Old school’s new life prompts edible memories | WHIDBEY RECIPES

If you’ve been driving in and out of Langley lately, on Langley Road, you may have noticed the unusual amount of activity in and around the old Langley High School building, perhaps wondering what was going on.

If you’ve been driving in and out of Langley lately, on Langley Road, you may have noticed the unusual amount of activity in and around the old Langley High School building, perhaps wondering what was going on.

After years of standing empty, used as a storehouse for all manner of unused and/or unwanted “stuff,” the old school has found a new life. Kids scurry in and out, classes are once again in session, and the sound of music fills the halls.

No readin’, writin, or ‘rithmetic; no science, social studies, English, biology or home ec.; and you’ll find no traces of SATs or final exams. Those have all been replaced by students learning ballet, jazz, hip hop, tap, modern dance, tumbling, gymnastics and more, and if you were to peek in the lockers that line the lower hallways, you might be surprised at what you’d find. Ballet slippers, tights and tutus, leotards, sweat pants, tank tops and tap shoes.

Yes, tap shoes. That’s what’s in my locker right now, and yes, I’m happily back in a schoolroom attending classes, tap classes, in the old Langley High School. Five or six weeks ago, Island Dance Studio agreed to lease the building from the school district, and after a lot of hard work from a lot of people, the classrooms have been transformed into studios where dancers from the age of five to … well, never mind how old some of us are, can learn and practice.

One of the women in our adult tap class told me, with a huge smile, that she is now dancing in the same room where she tried to learn math from a teacher named “Coach” Leierer, more than 20 years ago. (I promised I wouldn’t say exactly how many years ago.) Mr. Leierer was obviously not only a math teacher but athletic coach as well, and also taught driver’s education, which I’m told he still does, by the way.

On Aug. 6, first day of tapping in that room, Teddy (whose in-school name was Theresa) wore her Langley High School letter sweater, looking as if it was only yesterday that she last wore it, and it seemed the perfect touch for opening day of the “new” old school.

I’m sure you’ve read, as I have, that dancing is one of the top doctor recommended exercises, not just for its physical benefits, but for the mental challenge as well. Learning dance steps and routines, it turns out, is excellent exercise for your brain, so if you’ve ever wanted to put on tap shoes and make all that noise with your feet, think about going back to school, Langley High School. There is an adult beginner class just starting, and I can guarantee you’ll be addicted to what I call the “tapping high.” There is no better cure for the doldrums, blues or general malaise than an hour or more of dancing.

It’s not all about dancing, however; classes in yoga, tai chi, gymnastics, break dancing (for guys) are going on at various times, and preparation for the annual presentation of “The Nutcracker” has already begun. Registration is still open, by the way, should you be interested in any of these. Call 341-1282, or stop in at the school office, straight down the stairs from the entrance, for more information and/or to sign on.

If any of you reading this today are alumni of Langley High School, I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know that it is back in action, doing what it was built for so long ago, providing a cheerful place for students to learn. Please feel free to pop in and have a look around and, yes, wear your letter sweater, if you’re so inclined.


Teddy (a.k.a. Theresa) took Home Ec. (remember that?) in the old high school, but now cooks in a beautiful kitchen with a gorgeous view at Bush Point. She has shared recipes with me over the years, all good, but this one is over the top. If you’re diabetic or trying to lose weight, don’t even read this recipe. I don’t make it often because I can’t stop eating it when I do.



1-2 Snickers candy bars

2 (or more) dark chocolate Heath Bars

1 container of Cool Whip

2-3 crisp tart apples, such as Granny Smith, cored and chopped bite size

Pinch or two of cinnamon and/or nutmeg (to taste)

Other optional ingredients, such as coconut, diced maraschino cherries, small pineapple chunks, etc.

Freeze the candy bars ahead of salad making time. When ready to make salad, put candy bars in a plastic bag and pound with a rolling pin or meat mallet, into small pieces. Put cool whip in chilled salad bowl; add cinnamon/nutmeg, candy bar chunks, apple pieces, and any other ingredients of choice. Mix well and refrigerate until ready to serve.


Back when Home Ec. was still being taught in high school, one of the first things we all learned to make in the cooking classes were muffins. In one very old file, in my possession I still have my handwritten basic muffin recipe from Home Ec. I promise, the recipe that follows is not that recipe (although the old one isn’t so different from this one, except for a couple of ingredients.) This is one way to make good use of one or more of your zucchinis.



2 cups sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

4 large eggs

½ t. vanilla

1 t. baking powder

1 t. baking soda

1 t. salt

1 t. cinnamon

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 cups grated or finely chopped zucchini

1 cup chopped walnuts

½-1 cup raisins (dark or golden), or currants; or Craisins, your preference

Line muffin tins with papers or grease cups. You’ll need two or more muffin tins; this recipe makes two dozen muffins. You can make as few as you wish, however, and refrigerate the batter to use within the next 4-5 days.

In large mixer bowl, beat the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla about 1 min. at high speed, until mixture is smooth and somewhat lighter in color. Add the baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, beating to combine.

With mixer on low (so you don’t flour your entire kitchen), gradually add the flour, beating just until smooth. Add zucchini, nuts and raisins or currants.

Divide the batter among prepared muffin cups, filling them about ¾ full. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven 25 to 30 min., or until a tester inserted into a muffin comes out clean. Remove tins from the oven and allow to sit a couple of minutes, then gently lift and tilt muffins in the cups so the bottoms don’t get soggy. As soon as they’re cool enough to handle, remove to a rack to cool. Makes 24 or so muffins.



I hate it when this happens, but thanks to a reader who made the wonderful caramel apple squares recipe that appeared a couple of weeks ago, then emailed to say there seemed to be a problem,

I realized the amount of butter was incorrect and I failed to note it before publication. With apologies to any of you who made these and wondered why they didn’t turn out quite right (tasty but dry), please try again with ¾ cup butter, instead of the ¼ cup in the paper’s version. As reader Julie Joselyn said, “more butter is always more better.”


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