2018 A to Z: F… All About Nancy Drew

2018 A to Z: F… All About Nancy Drew

F glassIn 2016 I learned of the first annual April A to Z… it immediately intrigued me and I began racking my brain for a theme. After much reading, and thinking… I finally came up with the theme of Southern Foods and Memories… it said to write what you know! When April of 2017 rolled around, I decided to share Conversations with Mama to the world… the best of my on-going blog post that has generated from nightly talks to my mother. It’s now 2018 and as Nancy Drew has been on my mind… since I began re-building my collection back… well, I hope you will join me in celebrating All about Nancy Drew during the A to Z Blog Hop!


F is for… Favorites, Foods, Finds, Fans, and Facebook Groups


bookcase top

So Many Favorites!

It’s hard to pick a favorite book, but Nancy Drew is definitely my favorite character! Sometimes it’s the art covers which draw me to the books, like The Hidden Staircase, or The Secret of the Old Clock. The problem with the book cover art is… which time-zone book… I do love the older OT (original text) art, with the artists painting in more detail., but I’m still partial to those yellow spines I grew up reading. I’m sure we all have our favorites for one reason or another. I’d love to hear yours!


Has any of your favorite foods been served on the Drew table? I’m still waiting for my peach or blackberry cobbler… when they appear, I’ll know Nancy lives in the South! (I finally found the fried chicken, but I’m not really placing Nancy’s home as in the deep South yet!)

Hannah seems to be a great cook and serves hot meals every night… always busy in the kitchen serving up her famous chicken casserole, apple pudding, and when in season… blueberry muffins and raspberry shortcake – that’s a new one to me! Hannah sure makes me hungry when she serves pot roast to the table… I’m ready to pull out a chair and dig in!

The Hidden Staircase – The table was filled with sherbert glasses filled with orange and grapefruit slices, spring lamb, rice and mushrooms, fresh peas and chocolate Angel Cake with vanilla ice cream. Nancy later somehow found the time to whip up a floating island dessert while hunting for ghosts! That’s not a dessert a novice would tackle, and have it turn out perfect on the first attempt… I guess Nancy has been spending time in the kitchen… after all, there is a Nancy Drew cookbook!

Secret of Red Gate Farm – A few of my favorites from there were the breakfast foods of pancakes and sausage, hot biscuits, and sizzling ham, and sweet potatoes… dessert was coffee and lemon meringue pie. A place I’d most enjoy visiting and eating!

Nancy left Red Gate Farm – with bags filled with celery, 2 dressed ducks, popcorn ears, a big pumpkin, eggs, potatoes, and apples. Hannah sure had her work cut out for her when Nancy returned home! (pg. 2)

Red Gate Farm – Hannah baked the girl’s sweet fancy cakes from a recipe on the baking powder can and also made them cocoa! Who wouldn’t have wanted to live in the Drew home having Hannah always baking goodies for them?

Nancy’s Mysterious Letter – After returning from Red Gate Farm, Nancy enlisted the help of Bess and George, as Mrs. Burd had loaded her car with farm produce of celery, dressed ducks, a pumpkin, eggs, potatoes, apples, and popcorn ears… now that’s a new one and sounds like the ears my grandfather grew for popping. He grew two types of corn… one for popping, and one for eating; until Mama told me, I’d never given a thought as to how popcorn kernels were developed or even grown. He made sure to plant the real corn kernels away from the rows of popping corn… if they were too close, they pollinated into the eating corn fields and ruined the crop.

Nancy’s Mysterious Letter – Hannah also made apple turnovers from the fresh apples Nancy brought home from Red Gate Farms (pg. 38). In the revised book, there was no mention of what they brought back from the farm… it was only written as “they unloaded fruits and vegetables from Nancy’s convertible.” I love all the details in the OT books!

