Recipe Swap: A big little cookbook

If the recipes it contains make you as fat as the Graysville United Church’s coil-bound collection, then watch out.

I’ve seen a lot of community cookbooks, but at over 500 pages, I don’t think I’ve ever seen one quite like this one — and it belies the size of the group that assembled it. Graysville United Church is a tiny rural congregation that, most Sundays, doesn’t number more than 20 souls.

It evidently had all the right ingredients for a cookbook though; many more have ties to Graysville — and the church is just about to turn 100. They’ll host a centennial celebration on August 12.

Prairie Memories Cookbook is big in another way; it’s part storybook too, as I wish more community cookbooks were. One day, those glancing through its pages will learn not just how to make country bread and apple pudding, but something about those who lived in Graysville as well.

It contains short histories of the village and nearby Roseisle and Stephenfield, as well as the church. Recipes have anecdotes as rich as some of their ingredients like the marriage proposals over a raisin pie. And throughout the cookbook are fascinating excerpts from the local Dufferin Leader and other archives. One mentions the CPR’s Floral Department offering cash prizes in 1912 for gardens planted along the railway to “… (give) the traveller the idea that Canada is not a money-making country alone,” another, the local member of Parliament visiting Ontario “to secure a grist mill for Crystal City.” The “Howie” pies of Graysville, wrote one contributor, were much sought after by the guys in the local curling club. There were plentiful wolves around Roseisle and whooping cranes being hunted in the late 1880s and ’90s.

The first cookbook was published in 2002. They’ve updated and reprinted another 50 for their 2012 anniversary, says area farmer Bev Stow. “We did it as a fundraiser,” she said. “And to show people that we’re still here.”

Congratulations to Graysville United Church on turning 100 years young.

Onion and Cabbage

  • 2 tbsp. butter1 tbsp. vegetable oil4 medium cooking onions, peeled and sliced1 clove garlic, chopped2 c. thinly sliced cabbage1 c. sour cream1 tbsp. cider vinegar1 tsp. sugar1/2 tsp. dry mustard1/4 tsp. dry majoram leaves1/4 tsp. salt1/8 tsp. pepper2 tbsp. bread crumbs1 tsp. melted butter

In a large oven-proof skillet, heat butter, oil and sauté onions and garlic five minutes. Add cabbage and cook for two more minutes. Remove from heat. In a small bowl, blend sour cream, vinegar, sugar, mustard, majoram, salt and pepper. Stir into onion-cabbage mix and return to heat for one minute. Toss bread crumbs with melted butter and sprinkle on top of onion-cabbage mix. Broil for two minutes and serve immediately.

Prune Bread

  • 3 tbsp. cooking oil2/3 c. granulated sugar1 egg1/2 tsp. vanilla1/3 c. of an orange, cut up1/2 c. orange juice1 c. stewed pitted prunes, chopped2 c. flour2-1/2 tsp. baking powder1/2 tsp. baking soda1/2 tsp. salt1/2 c. chopped walnuts

Beat oil, sugar and egg in large bowl until smooth. Stir in vanilla. Cut up orange including rind. Add and stir well. Mix in juice and prunes. In another bowl, measure flour, baking powder, soda, salt and nuts. Stir well. Empty into first bowl of batter. Stir to moisten. Turn into a greased loaf pan and bake in a 350 F oven for about one hour until it tests done. Remove from pan to cool. Makes one loaf.

Irene Stevenson

Sugarless Apple Pie

A recipe reminding us how women take pride in their fine pies.

  • 6 c. sliced, peeled tart apples (about 4 large)1/3 c. apple juice concentrate2 tbsp. quick-cooking tapioca1 tsp. cinnamon1 unbaked 9-inch pastry shell1/4 c. finely chopped walnuts or pecans

In a large bowl, combine the first four ingredients and let stand for 15 minutes. Stir and pour into pastry shell. Sprinkle with nuts. Bake at 425 F for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 F and bake 40 to 50 minutes longer or until apples are tender. Cover edges with foil during the last 15 minutes if necessary. Makes 8 servings.

Bean Salad

  • 1 (14-oz.) can cut green beans1 (14-oz.) can cut yellow beans1 can red kidney beans1 can lima beans1 medium onion, diced or sliced1 c. celery, chopped1 green pepper, sliced
  • Dressing:1/2 c. canola oil1/2 c. vinegar1/2 c. sugar1/2 tsp. dry basil1/2 tsp. dill weed1/2 tsp. dry mustard1/4 tsp. pepper1 tsp. salt

Drain beans and chop fresh ingredients. Combine in a large bowl.

Dressing: Mix all dry ingredients thoroughly and combine with canola oil, vinegar and stir well. Pour over beans and vegetables and refrigerate overnight. This salad keeps well in the refrigerator. Recipe may be doubled or tripled as needed.

About the author


Lorraine Stevenson

Lorraine Stevenson is a reporter and photographer for the Manitoba Co-operator with 25 years experience writing news and features. She was previously a reporter with the Farmers Independent Weekly and has also written for community newspapers in Winnipeg and Manitoba's Interlake.



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