Sweets and savories: Desserts and delicacies are part of annual May tradition at St. Paul's

May 9, 2012 10:45:20 AM

Jan Swoope - [email protected]


In kitchens throughout Columbus, preparation is underway for the annual bake sale to be held in conjunction with St. Paul's Episcopal Church May Luncheon Friday, May 11. The Episcopal Church Women's fundraiser is a major event on the congregation's calendar, for almost everyone takes part in one capacity or another.  


The renowned chicken salad made with cooked dressing is always a draw, as is smoked barbecue prepared by Tom Wolford and his team. But the bake sale is also a popular part of this much-anticipated day. Just in time for Mother's Day celebrations, it will boast homemade cakes, pies, cookies, candies, appetizers, jellies, sauces and more.  


Throughout the years, ECW member Betty West Land has made more cheese straws for the bake sale than she could possibly count. And they go like hot cakes. 


"Our cheese straws will sell out immediately," stated Ann Sparkman, who co-chairs the bake sale with Land this year. 


The zesty finger food is always in such demand, in fact, Land has recruited backup, in the form of her 21-year-old grandson, Jake.  


Jake, of Memphis, Tenn., and his father, Bill Land, are currently staying with GG, as Jake affectionately calls his grandmother. Jake plans to enter East Mississippi Community College soon. 


"I made some cheese straws one morning earlier this week, and that afternoon I came in the kitchen and Jake was making them on his own," Land smiled. 


Grating cheese, kneading ingredients and pressing the cheesy mixture onto cookies sheets, row after row, are labor intensive tasks Jake picked up quickly. Grandmother and grandson estimate they'll make 21 to 28 dozen 5-inch cheese straws for Friday.  


"I really just wanted to help out GG," said Jake, wearing latex gloves and loading the copper tubular press with a well-blended "dough" of cheese, melted butter, all-purpose flour, salt and red pepper.  


"We've had fun," said Land, sifting flour for the next batch. 




Keeping traditions 


"The bake sale is huge," said Sparkman, decorating a ziplock bag of cheese straws with purple netting. "It first started out with a few desserts in the hallway years ago, before moving into the choir room. It just keeps getting bigger. Some of the best cooks in Columbus make things for this bake sale." 


Dine-in patrons at Friday's event are invited to make bake sale purchases before they have lunch, then pick them up after they dine.  


"In keeping with tradition, we're trying to incorporate recipes from Columbus' Grand Heritage cookbook and the Possum Town Potpourri cookbook, which was published by the EYC (Episcopal youth)," Sparkman said.  


"We're asking people who had a recipe in either of those cookbooks to make that for the sale," she elaborated.  


"Another tradition is that the job you have usually passes down from generation to generation," Sparkman continued. Jake hasn't lived in Columbus very long, but he visited often as a child, even attending Vacation Bible School at St. Paul's. So, it seems only fitting GG is passing on to his generation the art of making cheese straws for the ECW's largest fundraiser.  




Good causes 


The May luncheon and bake sale benefits projects including Loaves and Fishes Soup Kitchen, Habitat for Humanity, Helping Hands, HEARTS After School Tutoring, Good Samaritan Medical Clinic, a Honduras Medical Mission and the Episcopal Relief and Development Fund.  


"All funds raised benefit ministries in our church, our community, our state and the world," said ECW President Bridget Pieschel. 




The luncheon 


Guests Friday can choose to dine in the Parish Hall from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., or purchase takeout plates, which will be available from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the church.  


Chicken salad plates include deviled eggs, chips, sweet pickles, crackers and dessert. Smoked pulled pork barbecue plates include deviled eggs, potato salad, dill pickles, roll and dessert. Dine-in guests also receive beverages. 


The cost of dine-in is $10. Takeout plates are $8. 


Pre-orders will be accepted between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Friday, by calling 662-240-0187 or 662-549-2225, or emailing Pieschel at [email protected] Include your name, time of pick-up, number and type of plates and a contact number. 








Who: Episcopal Church Women of St. Paul's Episcopal Church 


What: Dine-in or takeout chicken salad or barbecue plates; bake sale  


When: Friday, May 11: Dine-in 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.; Take-out 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.; Bake sale 11 a.m.-1 p.m. 


Where: St. Paul's Parish Hall, 318 College St., Columbus 


Cost: $10 per plate dine-in; $8 per plate takeout. Pre-order takeout Wednesday and Thursday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and Friday, 9 a.m.-11 a.m. by calling 662-240-0187 or 662-549-2225, or email [email protected] Include name, time or pick-up, number and type of plates and contact number.

Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.