A Taste of Grace: A Columbus congregation shares favorite recipes

March 5, 2014 11:37:11 AM

Jan Swoope - [email protected]


It's no secret that some of the best cooking in any town can often be found in its houses of worship. Good fellowship and food are a natural pairing. The members of Grace Baptist Church in east Columbus know that and decided it was high time to compile their favorite recipes in one place. The result is "A Taste of Grace" cookbook -- about 280 recipes to take a home cook from appetizers to soups, side dishes to entrees, breads to desserts.  


"Baptist churches are famous for food," smiled church member Myra Price, who helped bind the cookbooks. The whole project was done in-house.  


"I found a template on the Internet that helped simplify everything," explained Ministry Assistant Sharon Williams, who worked diligently on the book's production. There was research into the best paper to use, print shop programs to master, and a name to be selected. "A Taste of Grace" was proposed by Frances Jutman. The 116-page book has proven popular and may very soon require a third printing. 


Enthusiastic congregation members and friends enjoyed getting together recipes to share. Church pianist Eleanor King submitted 61. Other contributors are Fay Bell, Lori and Sarah Cargile, Judy Cockerham, Kim Cyr, Benny and Mary Helen Edwards, Ann Fussell, Paulette Hutcherson, Frances Jutman, Ginny Kerr, Carol King, Jeannie King, Betty Miller, Price, Melva Terry, Charlie and Pam Whitney and Williams.  




What's in a name? 


The pages are filled with some dishes you will expect -- and some you may not. Like Frog More Stew, Pink Elephant Salad, Tomato Gravy, Bubble Loaf Bread and Popcorn Cake. Fans of the Cypress Inn in Tuscaloosa, Ala., will even find the recipe for the restaurant's delicious raisin bran muffins.  


There are many personal favorites, like Pam Whitney's World Famous Mac and Cheese. "It is the best, my favorite recipe and my son's and daughter's," said the avid cookbook collector, church music leader and pastor's wife. 


Williams shared a tip for one of her signature treats, peanut brittle. "I've found a secret that makes them even better -- when you use homegrown peanuts instead of store-bought," she said, praising Roy Weathers' home crop.  


Pastor Charlie Whitney shared his recipe for apple crack cake. As a former military cook in the U.S. Air Force, the New Jersey native knows his way around a kitchen. He met his wife, Pam, in the 1970s, when he was stationed at Columbus Air Force Base. He has pastored Grace Baptist since it was formed about 10 years ago. 


"We never started this as a fundraiser; we basically started out hoping to just meet expenses," the minister said. The compilation of recipes from the church family and friends represents, instead, a labor of love. As the introduction explains, every cookbook goes out "with the hope that you will glorify God and enjoy all His gracious benefits."  


Editor's note: "A Taste of Grace" cookbooks are $6. For more information, contact the church office, 662-327-0075. 








2 pounds bulk sausage 


2 large chopped onions 


2 cups milk 


1 teaspoon soy sauce 


Salt and pepper, to taste 


Sprinkle of garlic 


3 tablespoons plain flour 


1 (4 ounce) can mushrooms 


1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 


1 pint sour cream 






  • Brown sausage with onion and garlic. Drain well and leave in skillet. 


  • Dredge with flour and gradually stir in milk until mixture thickens. 


  • Add mushrooms and seasonings. Stir in sour cream. Pour into chafing dish or crock pot. Serve as a dip with Melba Rounds or any other type of crackers desired. 


    (Source: Sharon Williams) 








    2 cans apple pie filling 


    2 sticks melted butter 


    1 box yellow cake mix 


    1 cup dark brown sugar 


    1 teaspoon cinnamon 


    2 cups chopped pecans 




  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 9-by-13-inch pan with Pam (or other non-stick cooking spray). Spread pie filling evenly on bottom of pan. 


  • Mix together butter with cake mix, brown sugar and cinnamon to make a thick paste. Spread evenly over pie filling and top with pecans. 


  • Bake 40-45 minutes until brown on top. 


    (Source: Charlie Whitney) 






    (Must be refrigerated overnight before serving) 




    1 box Vanilla Wafers  


    1 15-ounce can crushed pineapple with juice (do not drain) 


    1/4 cup lemon juice 


    1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk  


    1 package shredded coconut 


    1 8-ounce container Cool Whip (softened)  


    1 small jar cherries  


    4 sliced bananas 


    1 cup chopped pecans (optional)  


  • Layer the bottom of dish with whole vanilla wafers.  


  • Cover the vanilla wafers with the sliced bananas. 


  • In a bowl, mix the lemon juice and condensed milk. Add the pineapple and mix together. Pour this over the vanilla wafers and bananas; add another layer of wafers. 


  • Top with the Cool Whip. Cover with coconut, using as much as you want. Decorate with cherries (and optional pecans). 


  • Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate overnight.  


    (Source: Pam Whitney. This recipe is not included in the cookbook.) 








    1 package dry ranch dressing mix 


    1 1/3 cup canola oil 


    2 tablespoons red pepper flakes 


    1 box regular crackers (wheat are best) 




  • Mix oil, ranch dressing mix and red pepper flakes. Put crackers in a large bowl with a cover. Pour dressing mixture over crackers and turn the bowl over several times. 


  • After about 15-20 minutes turn the bowl over several more times. Leave crackers in the bowl for a couple of hours or more. These will taste like they have been baked and will be really crispy. 


    (Source: Fay Bell) 








    1 head lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces 


    1 head cauliflower, broken into florets 


    1/4 cup green onions 


    1 package (10 ounces) frozen green peas, thawed 


    1 small sweet red pepper, chopped 


    2 cups mayonnaise 


    2 tablespoons sugar 


    1 cup shredded cheddar cheese 


    8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled 




  • Layer vegetables in the order given above. Do not mix! 


  • Combine mayonnaise and sugar and spread over salad. Sprinkle cheese and bacon over mayonnaise. 


  • Lightly cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate. Toss before serving. 


    (Source: Eleanor King)

    Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.