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Cottage Grove women's church group knows what's cooking

Cottage Grove United Church of Christ Women's Fellowship members who worked on the new cookbook include (back row, from left) Bev Gross, Sue Weiby, Jenn Lanz, Sheri Wohlers and Lynn Ronn. In the front row (from left) are Leona Perkins, Marilyn Heschke, Barb Larson and Judy Bonnevier. Bulletin photo by Judy Spooner1 / 2
The sixth edition of "What's Cooking?" includes new and old recipes.2 / 2

The Women's Fellowship at Cottage Grove United Church of Christ, with their new cookbook "What's Cooking?" are carrying forward the traditions of church women who've gone before them.

The fellowship's first cookbook was written in 1969 and contained recipes passed down through generations of church women dating back to 1858, when the first church was organized in Old Cottage Grove.

To honor those women, the new version, which is the sixth volume, contains some of the old recipes along with new ones.

Fellowship members also included stories with some of the recipes that have been passed down. The new book also reflects their sense of humor.

In discussing their new book, which they wrote and published themselves, at their meeting last week, the women laughed at the recipe for turkey dressing submitted by Carol Neveu, who found it in her grandmother's cookbook. "She was a wonderful person and had a great sense of humor," Neveu wrote.

In addition to the usual ingredients of bread crumbs and onions, the directions include adding two cups of unpopped popcorn. Cooks are advised to cook it five hours until it blows out the end of the turkey. The recipe in the book uses more colorful language.

Fellowship member Lynn Ronn, who is attracted to cookbooks with recipes labeled "quick and easy," submitted the "When All Else Fails Dessert" recipe. It directs people to go to the store and buy a Mrs. Smith pie. "It's easy and fast for last minute guests," she wrote.

When Joan Tyren submitted a recipe for "zucchini casserole," she added a story to go with it. Her mother, Ora Fruechte, searched for recipes to use up zucchini from her garden. When she brought her casserole to a gathering, she asked, "Guess what's in it?" Everyone knew the answer, Tyren said.

The recipe for "Thin and Crisp Molasses Cookies" is the favorite recipe in the book, according to fellowship members. It's dedicated to the memory of Lucy Spicer by her daughter, Sheri Wohlers, a fellowship member.

The recipe comes from Art Brown, Lucy's father, who got it from his cousin who found it when she was working in California. The cookies were made by Brown's wife, Eva, and the recipe was passed on. Red Spicer, Lucy's husband, made them well into his 80s, Wohlers wrote.

The fellowship self-published to "keep the price down," members said.

Barb Larson typed the recipes well into the night so the fellowship would have copies available at the annual turkey dinner in mid-September.

Bev Gross, daughter of Art Brown, was asked to write the church's history and the history of the women's fellowship that is included in the cookbook. Many photographs are included as well.

It began as the First Congregational Church and a church building was built in 1868. It was sold to the local masonic lodge in 1963 and is still in use as Accacia Lodge No. 51.

Another church, which was later merged with First Congregational, was moved to the current site of the Cottage Grove United Church of Christ that was built in 1954.

The cookbook is available for $10 in the church office at 7008 Lamar Ave. S. where the church hosts a farmer's market through the summer. For office hours, call 651-459-1501.

Judy Spooner
Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
(651) 459-7600