If George Gershwin had hung around crowds of today's kids, his "Rhapsody in Blue," might have been titled "Rhapsody in Red."

Red, the other All-American color, is a favorite in stories like "The Red Balloon" or "Where the Red Fern Grows"; tops the toy list with a little red wagon or a little red caboose; and grabs a No. 1 color choice for foods.Consider a single tomato - attached to a BLT, smashed and seasoned for spaghetti sauce or smothered with mozzarella cheese in pizza.

With a slice of that pizza in hand, a multitude of winter-worn students might rhapsodize over thoughts of school without books.

No geometry proofs.

No vocabulary lists.

No paragraphs to compose.

And no tests.

And for a single school day, many Utah students get their wish while perusing the pages of the Deseret News on "No Books Day," Wednesday, March 6. The event, an annual adventure sponsored by the Newspaper in Education department at the newspaper, offers Mountain West students a respite from the routines of everyday schooling.

Students still have assignments, but the curriculum jumps from the sections of the newspaper rather than familiar textbooks.

Students explore mathematics by tallying the shooting percentages of the Jazz players or calculating the total number of sports features printed. History comes to life as photos, charts and maps expand the written perspectives of the Persian Gulf war. English assignments identify parts of speech in a specific story or search for examples of metaphor or simile.

Like Gershwin or Franz Liszt, composers of famous rhapsodies, students without books explore uncharted territories. Improvisation becomes the byword; learning leaps from the experiences of everyday life, the record profiled in the paper.

Like Gershwin improvising his way through a composition or the little boy Pascal winding his way around Parisian streets with a red balloon in hand, students discover a new territory.

A day with a newspaper textbook.

A day with a favorite red food.

Thanks to students and parents who submitted favorite recipes featuring red ingredients for the "No Books Day" Exchange:

Vicki Beckman, Nicole Robinson, Alta Hall, Loy Mackay, Millissa Helie, Megan Story, Kristin Gammell, Diane Samie, Elle Story, Becky Bradshaw, Debbie Martin, Kimberly Gillespie, Jon Bench, Emily Howe and Nate Story.




Submitted by Debbie Martinsen,


Approximate cost: $9.45

Preparation time: 30 minutes plus cooking time

Yield: 12 servings

Evaluation: Easy to prepare because you don't cook noodles. Yummy, an all-around good recipe.

1 pound lean ground beef

1 large jar marinara sauce

1 cup small curd cottage cheese

1 pound Monterey Jack cheese, grated

1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

1 package (8 oz.) lasagna noodles

Brown ground beef and drain. Cover bottom of 9-by-13-inch pan with thin layer of marinara sauce. Top with single layer of uncooked noodles. Mix remaining sauce with ground beef and spread half over noodles. Spread cottage cheese on meat layer, then cover with half the jack cheese. Repeat layers: noodles, meat sauce, then top with remaining jack cheese and cheddar chese. Cover and bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour.


Submitted by Debbie Martinsen,


Approximate cost: $7.96

Preparation time: 20 minutes plus freezing

Yield: 12-15 servings

Evaluation: Simple recipe with tasty combination of fruits and nuts. Attractive color and easy to prepare.

1 container (9 oz.) non-dairy frozen topping

1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese

3/4 cup sugar

2 packages (10 oz.) frozen raspberries, slightly thawed

2-3 bananas, sliced

1 can (13 oz.) crushed pineapple, drained

1 cup chopped walnuts

Beat sugar with softened cream cheese; blend in non-dairy frozen topping. fold in fruit and nuts. Pour into wax paper-lined loaf pan and freeze. To serve, remove from pan and slice.


Submitted by Alta Hall, Helper

Approximate cost: #3.60

Preparation time: 25 minutes plus baking

Yield: 12 servings

Evaluation: Very moist and "real nummy cake." Tester plans to make it again for a family birthday party.

1 package white cake mix

1/2 box (3 oz.) strawberry jello

3 eggs

1/2 cup water

1/3 cup salad oil

1/2 package (10 oz.) frozen strawberries

Strawberry Frosting:

4 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened

1/2 package (10 oz.) frozen strawberries, thawed

Combine all ingredients for cake and beat for 2 minutes. Bake in two 9-inch greased and floured round cake pans. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool in pans for 5 minutes; remove from pan and cool completely.

For frosting, cream sugar and butter; add strawberries a little at a time, beating until smooth. If necessary, add a few drops of milk to reach proper spreading consistency.


Submitted by Vicki Beckman,


Approximate cost: $3.03

Preparation time: 20 minutes plus freezing time

Yield: 6-10 small servings

Evaluation: Looks like a slurpee but slides down your throat better. Easy to make; good treat for a summer day.

2 cups pureed strawberries

1 cup milk

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon coconut flavoring

Put in blender; mix. Pour into container and freeze until firm but not hard. To serve, add milk and blend.


Submitted by Megan Story, age 11, Salt Lake City

Approximate cost: $3.70

Preparation time: 20 minutes plus baking

Yield: 6 servings

Evaluation: Quick and easy chicken dish; excellent flavor for company or family.

6 chicken breasts

1/2 cup Russian salad dressing

1/2 cup apricot jam

1/2 package dry onion soup mix

Rinse chicken in cold water, pat dry with paper towels. Place in a flat casserole dish. Mix the dressing, jam and onion soup mix together and spoon over the chicken. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.


Submitted by Emily Bruner, age 10, Salt Lake City

Approximate cost: $9.50

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Evaluation: Simple, easy to understand recipe. Outer layer was crusty and the whole thing tasted good.

1/2 pound puff pastry sheets

1 can (11 oz.) pizza sauce

Sliced ham





Provolone cheese, grated

Mozzarella cheese, grated

1 egg, beaten

Roll out each pastry sheet to twice its length and width. Spread 1/3 of sauce on the lower half of the pastry within 1/2-inch of the edge.

Cover sauce with layers of your favorite pizza ingredients. Brush edges of pastry with egg. Put top over ingredients; seal. Use fork to pierce holes in top. Bake at 425 degrees 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Cool 5 minutes. Cut into desired serving portions: smaller pieces for hors d'oeuvres, larger wedges for entree servings. Makes 6 servings per puff.


Subimitted by Kristin Gammell, 17, Mapleton

Approximate cost: $5.60

Preparation time: 15 minutes plus baking time

Yield: 16 servings

Evaluation: Beautiful if baked in a bundt pan; cherries show through when turned upside down. Great flavor; delicate and moist. Tester suggests addition of 3/4 teaspoon salt, 3 tablespoons flour and a reduction of butter by a scant 1/3 cup, to reduce fat content.

1 cup butter, softened

3 cups sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

6 eggs, separated

1 cup sour cream

3 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup whole maraschino cherries, drained

1/2 cup nuts, chopped

Cream butter and sugar; add vanilla and mix well. Add egg yolks, three at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in sour cream. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, stirring until ingredients are thoroughly combined.

In another bowl, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gently fold egg whites, cherries and nuts into batter. Turn into greased and floured 10-inch tube pan. Bake 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes before removing from pan.


Submitted by Emily Howe, age 11, Salt Lake City

Approximate cost: $5.25

Preparation time: 45 minutes plus cooking time

Yield: 8-10 servings

Evaluation: "My mom says it was practical and my five brothers really liked it, but I don't like beans very good. Easy to make, and the flavor was really good."

2 cups dried pink, red or pinto beans

1/2 pound smoked ham, salt pork or slab bacon, cut up

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

2 cloves garlic, sliced

1 small bay leaf

2 cups fresh peeled tomatoes

1/2 cup chopped green pepper

2 teaspoon chili powder

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1/4 teaspoon oregano

Salt to taste, optional

Soak beans overnight in 6 cups water. Drain beans and add fresh water to 2 inches above beans. Add ham, onion, garlic and bay leaf. Heat to boiling and cover tightly. Cook over low heat 1 1/2 hours or until beans are almost tender.

Add all remaining ingredients except salt. Add more water if necessary. Simmer, uncovered, 2 hours, stirring once or twice.

Taste and add salt if necessary. There should be enough liquid to resemble medium-thick gravy. Beans may be made in advance, refrigerated and reheated.


Submitted by Jon Bench, age 10, Salt Lake City

Approximate cost: $10.03

Preparation time: 35 minutes plus cooking

Yield: 10-12 servings

Evaluation: Practical, easy main dish. Hearty family meal.

1 pound lean ground beef

3/4 cup onion, chopped

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 can (28 oz.) tomatoes

1 can (32 oz.) chili

1 package (8 oz.) spaghetti

3 cups cheddar cheese, grated

1 cup sour cream

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Brown ground beef and onion in butter; drain. Stir in tomatoes and chili. Simmer 45 minutes. Meanwhile, cook spaghetti; drain and set aside. Remove skillet from heat. Stir in grated cheese until melted. Fold in sour cream. Mix with cooked spaghetti. Spoon into 4- or 5-quart casserole dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Cover and bake 350 degrees for 45 minutes.