CHEERS FOR CHURCH COOKBOOKS and those cooks who share cherished recipes! These recipes have been vetted at Sunday School picnics, sunrise Easter breakfasts, salad luncheons, soup suppers and potluck dinners. The menus for the fall harvest fundraisers very often include meatballs and real mashed potatoes. Some serve ham and meatballs, codfish with melted butter, sirloin tips, roast beef with homemade dressing and some even serve that stinky fish that Norwegians love. Desserts are sometimes pie or bars or special Norwegian pastries. Everything is delicious and plentiful.
When I was a newlywed, I only had one church cookbook. The recipe said put in pan and cook until done. I needed more details and directions so I called up the writer of the recipe for answers. She had been cooking that recipe for over 25 years but I was a novice. She laughed gently and helped me out. Then she mentioned that after I had cooked for 25 years I might write recipes assuming that everyone knew what size pan and the oven temperature. Church cookbooks are now very detailed and easy to follow.
These church cookbooks are a walk down memory lane, almost like a family reunion. Names of my school friends’ mothers, Sunday School teachers, the ladies that served Luther League suppers and even my relatives that have “passed.” I noticed that my mother’s chocolate chip recipe made seven dozen and that it might be wise to double it. She usually did double it because those soft, delicious cookies were so good that no one could just eat one. My brother ate them like potato chips!
My family likes to create cookbooks. My cousin Eileen created the Schwartz Family Cookbook. My husband’s family gathered recipes for the Bremseth Family Cookbook and my husband did the artwork. I think it would be the best gift to give your children or grandchildren. At Thanksgiving we regret that my grandmother and my mother did not write down their giblet dressing recipe, which was a family favorite.
Some people collect cookbooks and read them like novels. Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook published in 1930 and still in print has sold 38 million copies. Betty Crocker’s cookbook published in 1955 has sold 27 million copies. The Joy of Cooking published in 1936 has sold 18 million copies. Today we watch Martha and Rachel and many others cook on TV or we Google recipes. Times have changed! According to the writer Laurie Colwin, “No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice of cooks present, and the wisdom of cookbook writers.” Fall is a good time to make this dip.
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 Tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6-8 Granny Smith apples, cut in wedges
Beat the cream cheese, brown sugar, confectioners’ sugar, milk, and vanilla in a mixer bowl until smooth, scraping the bowl occasionally. Serve at room temperature with the apples.