Our story so far: As we demoed the interior over the course of a number of weeks, we met a number of people interested in our Methodist church conversion project, including the pastor of the nearby Congregational church.
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In addition to a warm invitation to join the worship service sometime, Pastor Jennie also gave me a great gift: Copies of two church cookbooks, one from the Congregationalists and one created by the very congregation that had once inhabited our Methodist church. As she handed them to me, she noted the Congregationalists did this thing well: Feeding people. This was clear after seeing their basement kitchen, easily four times as big as the one in the church we had purchased.
Thumbing through the pages of the Methodists’ book, I recognized some of the last names of people who had introduced themselves to us as former members. This recipe book, created to honor the sesquicentennial of the congregation in 2009, was a historical gem. It included recipes from the congregation’s first known church recipe book in 1912 and from one printed in 1950. One 1912 recipe for “Chicken” began with “wash and be sure to remove all feathers” and the instructions included: “Cook until tender. If it should be an aged rooster it may take two days.” I bet even the aged rooster back in 1912 was tastier than the bland mass-produced chickens of today.
An interesting recipe for Jezebel Sauce contributed by Karen Hill Krolow caught my eye. Jezebel, whose story is told in the Bible’s Books of Kings, was a Phoenician princess who married an Israelite king. She did not, however, believe in his God; she worshipped Baal and forced her religion on the Israelites; she ultimately died a gruesome death. It makes perfect sense that an evilly delicious sauce named for this bad girl of the Bible would be good for ham since pork was on the list of food no-nos for the Jews.
- 1 (15-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
- 1 (15-ounce) jar apricot preserves
- 1 tablespoon dry mustard
- ¼ cup good horseradish (German)
- Mix equal parts of pineapple and preserves.
- Add mustard and horseradish. Serve with ham.
Another recipe in the book is the only one billed as “award winning,” so I feel like it would be selfish not to share it here. Kathy Hill contributed the recipe for Mom Blakeman’s Pound Cake, noting that it won third place at the county fair:
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup butter
- 5 eggs
- 2 cups flour
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Cream sugar and butter until light.
- Add eggs—one at a time—alternately with 2 cups flour, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
- Use two wide loaf pans. Butter pans BOTTOM ONLY [apparently this is very important as it is in ALL CAPS], and line with two layers of wax paper.
- Bake one hour. After cakes are cool, remove from pans and roll in powdered sugar.
At some point later, I will share Betty Lyerly’s North Carolina B-B-Que Pork recipe, the recipe used at the Methodist Church’s barbecues. Evidence of these community meals was left behind at the church, where we found the hand-painted signage for them. I don’t know why we kept the sign, but I felt compelled to do so, stacking behind some of our other wood designated for reuse.
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Tomorrow: The rezoning hearing. Read about it here.