RETIRED INTERIOR DESIGNER ENJOYS RETIREMENT, REFLECTS ON SIGNATURE COOKBOOK

Cookbook DidierIt was 1976. The nation’s bicentennial year. Fort Wayne native Donald F. Didier was still actively working as an interior designer. Didier, one of the nine original children of the Didier family, Didier fought the Second World War at Baerfield while flying a typewriter. Used the GI Bill to study interior design in Houston, Texas. Came back to Fort Wayne and began his career at Adams and Walda, a furniture store on the southwest side of Fort Wayne.

Eventually, Didier joined Cam Snearing and formed a design studio in downtown Fort Wayne. From there, he designed the interiors of homes owned by some of Fort Wayne’s most prestigious families with addresses on Forest Park Boulevard, Old Mill Road, and throughout the Summit City.

As a member of the American Association of Interior Designers, ASID, Didier always liked cooking and still cooks his own meals today. That’s why Didier decided to form a committee of ASID members in Indiana in 1976 and write a cookbook. With many recipes contributed by designers throughout Indiana, Didier took it a step further and decided to track down celebrities with a Hoosier heritage – celebrities like Governor Otis. R. Bowen, M.D., and his wife, Elizabeth Ann Bowen. Birch Bayh. Fashion designer Bill Blass, and others.

“I’m indebted to the distinguished men and women whose contributions introduce the book. All have or have had associations with Indiana, the majority being native Hoosiers,” said Didier, now 91-years-old in a recent interview with The Waynedale News.

“It was not the intent the book contain recipes strictly for the gourmet, though it contains a number of them. Simply put, it is a collection of favorite recipes.”

Governor Otis R. Bowen, M.D., and Mrs. Elizabeth Anne Bowen
Served as 44th Governor of Indiana from 1973-1981, Speaker of the Indiana House of Representatives and 14 years a member of that body, Bowen held an A.B. Degree in Chemistry from Indiana University and earned his M.D., from the same school in 1942.

First Lady of Indiana, Beth Bowen, during the span of her husband’s two careers, accumulated a broad knowledge of state government. She was actively involved in the Indiana State Medical Association Auxiliary, and sat on the Board of Governors of Riley Memorial Hospital Association, and the National Advisory Committee, Child Abuse and Neglect Project.

The Bowen’s have two recipes in the book.

GOOD BRUNCH
CASSEROLE
8 slices Buttered Bread
1 lb. Grated Cheese (½ American; ½ Cheddar)
1 lb. Pre-cooked ham slices
6 Eggs, beaten
2 c. Milk
½ cup Half & Half
Break bread and place broken pieces in bottom of buttered casserole. Spread cubed ham and cheese over bread. Beat eggs, milk and Half & Half together and pour over bread, ham and cheese mixture.
Prepare night before and let set in refrigerator.
Bake 1 hour in 300 degree oven.

BLUEBERRY MUFFINS
1 ½ cup Flour
½ cup Sugar
3 tsp. Baking Powder
½ tsp. Salt
1 Egg, well beaten
½ cup Milk
¼ cup Shortening, melted
1 cup fresh Blueberries, washed and drained
Sift dry ingredients of flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.
To dry ingredients blend mixture of egg and milk.
Just before completely blended, add melted shortening.
Fold in blueberries.
Pour into baking cups or greased muffin tins and bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
Makes 14-16 muffins.

Birch Bayh
A farmer, a lawyer, class president, star athlete, Army veteran, State legislator, and once Indiana’s United States Senator. He was the youngest to write and guide a Constitutional amendment to passage since Thomas Jefferson: the 25th Amendment.

BROCCOLI CASSEROLE
2 pkgs. frozen chopped Broccoli
1 stick garlic flavored Cheese
1 can Mushroom Soup
Thaw slightly and salt broccoli to taste. Place in slightly greased casserole.
Pour mushroom soup over broccoli.
Place on top one sliced stick garlic flavored cheese.
Cook 25 minutes in 375 degree oven.
Serves 4-6.

Bill Blass
As a widely acclaimed fashion designer, he designed menswear, watches, luggage, sheets, towels, furs and even eyeglasses. He has received awards and is in the fashion hall of fame.

COLD CURRIED
AVOCADO SOUP
1 large or 2 small ripe Avocados
2 ¼ cup Chicken Stock
1 tsp. Curry Powder
¾ tsp. Salt
1/8 tsp. fresh ground White Pepper
½ cup Heavy Cream
4 thin slices of Avocado
2 tbsp. Lemon Juice
Peel and halve the avocado without pit. Cut avocado into rough pieces. Place avocado and one cup of stock in container of an electric blender.

Add curry powder, salt and pepper.
Blend high speed for thirty seconds.
Pour mixture into an enamelware saucepan.
Add remaining stock and heat stirring to boiling.
Cool.
Stir in cream and chill.
Serve in chilled soup cups.

Garnish with an avocado slice dipped in lemon juice.
The book took more than a year to produce, the manuscript typed carefully on Didier’s portable Royal Quiet de Luxe typewriter.

Brandon D. Schwarze

Brandon D. Schwarze

Brandon Schwarze is a Fort Wayne native and an award winning, nationally published Journalist and Freelance Writer living in Fort Wayne. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer