Your Reading List

Well-Thumbed Cookbook Still Treasured In The Brandon Hills


Treasured Recipes was published in 1979 to mark the 100th anniversary of settlement of

this rural community south of Brandon

The Brandon Hills Fireflies marks its 40th anniversary this summer, and they’ll celebrate the occasion with the same festive event they’ve held as many years: a big community barbecue.

This informally organized rural women’s group began meeting in 1969, a “girls night out” type of thing for farm and rural women needing a break for a couple hours from their work raising families and running farms and households.

The Fireflies were a group of younger women who decided to organize much the same way as had an earlier women’s group of the community, the Brandon Hills Busy Bees.

Ten years later after the Fireflies got together, the Brandon Hills community marked its 100th anniversary, and published The Brandon Hills Story. That year – 1979 – the Fireflies published a cookbook, Treasured Memories, as a record of favourite recipes of friends and neighbours down through the decades.

Diane Baker, an area farmer and present-day member of the Fireflies, has one of those cookbooks. Twenty years later you still hear people asking if there are any around for sale, says Diane who loves her own battered and well-thumbed copy. People say they wore out Treasured Recipes from use, she says.

The Fireflies group did publish another cookbook, More Treasured Recipes, in 1989, but it’s that first one that remains most popular, she adds.

The Fireflies hold their beef-pit community barbecue every third Thursday of August, feeding around 400 or more a typical farmhouse supper of beef, potatoes, vegetables, salads and dessert. It’s held at the former Brandon Hills school, today a community centre, which is just across the road from the now-rebuilt Brandon Hills United Church. We’re always looking for favourite recipes from readers. Do you have one to share? Can we help you track down a specific recipe? Let us know if you’re looking for something and we’ll publish your requests.


2 c. flour

1 c. white sugar

1 tsp. baking soda

1 c. brown sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

2 eggs

1/2 tsp. baking powder

Cream shortening and sugars. Add eggs and mix. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Roll in balls and place on cookie sheet. Bake in a 350F oven for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

In memory of Firefly member Gail Kreller, who passed away from cancer.


1 c. flour

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

3/4 c. sugar

1 c. chopped nuts

2 tsp. baking powder

1 c. brown sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

2 c. rolled oats

1 pkg. chocolate chips or

1 c. Smarties

1 c. margarine or


1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 c. cocoa

2 tbsp. cocoa

1-3/4 c. hot water

1/2 c. milk

Preheat oven to 350F. Sift in bowl, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and 2 tbsp. cocoa. Stir in milk, oil, and nuts. Spread mixture in 9 x 9 x 1-3/4 inch pan. In small bowl mix brown sugar and 1/4 c. cocoa. Sprinkle this mixture over batter. Pour carefully 1-3/4 c. hot water over all. Bake 45 minutes at 350F. Serve warm with milk or ice cream.

A recipe from Nancy McPherson.

The Fireflies barbecue brings together their rural community for good food and fun. It’s also a key fundraiser for the Fireflies. Any proceeds left over after expenses from the $10-a-plate dinners is donated to organizations supporting rural families, including the Farm and Rural Stress Line, the Women’s Shelter, the Alzheimer’s Society, the Cancer Society. After 40


Manitoba Co-operator Recipe Swap

Box 1794, Carman, Man. R0G 0J0

or email

[email protected]


Cook two pounds broccoli until almost done and put in casserole dish.

1 can cream of

chicken soup

2 tbsp. mayonnaise

1/4 c. shredded cheese

Combine and pour over broccoli.


1/4 c. bread crumbs

1/4 c. grated

Parmesan cheese

2 tbsp. melted butter

Put on top of broccoli. Bake at 350F for 40-60 minutes until tender. Takes out well to potlucks.

A recipe from Pearl Hargreaves.

years going, and no signs of stopping, that’s tens of thousands of dollars raised for these key organizations.

“We usually sit down around November and decide to who and how much we’re going to donate, ” says Diane, who remains an active member of a group of 14 Fireflies.



Stories from our other publications