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Jo Brown's Sloppy Joes Recipe | Courtesy of Marge Long
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If you’ve never had Jo Brown’s Sloppy Joes, here’s your chance to make them yourself.

Other than the fact that these Sloppy Joes are delicious, I didn’t really piece together why I loved them so much until her daughter, my friend Marge Long, mentioned that this is the recipe that Jo made for our lunches at Old Mission Peninsula School back in the 1960s and 70s. You know, back when our school cooks like Jo Brown, Lucile Lindsey and Clarissa Boursaw made kids’ lunches from scratch. (Remember the cinnamon rolls?)

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Marge happened to post her mom’s Sloppy Joes recipe – in Jo’s own handwriting – on Facebook recently, so – ding! ding! ding! – a big lightbulb went off and I asked if I could post it on the Gazette and of course, Marge said yes, that her mom would be pleased that her recipe is still being shared and used.

In fact, I have a ton of vintage Old Mission Peninsula recipes, from church cookbooks, school cookbooks, handwritten slips of paper found in my mom’s cookbooks, a box I collected at the Ladd sisters’ estate sale eons ago, and so on and so forth. At some point, I’ll gather them all into a collection one way or another.

I sifted through my old church photos, but couldn’t find a photo of Jo Brown right off the bat (time to organize those boxes of photos, Jane), so I’ve included a photo of Ed and Jo Brown with son Eddie from the Ogdensburg United Methodist Church Directory, 1971. (The church is now named Old Mission Peninsula United Methodist Church.)

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Ed and Jo Brown, with son Eddie | Ogdensburg UMC Directory, 1971

Here’s Jo Brown’s recipe for Sloppy Joes. If you click the “printer” icon at the top of this story, it’ll give you a printer-friendly page you can print off. And be sure and come by the church bazaar tomorrow and try the recipe in person.


2 c. onions

4 Tbsp. butter or oleo

8 lbs. ground beef

5 1/3 c. catsup

4 Tbsp. brown sugar

6 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

6 tsp. salt

6 tsp. vinegar

1 Tbsp. dry mustard

Optional: Green pepper and celery may also be added.

Brown the meat and onions together in the butter, then add the other ingredients. Enjoy. (As Jo notes on the recipe below, this recipe will feed 35 people, so reduce or add measurements accordingly.)

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Jo Brown’s Sloppy Joe Recipe | Courtesy of Marge Long

A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So I started my own newspaper.

Because Old Mission Gazette is a "Reader Supported Newspaper" -- meaning it exists because of your financial support -- I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks our way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the OMP. In a time when local news is becoming a thing of the past, supporting an independent community newspaper is more important now than ever.

To keep the Gazette going, click here to make a donation. Thank you so much for your support. -jb

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  1. I made your mom’s Michigan Wonders this evening, Jane. I added dried cherries. I doubt your mom ever did that, but they’re really good. In my crazy life I forgot I needed cookies for tomorrow – your mom’s recipe to the rescue. 🙂

    • Yay! I bet they’re fantastic with dried cherries. Such awesome memories of my mom making those and scooping them out of the pan onto tin foil laid out on the kitchen counter. And you’re my hero for getting your Red Dresser space ready for the open house and then coming home to make cookies.

  2. I have a treasure, 2 recipe boxes that were dana ostlunds who was also my school teacher. Also lots of mae cowan recipes..old ones so much better


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