“This cookbook was created by a loving, Christ-centered fellowship of people who desire to share their best with each other. […] They have enabled us to further carry on a ninety-five-year tradition of good food and fellowship.” Heritage Cookbook, First Covenant Church, Seattle, Wash. (1984)
The study of community cookbooks is an emerging field, and few have looked at those published by communities of the Evangelical Covenant Church. The current collection of about forty community cookbooks held by the Covenant Archives and Historical Library suggests the breadth and variety that have been produced by Covenant communities. Published between 1932 and 1988, most were created by women’s groups in individual congregations, notably Covenant Women; some are the collaborative projects of two or several Covenant congregations; a few were published by Covenant retirement communities, and one was published by women of North Park Theological Seminary. The collection includes cookbooks that were reprinted multiple times or revised and republished as new editions, and cookbooks that saw one printing run; some were printed and bound by the community members, while others by specialized cookbook publishing companies; some were published to raise funds, others to celebrate the heritage of a congregation for an anniversary. All communicate an aspect of the creating community’s heritage and identity, as Colleen Cotter notes in Recipes for Reading: “In a satisfying way, we are all bound by our language, history, family, food, and community. Recipes in many ways can reflect that.” These cookbooks also hold more than recipes, and include Bible passages, inspirational or humorous quotes and poems, and helpful kitchen guides such as weights and measures conversions, menu ideas, and spice guides. In times when you couldn’t search online to learn what fruits would float in jello, these were books to live with.