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Tammy tests to suit your taste

Tammy Kear, recipe tester for North Dakota Living magazine in a kichen with an apron, chopping food.
Tammy Kear

by Clarice L. Kesler

Have you ever wondered who writes the test notes each month for the recipes in North Dakota Living magazine? 

Meet Tammy Kear. Each month, for more than a decade now, Kear wades through the recipes submitted by magazine readers. After selecting two or three recipes for each issue, she tests them. Carefully selecting the exact ingredients, Kear mixes, chops, kneads, bakes and then lets her colleagues delight in her delicacies by sharing them at the office.

“Every time I get an email or an envelope in the mail, I get excited,” Kear says. With a real talent for cooking and baking, she enjoys the whole process. But during the last two months, she took a step back in time and got a “taste” of what cooks dealt with decades ago.

In the November and December issue, to help celebrate the 75th anniversary of the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives. Kear researched recipes published in the magazine from the 1950s and 1960s and selected six of them. And for the first time, the recipes tested her. 

“I certainly have a new appreciation for the cooks in those days,” Kear says, adding that nowadays cooks have so many conveniences like canned fruit, sweetened milk and a wide range of spices.

And, Kear says, her trip back in time was mostly about, well, time. 

“What would take a few hours to bake and cook now, took an entire day back then,” Kear says.

And in the 1930s, without electricity, cooking and baking were even more daunting.

After cooking an hour in their pots, Kear sums it up nicely, “Electricity gives us a better quality of life, but most of all it gives us time.” 

To submit your favorite recipes, contact Kear at You can also visit and submit online or mail recipes to North Dakota Living at P.O. Box 727, Mandan, ND 58554. And, Kear will send you a check for $50 if your recipe is chosen.

Clarice Kesler is the communications manager for the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives.

Meet the publisher of North Dakota Living

The North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives (NDAREC) is the association that represents North Dakota’s electric cooperatives. They are the publishers of North Dakota Living magazine, which is produced to educate and inform members of the state’s electric and telecommunications cooperatives. Established in 1942, it celebrates 75 years of providing services in government and public relations, communications, education, safety training and economic development.