Nancy’s Mysterious Letter – It must have been a cool day as Hannah made bouillon and toasted cheese sandwiches for lunch. Nancy remarked how Hannah had the most delicious trick of putting just a speck of nutmeg in her chicken bouillon. I’ve never heard of that trick… sounds “fallish” to me… might have to give it a try soon. Yum… (pg. 61)

Nancy’s Mysterious Letter – Hannah says, “I’m sorry your father won’t be here tonight as I cooked the ducks you brought back from Red Gate Farms. They are stuffed with crabapples, just the way he likes them, now there will be a lot wasted.” Nancy quickly calls Bess to come eat… no answer at her house, but George was home and said, “will I come eat roast duckling? You bet! Too bad Bess went out of town!” Hannah also served tomato soup with brown crispy croutons before the meal and as George plopped down in Mr. Drews chair, Nancy announced that she would have to carve the duck if she sat in her father’s chair. I laughed at the antics written of how George was trying to carve that duck… not quite sure why Hannah just didn’t carve it herself, as George seemed to mutilate it… I was waiting to read how it flew off the table and sailed out an open window… and maybe the neighbor’s dog ran away with it. (pg.93)

The Scarlet Slipper Mystery – Nancy promised Ned apple pie… I think it’s the first time I read that she was actually going to cook… and I think Ned is still waiting for it as I never read it was actually served… maybe Nancy should cook breakfast once in awhile and give poor Hannah a break (pg 65)! Nancy has published her own cookbook… The Nancy Drew Cookbook… it seems our Nancy is an accomplished cook after all!

The Message in the Hollow Oak – I was ok with the foods of roast beef, cookies, broiled fish… freshly caught, and served with butter, almonds, desserts, and beaten biscuits, but the stuffed fishballs did me in… I’ll pass on those! I’ve seen older recipes for beaten biscuits and always thought it a funny terminology. Being a girl of the South… I can make a pretty good darn biscuit, but I haven’t actually beaten one yet!

The Password to Larkspur Lane – Hannah served Carson Drew’s favorites… hot biscuits and chicken with sweet pickles… no vegetables? While I’d love the chicken and biscuits, I can’t really see sweet pickles served with this! I do enjoy sweet pickled peaches with my fried chicken, but I’m no fan of any other type of pickles! I’m wondering if our Hannah can make a biscuit from scratch… nothing better than a home-made biscuit… and I learned from my mama, who learned from her mama! Every southern girl should know how to make a biscuit! (pg.10)

This one sure made me hungry… Sunday dinner of roast lamb, mashed potatoes, fresh peas and strawberry shortcake… sounds like a summer dinner in using the strawberries!

The Clue of the Dancing Puppet – Nancy suggests to Hannah to cook a roast with all the trimmings and strawberry shortcake, then remembers that Bess was dieting and changed the dessert to apple snow pudding with a thin custard sauce. (How considerate to think of her friend who struggles with her weight!) What is apple snow pudding?

The Invisible Intruder – Nancy served lemonade to everyone on this warm evening as they discussed going on the ghost hunt. I laughed out loud as I pictured Nancy in the kitchen, all afternoon, squeezing all those lemons… if you’ve ever made lemonade from scratch, you know it takes lots and lots of lemons to make a good lemonade… and lots and lots of “hand” squeezing. I doubt seriously she had one of our super-duper electric squeezers! (pg.6)

Mystery at The Ski Jump – Lots of yummy foods to keep Nancy warm in the winter throughout this book! Pot Roast, big brown potatoes (brown?), apple pie with lots of cinnamon, chicken pie, angel cake, venison, wild rice, currant jelly, cherry pie, hot chocolate, cinnamon toast, ham and eggs, and slabs of bacon! One meal was listed as a trappers dinner… I’m sure you can figure out which one that was! (How many times do we see Angel food cake and apple pie, must have been the writers’ favorites!)

The Haunted Showboat – Nancy ate many of my favorite foods while on this mystery escapade. Fried chicken, cornbread, sweet potatoes, pecan pie (my favorite), tea, (was it sweet tea?), oyster Rockefeller on hot salt with secret garlic sauce, chicken in bag (what was that?), creole rice, boiling ham and corn cakes, stuffed pheasant, OJ, bacon and eggs, toast and cocoa. Boy… Nancy sure ate well throughout while solving the mystery. Most were favorites, but there are a few I’d pass on!

The Secret of the Wooden Lady – Again with the fried chicken… someone is now beginning to have a serious “love affair” of fried chicken between the pages. Along with the chicken, they ate enormous quantities of bacon and eggs, pancakes, coffee, vegetables (no mention of what kind), fruit and steak. (Really, all this fried chicken is making me hungry! I guess after spending time on a boat and all the swimming… they were starved!)

Clue of the Leaning Chimney – These foods represented Helen’s birthday party and a wedding, but which these foods served at the wedding? Bacon and eggs, buttered toast (they really like to eat breakfast), OJ and milk, peppermint luscious layer cake and ice cream (was that the wedding cake?), paper-wrapped sandwiches (Hmm… what was the filling?), punch and more sandwiches. Doesn’t sound like foods I’ve ever eaten at weddings!

The Ghosts of Blackwood Hall – They enjoyed broiled hamburgers, tea, milk and sandwiches, and a lake trout dinner. Hmm, what did they take along for the sundown picnics?

The Mystery of the Tolling Bell – When I read puffed shrimp…. well it had me scratching my head, as I’ve never heard this one before. The rest of the book foods weren’t as unusual either, except for the Dandee Tart, but the others of french fried clams, cabbage salad, hot biscuits, lemonade and apple pie seemed pretty normal; lemonade and apple pie are certainly favorites as they are showing up more and more. Many of these were enjoyed at the Yacht Club Dance.

In case you’re wondering about that Dandee Tart… as I sure was! It’s filled with steaming hot fish pudding and topped with salmon-colored meringue. Hypers!!! Who could eat that? But I could eat the three-decker grilled lobster, cheese, and tomato sandwich… now that sounds delish!

The Mystery of the Ivory Charm – They seemed to have eaten somewhat plain throughout this book as I read about cool drinks, orange juice, special griddle cakes (vs regular griddle cakes) hot broth (their wording for plain broth soup), tea, cakes, bacon, peanuts, and popcorn (did they go to a ballgame?).

The Witch Tree Symbol – This book will make you quite hungry… and they certainly ate well beginning with homemade chicken soup, roast beef, apple pie (someone loves this), brown, yellow and white cheese (never heard cheeses referred to as such), red, purple and grape jellies, platter of huge slices of homemade bread, (that’s why they needed all those jams and jellies), apple butter, stewed peaches, canned cherries, pickled onions, sour cantaloupe (I’ve never heard of this?), corn relish, pot pie of rabbit, shoofly pie, moon pie, cookies (and they didn’t even tell us what kind), apple pie… again, doughnuts, bread slathered in apple butter, fasnachts (See below), fried chicken (finally something I’d eat), and pickle relish. Did Nancy and the gang search for villains in this book… sounds more like that they constantly were eating!

In reading of the foods served throughout The Witch Tree Symbol… I could easily see they were foods associated with the Pennsylvania Germans. Angel Food cake with whipped cream frosting, fasnachts, lemonade (has to be Nancy’s favorite), something called “old shoes” which are potatoes inside dumplings. When I read Milich Flitche, which is a pie of flour, cream, sugar, and cinnamon… I had to research this and found it’s mostly known as a “milk pie”… a German dish your grandmother would make. The next time I head to the Amish area in PA., I’m going to search this one out, if I can pronounce it correctly!

Fastnacht can also be spelled in various ways, such as “fasnacht“, “fassenacht,” or “faschnacht.” The word “fastnacht” means “the night before the fast”… as the doughnuts are eaten the night before Lent when fasting, it usually is observed by many Christians until Easter Sunday… and if you’re still not sure what they are… well they are just plain old doughnuts!

The Mystery of The Fire Dragon: In reference to being both set in New York City and Hong Kong, they ate certain foods. While out to dinner with Aunt Eloise, they ordered Peking duck, with bean sprouts, and birds-nest soup. Later in Hong Kong, Ned ordered sweet and sour pork, beef fried in oyster sauce, bamboo shoots, rice and almond tea. Nancy later remarked how it seemed more like a Chinese Thanksgiving dinner! (The almond tea sure sounds interesting, I need to try that)


When I began rebuilding my Nancy Drew collection… I so anxious to find my first Nancy Drew book! For weeks, I looked and looked at tag sales and flea markets… with no luck! Finally, at a nearby town tag sale on the green, I walked up to a vendors table and there “Nancy” lay… all alone… The Mystery at Lilac Inn! My first vintage yellow spine book, just like what I read as a young girl… and I almost didn’t buy it!

first one foundFIX

The $5 price tag on the book made me lay it down and walk away. What was I thinking… I’m a haggler! After catching up to hubby, and telling him… he just looked at me… and  said, “you didn’t haggle a better price?” I had no clue why I didn’t, as I always do in buying! He quickly pushed me to go back around before leaving…. Yay… it was still there! I asked the dealer if she could do any better and she came back quickly with, “how about $3?”  I couldn’t pull out the three dollars fast enough and walk away with my first book tucked safely in my purse! I felt like a nine-year-old girl again!

I finally broke my losing spell… and now I continually find them in many places… to the point that I almost have a complete set of those yellow spines. I keep a running list on my phone as to what I have, condition, etc… so I can continue looking to replace some that are more a reader than a saver. But whenever I find Nancy Drew’s at low prices, I can’t resist purchasing. I use the excuse of… “well I have five granddaughters, they won’t go to waste.” I have one granddaughter already reading, and I’m working on another!

No sooner than we got back in the car, I posted on Facebook that I had finally found my first Nancy Drew book! Not sure how many on my friend list was as excited as I was… but I didn’t care! Later, a few comments rolled on the post of how they had read and loved Nancy also… some even still had their books. But there were many like me, who didn’t know what happened to their collections. I’m so “jealous” of anyone who held on to their books!

Recently on a trip to Georgia to visit mom, we drove down to my old hometown… and I so hoped to discover at least one Nancy Drew book there, but sadly left empty handed. I hope to make their library book sale this April… and wouldn’t it be a miracle to find one with my name written in. I’m a big dreamer!

My first library book sale had me doing the “happy dance” … walking out with a very heavy box of vintage and flashlight editions… of which hubby graciously carried. He’s my Ned! This was my first time attending one of those friends of library sales, but believe me… I’m on top of them now; you never know what you’ll find!

One of my favorite “finds” recently was that I finally found my daughters box of Nancy Drew books…  they had been packed away for over 20 years; I had had no clue as to where they were, but always hoping that they had been saved… somewhere! Hubby discovered them while cleaning the cellar… tucked high away on a rack filled with toys and games. So happy that they were never given away, even though my daughter fessed that she only read but one. In looking through them, I found her name penned in Book one, she wrote: “This book belongs to Melissa.” I treasure that book! 

Mellissa sig FIX

My daughter Melissa’s first Nancy Drew book


Children series-books created “fans” through the years, and today we are lucky that there still is such a group of us die-hard addicts! The “Nancy Drew Sleuths” welcomes us as fans today… if your a fan like me, do check it out through the link above!


The Nancy Drew Sleuths runs a very informative website, publishes an Ezine called “The Sleuth” and runs a yearly Nancy Drew Convention for their fans; this year it’s being held in Key West, Florida (April 25 – 28).

nancy drew card club

Early Fan Club card you received when you joined the Wanderer’s Nancy Drew Fan Club. Photo courtesy of James D. Keeline. (Filmed at the New York Public Library in The Stratemeyer Archives) Oh, what I wouldn’t give to have one! I wonder who signed the signatures of Carolyn Keene and F. W. Dixon?

Nancy club card

A later Nancy Drew Fan Club card. Photo courtesy of James D. Keeline. (Filmed at the New York Public Library in The Stratemeyer Archives)

I was a fan of Nancy Drew as a young girl… and recently my fan addiction has resurfaced again! The dust jackets of the Nancy Drew series books offered fans even more with the lure of joining a club… to buy more books! I’ve joined many of those type clubs over the years… sure wish I had joined Nancy! I often ask myself why I didn’t… maybe I never saw an advertisement for one? I know I definitely would have put my dime in an envelope pretty quick. Who wouldn’t have wanted to join the club after reading that tease… luring you in on the book jackets?

Photo courtesy of James D. Keeline. (Filmed at the New York Public Library in The Stratemeyer Archives)

Love reading the info here… Take the 1st book for only 10 cents! Send 10 cents in an envelope – Love It – and what did you have to lose, as there was also no additional obligation to buy! These book clubs reproduced the books with different cover formats, not the yellow spines I bought, But who wouldn’t like those deals? Remember the music deals in years past? I joined them several times during my lifetime, from the LP Vinyl to the 8 Tracks and now the CDs. I sure loved them!

As a young girl, I sent away many coins and boxtops for various things… and waiting, somewhat patiently… for them to arrive! The kids today will never know the fun of checking the mailbox daily… waiting for that “send away” to arrive!

In my research of Nancy Drew, I’ve discovered a local Nancy Drew Fan Club at the Bristol, CT. Library this month of April. They hold a group meeting once a week and have a party planned on April 23rd… Oh, I so wish I could attend, but I’ll be out of town!


Boo Club Bristol Library

ND Club bristol

Thriller ClubFIX

Thriller Club 2FIX

The letter you were likely to have received when joining the Nancy Drew Twin Thriller Book  Club. These were two books in one… so-called “Twin Thriller.” I’ve come across a few of these… another set to collect. I need to build a new room in my house if I want to collect a set of each type! Letter from the blog site of Timothy O’Herin.

twin thriller envelope frontFIX

Front of envelope announcing the Twin Thriller Book Club… who wouldn’t open it to send away for the “free” volume of two exciting Nancy Drew mysteries. I bet every little girl was super excited when this came in the mail!!! Envelope from the blog site of Timothy O’Herin.

twin thriller card insideFIX

Inside was a card to send away for your free Twin Thriller volume of The Bungalow Mystery and The Mystery of Lilac Inn… and a free black mask for you! Today, I would want to keep the original card!  Card from the blog site of Timothy O’Herin.

twin thriller back envelopeFIX

Even the back of the envelope is a treasure!  Envelope from the blog site of Timothy O’Herin.

I’d like to go back to the days of being a young girl… I’d be dancing a jig to have gone to this! Wouldn’t you?IMG_6106

If only I had rediscovered Nancy again much earlier. So many “fan” activities I’ve missed out on!

Facebook Groups:

As I became interested again… in Nancy Drew, I thought there must be Facebook groups for her… and there were… so, so many! I joined a few, then found even more vintage children’s classic book groups… book groups to discuss and sell. I quickly learned I wasn’t alone in my addiction to Nancy Drew… that made me feel so less guilty, especially being an older collector… who has become obsessed, once again!

Joining in their discussions has been lots of fun and I’m always learning! There are men and women of all ages collecting Nancy Drew… I never even knew boys read Nancy, but many, even on my own Facebook page, have admitted they enjoyed reading her better than The Hardy Boys! I still have yet to read a Hardy Boy book, but I plan to, along with a few of The Dana Girls. I’d like to compare the writing and sleuthing compared to Nancy’s skills.

I couldn’t resist the Nancy Drew quiz on Facebook

Which Nancy Drew Character Are You?” 

I quickly clicked on and took the quiz… and I got “Nancy Drew.”

The magic ball said… “You are smart, kind, persistent, and always willing to solve a mystery. While always appreciative of hints and the help, you don’t necessarily follow other people’s advice. You get into danger, but you somehow get out and sometimes need to use your second chances. You enjoy hanging out with your friends and family, helping others, and like spending quality time with your boyfriend Ned. You have solved every mystery you face and still have time for your family and friends.” I guess Ned would be my Steve!

magnificator ThanksForReading

Want to read more, and I hope you do… so click below….

2018: A to Z – All About Nancy Drew 

© 2018, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved


About Jeanne Bryan Insalaco

My blog is at: https://everyonehasafamilystorytotell.wordpress.com/
This entry was posted in 2018: A to Z - All About Nancy Drew, Daily Writings and funnies... and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to 2018 A to Z: F… All About Nancy Drew

  1. Arlee Bird says:

    Wow, an impressive array of Nancy Drew information! Somewhere in my collection I have a copy of <i.The Secret of the Old Clock that belonged to my sister. I might have more Nancy Drew but I can’t recall. I’ve never read any of that series though I should read the one I’ve got.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    Liked by 1 person

  2. scr4pl80 says:

    I have some of the tweed books and a few of the yellow spines as well. Nancy was my first favorite detective! Great posts on this series. I’ll have to go back and read them all when I have some time!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Anne Young says:

    All that food sounds delicious. Have you tried the recipes from the Nancy Drew cookbook?


    Liked by 1 person

  4. Scarlett79 says:

    It’s fun to have such a passion about things. It really makes this journey called life so much better. Everyone needs to have their happy place they can run away too. Very impressive all of the knowledge you have on Mz. Nancy Drew. Enjoyed your blog 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wendy says:

    Judging by all the food listed in those books, a cookbook was a natural! I don’t recall any fan clubs when I was a kid reading Nancy Drew. Maybe I was “clueless” ha ha.

    Liked by 1 person

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