Sunday, February 27, 2011

Dinner on the Grounds

Been scouting out recipe books for a project for one of our kids.  Went to an auction today and bought over 40 cookbooks for $12.  They had belonged to a older farm wife and reflected much of that life.  The above "Albert E. Brumley's All Day Singin' and Dinner on the Grounds" recipe and song book was an interesting little find.  

Albert Brumley wrote over 600 gospel songs - one of his most recognized is "Turn Your Radio On".  This song-cookbook is a trip down the southern church memory lane.  

All day singin' and dinner on the grounds was most often on a Sunday starting with preaching, Sunday School, followed by a bounteous feast on the grounds with singing starting about 2:00 p.m. and lasting until time for folks to get home and do evening chores.

The meetings produced good music, good food and good fellowship and often brought visitors from miles away just to hear the gospel with friends and family.

Some groups would pack "box" lunches for their own family and then bring extra for those less fortunate.  Other groups brought quantities of the homemaker's specialities and it was served buffet style - typically with boards on sawhorses out in the church yard for serving tables.  

The day was filled with games for the children while adults caught up on all the news.  But, the highlight of the day was the dinner.  

Women brought their special dishes - often the ones that had been handed down through families.  You always knew whose lemon pie was the best, which plate the heavenly angel food cake would arrive on, and which cookies always had fresh walnuts.

If you were in the deep south, tradition always had several ladies bringing pimento cheese, pineapple and tomato sandwiches.  Every woman had her own special version of potato salad and other produce either direct from the garden or from produce she had preserved.

I'm convinced children learn more about life, manners, friendship, family and God at these church dinners than most anywhere else.  You also learn to enjoy good food.

A list of just a few of the recipes is a good example of the end result to growing your own produce:  Pickled Vegetables, Kraut Salad, George Washington Cherry Cake, Molasses Cookies, Peach Dumplings, Pecan Pie, Green Tomato Preserves, Green Beans and Hog Jowl,  and Fried Cucumbers. 

I haven't tried this recipe, but, it sure does sound like it would be a dinner on the grounds kinda cake: 

Company Time Lemon Cake
2 C     Sugar
1/2 C     Butter
6     Egg Yolks - Beaten
1     Egg - whole
4 C     Flour
1/2 tsp     Soda - dissolved in
1/2 C     Milk
Zest of one lemon - chopped fine
Juice of one lemon

Cream sugar and butter.  Add eggs, flour, and milk (with soda dissolved in) beating well.  Add lemon juice & mix.  Bake at 350 degrees in 3 greased and floured round pans.  Bake until middle of cake comes out clean when a pick or knife is inserted.  Makes 3 layers.  Ice each with:

Candied Syrup
1 1/2 C     Water
1 lb.     Sugar

Cook syrup (stirring) until it becomes thick like pancake syrup.  Ice between layers and grate lemon zest/rind over the tops of each and assemble.  Cover and refrigerate until meeting time. 

You may not have a lemon tree in your backyard but wouldn't one of these Dinner on the Grounds recipes be wonderful!  Consider planting some produce this year which would make great "feed" for all the family and visitors.  Maybe you can be the one who gets these dinners re started at your church.  We're never too contemporary or busy that a few hours of good eating wouldn't be fun for everyone.  An opportunity to influence another generation with the benefits of Singin' and Dinner on the Grounds. 

1 comment:

  1. Pine Castle Woman's ClubSeptember 25, 2011 at 12:28 PM

    I am working with the Pine Castle Woman's Club in Orlando Fl and we are starting a cookbook honoring our mothers and grandmothers.
    We like the photo you have of the lady with the pie and want to know if we may have permission to use it on our cover. We can give you full credit.
    This is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. The cookbook will benefit the Russell Home for Atypical Children in Orlando... which gets no gov. help. Please email me at or call me at 407-438-1075
    thanks Ann Bennett