Find of the day: Moody’s Diner cookbook

moodysdinerbookAt a weekend flea market I found a copy of What’s Cooking at Moody’s Diner, a book of recipes and reminiscences published in 1989 (it was revised and redesigned in 2003). Although it is neither rare nor valuable in monetary terms, I consider it a “find” because of how I happened upon it when I was about to give up.

moodysdinercolor2The Route 1 diner in Waldoboro ME dates back to a small food stand built and operated by Percy Moody and his family in the early 1930s. After many additions and updates it is still going strong today as a substantial restaurant with a menu probably far more diverse than it was in the beginning, judging from a sample 1930s lunch menu included in the book. Then, hungry travelers on a budget might select plain sandwiches such as Bread & Butter (5c) or Fried Egg (10c). If they wanted something grander they could have Lobster or Crabmeat sandwiches at 20c apiece. Toasted sandwiches cost an additional 5c.

moody'sdinerjune1941Many people associate diners with prefab structures of stainless steel but Moody’s Diner is an example of a vernacular design constructed of wood. Before it was moved to Route 1, the initial Moody food stand accompanied Moody’s Cabins, a few of which had been built in 1927, a year when many a farmer in or near a vacation area decided to try to capture some of the tourist trade speeding by in their newly purchased cars. No doubt a roadside business helped offset some of the effects of the Depression.

The 1989 edition of What’s Cooking at Moody’s Diner, by Nancy Moody Genthner and edited by Kerry Leichtman, contains a wealth of recipes for “home-made” style dishes, desserts, salads, and breads. Twenty-five casserole recipes, many using canned soup, stand out for being far removed from routine restaurant fare.


Filed under diners, roadside restaurants

8 responses to “Find of the day: Moody’s Diner cookbook

  1. gina@mytinytexaslife

    Really enjoyed this story 🙂

  2. Shared this with my Friend, Randy, now about 60, and he had this great story to tell. “I have a memory of when I was maybe six years old. My dad took me and my younger brother alewifing at a stream close to route 1. That would have been early spring, very late at night where we attempted to net alewives that were coming upstream to spawn. They only ran (swam) at night. Dad of course wouldn’t let us go off the shore so my brother and I didn’t catch anything. But it was exciting too be allowed to stay up so late at night.”

    “And as a special treat, Dad took us to Moody’s Diner that was nearby before we went fishing. We probably got home around three am or so.”

  3. Fern Berman

    Moody’s is GREAT! The best place. I wish I lived close by.
    Delicious biscuits! The eggs are the best and the pancakes divine!

  4. What fun! Shared with a couple ME friends. Care to share one or two of the most interesting casserole recipes?

    • There are a number of tuna casseroles made with canned tuna and mushroom soup. An interesting one is a spaghetti pie made with cooked spaghetti, eggs, cottage cheese, ground beef, stewed tomatoes, tomato paste, onion, green pepper, and seasonings.

    • Fern Berman

      Thank you. I’d love to see some recipes.

      • There is a very strict copyright warning in the front of the book so I am hesitant to post any complete recipes. I can let you know the general ingredients, though, if you have a specific dish in mind.

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