Title page from The Ladies of Brevard

Baptist Church cookbook, published circa 1930.

Culinary arts have boomed in popularity over the
last several years.  Whether watching the
latest cooking program on television; reading popular fiction, such as Diane
Mott Davidson’s culinary mysteries; browsing through cookbooks; or looking for
recipes online people enjoy food and cooking.

A look at the 641.5 section in the Local History
Room at the Library indicates that the popularity of cooking and recipe collecting
is not new.  The collection includes more
than 50 cookbooks created by local groups.

The oldest local cookbook in this collection is
“Brevard Cook Book” edited by The Ladies of Brevard Baptist Church.  The book is undated, however advertisements
within it indicate it was published between 1924 and 1931.

Recipes in this early cook book include breads,
cakes, candies, deserts, egg & cheese dishes, fritters, meats, pickled
& preserved foods, pies & custards, puddings, salads, sandwiches, soups,
and vegetables.  The Pork Cake and
Butterfly Salad recipes here are from “Brevard Cook Book.”

Pork Cake—Two pounds fat pork, chopped fine; one
pound raisins, chopped fine; one and one-half pounds English walnuts, chopped
fine; seven cups flour; one pint black coffee; four cups brown sugar; one spoon
cinnamon; one spoon allspice; one spoon soda. 
Mix pork, raisins, nuts, then add coffee; mix thoroughly.  Stir in flour to which the spice and soda has
been added.  Bake in moderate oven four
hours.  Mrs. S. F. Allison.

Butterfly Salad—Split banana lengthwise and cut in
half.  Place on a crisp lettuce leaf; on
each side, place a half ring of sliced pineapple, to form the butterfly
wings.  Garnish with fruits or
cherries.  Mrs. Leonard Simpson.

The Wesleyan Methodist Church published,

“What’s Cookin’ in Brevard, North Carolina” in 1948.

There are currently a total of 21 cook books from
churches throughout the county in the Local History Room.   The most from one congregation is three from
Brevard-Davidson River Presbyterian Church, published in 1947, 1950, and
2002.   There are two from First United
Methodist and one from Rosman United Methodist. 
There are cookbooks from the Wesleyan Methodist Church, St. Philip’s
Episcopal Church, Sacred Heart Catholic Church and from eleven different
Baptist churches in Transylvania County.

Household tips and recipes for cleaning products,
first aid, and personnel products are also included in many of these books.

In 1951 Calvary Baptist Church published “Your
Household Guide” which goes beyond baking, cooking and canning to include tips
for gardening, arranging flowers, sewing, painting, and doing laundry.  In addition it lists postal rates, state
capitals, U.S. Presidents, holidays and much more.

Brevard-Davidson River Presbyterian Church’s 1950 cookbook.

Next week Picturing
the Past
will feature cook books from other groups and organizations within
the community, including the “Balsam Grove Community Development Club Cook
Book” published in 1959.  If you have
cook books published by a Transylvania County church or organization that you
would like to donated please contact Marcy.

Photographs and information for this column are
provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room, Transylvania County
Library.  Visit the NC Room during
regular library hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more about our history and see
additional photographs.  For more
information, comments or suggestions contact Marcy at
[email protected] or 828-884-3151 X242.

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(828) 884-3151

212 S Gaston St, Brevard, NC 28712