This Defunct Newspaper Column Will Inspire Your Holiday Baking

Let’s go back, way back. Before food blogs, Pinterest boards, and having infinite knowledge at our fingertips at all times. Where were we getting our recipes? 

We’d probably have a cookbook or two, maybe some recipe cards, and whatever we had stored in our “mental recipe bank.” But what if we were looking for something new? We could bug whoever brought that tasty dish to the potluck for a recipe, or we could also look in the newspaper. 

The Culinary Calling column was a popular feature in the Women’s Section of the Wheeling Intelligencer in the 1960s, and was a repository of community cooking knowledge. When it was launched in the July 4 issue, Grace Joanou, editor of the Women’s Section framed the feature as a great way to share recipes with neighbors.

Page 6 of The Intelligencer, published in Wheeling, WV on Monday, Nov. 25, 1963.

In subsequent years the column reprinted recipes as requested, and around the holidays the Intelligencer would send out a collection of holiday recipes. 

While there are many stand-out dishes featured in Culinary Calling, here’s a sampling that may come in handy as you finish up your holiday baking for the season. If you’d like to take a deeper dive into Culinary Calling recipes of year’s past, you can look up back issues of the Wheeling Intelligencer at the Ohio County Digital Newspaper Archive.

Carrot, Pumpkin, or Sweet Potato Cookies

Originally submitted to the Wheeling Intelligencer by Mrs. Helen Materkoski, of Glen Dale, West Virginia, December 1960.

Helen Materkoski serving her special carrot cookies.


2 cups sugar

2 eggs 

2 cups cooked mashed carrots

2 cups shortening (or butter)

1 teaspoon salt

4 teaspoons baking powder

4 ½ cups flour

2 teaspoons vanilla 

(when using sweet potato or pumpkin, add 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice.)


Mix all of the above ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix well either by hand or electric beater. Drop by teaspoon on a greased cookie sheet. Bake in a 375-degree oven for about 15 minutes. 

Cool and ice with the following icing: 1 stick butter, 1 box powdered sugar, enough fresh orange juice to mix well enough to spread on cookies.

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Snowball Cookies 

Originally submitted to the Wheeling Intelligencer by Mrs. Eleanor Snively and Mrs. Walter Applegarth of Belmont County, Ohio, December 1957.


2 cups flour

1 cup shortening (or butter)

½ cup powdered sugar 

3 tablespoons vanilla extract 

¾ cups walnuts, chopped. 


Combine ingredients. Roll into cherry size balls. Bake for 15-20 minutes in a 350-degree oven or until slightly browned. When cool, ice with a butter frosting and roll in coconut. You can also roll these cookies in powdered sugar as soon as they are taken from the oven while hot. Makes 40 small cookies.

Sugar Cookies

Originally submitted to the Wheeling Intelligencer by Margaret Schneider, of Wheeling, West Virginia, December 1961.

Becky Runkle was another Wheelingite who submitted her version of a sugar cookie recipe that was published in the Wheeling Intelligencer on Dec. 15, 1962.


½ cup butter

½ cup shortening 

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

3 ½ sifted all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract


Cream together butter, shortening, and sugar. Add eggs and blend well. Sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Add the flour mixture gradually to creamed mixture. Add vanilla extract and chill the dough. Roll out on a floured surface to ¼ inch thickness. Cut with a cookie cutter in desired designs. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Sprinkle with colored sugar. Bake in a 425-degree oven for 6-8 minutes. Yields 5-7 dozen.

What are your favorite holiday baking recipes? Submit yours in the comments below or send it to for your chance to have it featured in a future article. 

Kate Wietor is currently studying Architectural History and Historic Preservation at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. She spent one glorious year in Wheeling serving as the 2021-22 AmeriCorps member at Wheeling Heritage. Since moving back to Virginia, she’s still looking for an antique store that rivals Sibs.