You can collect a lot of recipes in 97 years. Ask Rose Miller of Galloway Township.
Miller doesn't let the fact she's closing in on the century mark stop her from playing bingo or collecting - and sharing - recipes.
"If you ever want anything, let me know. I'll look it up," says Miller, who over the years has helped many readers of this newspaper track down a favorite, forgotten recipe.
Miller says she has "boxes and boxes" or recipes she's collected from newspapers, magazines, books and whereever else she might come across them.
"I don't cook much anymore. My son cooks for me. But I still collect recipes," she said. "I think they are interesting. I look at them to see what is what. If I like it, I will tear it out."
Miller's been cooking since she was a girl growing up in south Philadelphia in the early years of the 20th century.
She worked there as a seamstress, first making bathing suits and then after graduating from high school sewing shirts for Marine Corps. uniforms.
She married in 1935 and her first husband was a Marine. But that marriage didn't work out. Miller found herself in New York with no husband and little money.
Her life took a turn for the better when she became friendly with the owners of Shelly's Coffee Shop on 32nd Street and Broadway in Manhattan.
"People used to ask me why I didn't eat - I couldn't afford it," she said.
"They said 'Why don't you stop in and let us give you food for your kids?'" Miller recalled. "They wanted me to meet their son. I was like 'No, I just want to be left alone.'"
Fate had other plans for the recalcitrant young woman.
She ran into George Miller and decided she didn't want to be left alone, afterall.
"He was terrific to me," Miller recalled. "I couldn't meet anyone as good as him."
The couple lived in Brooklyn and spent summers at Far Rockaway in Queens.
George Miller eventually took over his parents' coffee shop, allowing Rose Miller to stay home while he worked to support the family.
Around 1947, the pair built a two-bedroom house in the township here for $800.
"I could have had a three-bedroom house, but I didn't want company. I have enough trouble," Rose Miller said with a laugh. George Miller would work in New York and she would pick him up and drive him to Galloway Township on the weekends.
He eventually sold his parent's restaurant and got a job at Mainland Hospital, what is now AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, Mainland Campus, in Galloway Township.
Rose Miller worked in housekeeping at the hospital, which at the time boasted 110 beds.
Miller raised three sons. Her youngest, Ronald, lives around the corner from her and often invites her over for dinner.
"All my children and grandchildren are good to me. All my friends are good to me. I can't say a bad word about nobody," Miller said.
When she isn't playing bingo, Miller is happy to teach her daughter-in-laws and grandchildren her recipes.
She was known for her crabs and spaghetti sauce and she is getting ready to teach her grandson's wife her recipe for cheesecake.
This time of year, Miller is also busy producing pizzellis - thin, star-shaped cookies flavored with vanilla and anise.
Miller uses pure anise seed oil for her recipe. She said the expense is worth it - something people who have sampled her cookies must agree with.
"When you taste them, you will see why," she said.
Contact Steven V. Cronin:
•3 1/2 cups of flour
•1 1/2 cups sugar
•1 cup margarine (1/2 pound)
Beat eggs, sugar and anise oil together. Sift flour and blend well into mixture. Drop by spoonfuls onto hot pizzelle iron and cook according to manufacturer's directions.