In 1993, Colony Days — the event to celebrate the founding of Atascadero — celebrated 20 years. To commemorate the event we formed a committee to put together a cookbook, hoping to raise funds for our nonprofit organization that presents the event in October of each year.
I was chairman of Colony Days that year and our board officers included Vice Chairman Kacey Sullivan, Recording Secretary Joan Rexroth, Corresponding Secretary Tammy Jordan, and Treasurer Dyann Shepard. Then-directors included Diana Schmaeling, Pat Krout, Gaylene McCarty, Maggie Vandergon, Marge Knowles, Geoff English, and Wayne Cooper.
The cookbook planning committee included Pat Krout, Shirley Moore, Joanne Faulconer, David Butz, and myself.
As we set out to design the cookbook, it was clear that we had a wonderful source of recipes right here in Atascadero and that the diversity of backgrounds of the early settlers who answered the invitation of founder E.G. Lewis to “Come West” to Atascadero, was reflected in the recipes we were collecting. Many were from family members who had answered the call.
Our introduction in the book states that “Throughout the history of Atascadero, families and friends have celebrated together by sharing food — picnics, formal dinners, potlucks, and brunches — from Atascadero Beach, to Atascadero Lake Park, to Pine Mountain, and places in-between” — and the tradition continues, 103 years later.
The cookbook, titled “Great Recipes from The Colony”, was a success in many ways. We made some needed funds for the celebration in October, and it gave the Atascadero “community of cooks” an opportunity to share their recipes.
On Oct. 6, Colony Days will celebrate its 45th year of marching down El Camino to celebrate our community, and the cookbook will be 25 years old!
Regional cookbooks are as much a part of Americana as any fancy cookbooks produced by popular chefs. This month I’m sharing two recipes from the book and I’m sure you will recognize the donors.
Note: This first recipe for Margaritas came from Maggie Rice Vandergon, the Founder of Colony Days. Maggie formed the committee in 1973, and has been a member since that year. She calls the Margaritas “the world’s greatest!” Thus, the name.

World’s Greatest Margaritas

From Maggie Rice Vandergon

  • 1 can frozen lemonade (6 oz.)Margarita
  • 1 can frozen limeade (6 oz.)
    (Use the empty lemonade can for the next measures.)
  • 1 ½ can Firestone Walker Lager*
  • 1 1/3 can tequila
  • ¼ to ½ can triple sec
  • Ice cubes

Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher. Mix well. Fill a standard-size electric blender approximately 2/3 full of ice. Pour liquid ingredients over ice. Blend at frappe setting until mixture has reached that consistency. Pour into margarita glasses. (It is your option to rim the glass with salt.) Serve with straws. Recipe makes enough for 2 full blenders.
* Firestone Walker was not a part of the original recipe, but a beer recommended by the publishers of COLONY Magazine.
Note: This next recipe was offered by Doris Reynolds who served on the early Colony Days committee. In 2017 she served as Queen of Colony Days. (Retired Judge Ed Chidlaw served as King.)

Shrimp Curry with Sour Cream

From Doris Reynolds

  • 1 to 1½ lb. raw shrimp, cleaned
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 cans cream of mushroom soup (10 oz. size)
  • 3 teaspoons curry powder
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 5 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Cooked rice

In a frying pan sauté onion and garlic until onion is golden. Add salt, pepper and curry powder, and stir. Add mushroom soup and heat through. Add shrimp and raisins. Heat until shrimp is cooked. Just before serving stir in the sour cream and lemon juice. Taste for seasoning and adjust. Serve over cooked rice with curry accompaniments.
Curry accompaniments: Chutney, tomato wedges, salted chopped nuts, bacon bits, sliced avocado, shredded coconut, chopped hard-cooked eggs, pickles, pineapple chunks. Be creative!
Note: Joyce Elliott DeCou submitted the next recipe. Her parents owned Elliott’s Pharmacy on El Camino Real in Atascadero. She and her husband Jerry owned DeCou Lumber in Atascadero for many years. Jerry was Grand Marshal of the Colony Days Parade in 1997.

Marinated Garbanzos

From Joyce Elliott DeCou

  • 7 cans (15½ oz. each) garbanzo beans
  • ¾ cup wine vinegar
  • ½ cup salad oil
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1½ tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 2 jars pimentos (4 oz. each), drained and chopped
  • 1 bunch green onions, finely chopped

Drain beans and place in large bowl. Add onions and pimentos. Combine vinegar, oils, Italian seasoning and garlic salt in a jar with a lid. Shake to mix and pour over bean mixture. Mix well. Cover and chill overnight, stirring several times. Makes approximately 25 servings.
Suggested additions before serving: cherry tomatoes (any variety), finely sliced celery, finely chopped fresh parsley, thinly sliced baby carrots.
For more information regarding Colony Days and the 2018 event visit: