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Cooking Cowgirls
The Cookin' Cowgirls love to eat, cook, travel, entertain, and drink adult beverages. Join us in our adventures as we do the things we love to do! Our cookbook The Holm Family Cookbook is filled with five generations of recipes themed around our Danish and western heritage. Some eat to live, we live to eat!
In 1869, a young, adventurous Dane immigrated to California, drawn by the dream of owning his own land. This young man, Carl Holm, did what many had done before him— worked hard, married, worked harder, bought a tract of land, built a home, raised a family and became a vital and contributing member of his community. Together, with his wife Ida, they raised 8 children in Livermore, California, the town they called home. Five generations later, the Holm clan is still in the Livermore Valley–many living on land parcels and ranches owned by past family members. The community of Livermore is located in the gateway between the agricultural Central Valley and the more urban areas of the San Francisco Bay Area of California. This “in-between” location has given rise to the diversity that is a hallmark of Livermore’s history. The tract of land on which Carl and Ida Holm settled was located on what is now the corner of Isabel Avenue and Stanley Boulevard in Livermore. The farm house had an unobstructed view of Mount Diablo in the San Ramon Valley and was named Fair View. Dick Holm, the youngest of Carl and Ida's children and his brother Leslie purchased land on Mines Road in Livermore and established the Circle H Ranch. Dick and Leslie farmed and ranched on both the Fair View farm and the Circle H, raising beef, horses, and dairy cattle, growing hay, grains, grapes, walnuts, and other crops. Dick married Ione Teeter and they had five children. In addition to full-time farming and ranching, Dick was active in the Livermore community serving on the school board and helping to raise money for the construction of the Valley Memorial Hospital in Livermore. Ione raised the children, kept house, entertained many guests, and cooked meals for Dick and his workers. Ione was a great cook and was known to transport large quantities of food to the remote locations where Dick and his crew would be cutting hay, working cattle, or fixing fence. Dick and Ione lived at Fair View until the mid 1960's and then moved to a new home on the Circle H Ranch. Both Dick and Ione lived at their home on Mines Road until their passing. Many of Dick and Ione's children (Our mom's Tilli & Patsy), grandchildren (That's us, the Cookin' Cowgirls - Susie, Merry & Nancy Calhoun, Wendy Howe), and great grandchildren continue to live in Livermore and are active in the community. Their oldest daughter, Merilyn "Tilli" Holm Calhoun, is well known for her involvement in the cultural arts and historical societies.  The Holm Family Cookbook started some years ago as an effort to preserve the recipes of the matriarchs of the Holm Family, Ida Jessen Holm and her daughter-in-law, Ione Teeter Holm. It all began in 1997, when Ione Holm was 91 years old and her granddaughter, Nancy Calhoun Mueller, pulled an article out of the July issue of Family Circle magazine entitled, "Rescuing Family Recipes," and a sub-article, "Heritage Cookbook How-To’s." Nancy knew the Holm family was on the verge of losing many of Ione’s recipes and the Holm family traditions. So Nancy searched through Ione’s recipe box and cookbooks and began compiling a collection of her recipes and the recipes Ida Holm had passed on to Ione. After Ione’s death in February of 1998, Nancy began in earnest to reach out to extended family members, letting them know that she wanted to coordinate a family cookbook and asked them to send her photos, stories, and recipes. From tattered cards in time-worn recipe boxes, hastily scribbled notes, and emails from friends, the recipes in this cookbook arrived from the kitchens of five generations of Holm women and close friends of the family.  Realizing that the project was too large to finish on her own, Nancy enlisted the help of family members Susie Calhoun and Merry Calhoun Carter (sisters), Tilli Holm Calhoun (mother), Wendy Neely Howe (cousin), and Patsy Holm Neely (aunt). And, when the collection of photos, stories, and recipes became too overwhelming for all of them, a book designer, Carol Salvin, was hired to piece it all together. From its humble beginnings over 10 years ago (and 25 pounds ago!), this group of dedicated women have self-published a 240 page illustrated cookbook. The cookbook is dedicated to Ione and Ida Holm and themed around their Danish and Western heritage and traditions, and the Livermore community’s history and culture.    
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