my son how to cook, but having a cookbook to pore over is and find new recipes or old favorites is a joy in my opinion.
A while ago, I noticed something different, though. I go back to HBHW every so often, when I am in need of inspiration and I feel the pursestrings need to be tightened. Recipezaar is fabulous, but it is hard to just cruise around looking for inspiration – there are just too many recipes. So I went to HBHW, and I noticed that there was a lot of ads on the site. Maggie has had some real issues with ads showing for things she didn’t believe in, and finally settled on little GoogleAds. Well now there were big old images all over her beautiful clean looking site. I wondered what was up. It turns out that Maggie has turned over her site to someone else, citing that she needs to spend more time with her family. While I don’t begrudge her that at all, I don’t like what is happening to the site now.
Susanne, the new owner, is probably a lovely woman with much the same values as Maggie, and while I don’t begrudge HER wanting to put a personal stamp on the site, I miss the old site. It was refreshingly clean looking, just black and white with simple little drawings to illustrate things. It had a look out of the 1950′s, but toned down and uncluttered. It was very easy to read and very easy to navigate.
And now it has huge banner ads and a weird blue background and it is hard to find the stuff I remember from the old site. I am going to grab everything I can before it disappears or changes into unrecognizableness (is that a word?) and put it on my home computer so I can make my cookbooks. And yes, Maggie gives everyone permission to share her recipes as long as no money is exchanged for it, and Susanne has not removed the notice concerning this. I also even got specific permission, because I am like that. I will be removing the link to it, although I am sure it will still be easy to find on Google.