31 Days of Cookbooks | The Mennonite Treasury

Do you have a cookbook memory that shoots you straight back to your childhood? I know I do. It’s The Mennonite Treasury of Recipes that held pride of place in my mother’s kitchen all my growing up years and beyond. I was surprised to find that this book, copyrighted in 1962, had three printings in a year and a half.

The original purpose of the recipe collection was to share recipes for “quantity servings” for conferences. My mom was head cook for a Bible camp for native children in Manitoba, Canada, in the late 60s, so these recipes for fifty dozen cookies, lemon pudding for 100, macaroni and cheese for 100, and others must have been very handy for her. At any rate, she made multiple notes in that section—and all others!

The bulk of the 224-page book consists of submitted recipes in many categories from breads to cookies to soups to candy to main dishes to “you name it” from Canadian Mennonite women. All throughout this book my mom handwrote in dozens more recipes she used often. She also taped in recipe cards and food articles clipped from newspapers. She liberally wrote in the margins, declaring some foods delicious while others were marked with an x. Most pages show flour, egg, or butter spatters. This Mennonite Treasury was treasured indeed!

The editorial committee also created a chapter with traditional Mennonite recipes from Russia, where this religious group spent many decades before coming to Canada in the 1800s. This chapter was included as a history lesson, as in the 60s processed foods were already creeping into Mennonite homes and recipes. The collaborators couldn’t think why anyone would go back to the old ways! The book’s introduction says, “Many of these (recipes) hail back from the days of want and austerity, and are no longer in use, but may be of interest for coming generations. . .”

My mom died in 2010, and one of the things that came to my house after that was her Mennonite Treasury. Not long after, a friend from church, sharing my Mennonite heritage, asked if I remembered Plumi Moos. Immediately I was a small child with long braids and wearing a dress and stockings. It was Sunday late afternoon, and a meal called Faspa was on the table. This light meal consisted of buns, meat, cheese, pickles, and a large bowl of Plumi Moos (pronounced PLOOmeh moose).

I hadn’t thought of this traditional fruit soup in a long time, but I knew where to go to find out how to make it! Only, which one of the half dozen recipes had my mom used? None of them looked exactly right. I contacted several of my cousins and got their mothers’ versions. I still wasn’t certain any of these matched my memories.

Eventually I blended several ideas and made my own version, using half a cup each of three kinds of dried fruit and simmering them in 2.5 cups of water until they were soft. Then I sweetened to taste using honey and added a dash of cinnamon and cloves. I mixed 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with 2 cups of milk and added to thicken the moos. Served chilled, this has become a favorite breakfast in my home.

Truly this Mennonite Treasury of Recipes has a treasured place of honor in my kitchen, a treasure that can be handed down to my daughter and her daughters after her.

Valerie Comer‘s life on a small farm in western Canada provides the seed for stories of contemporary inspirational romance. Like many of her characters, Valerie and her family grow much of their own food and are active in the movement as well as their creation-care-focused church. She only hopes her imaginary friends enjoy their happily ever afters as much as she does hers, shared with her husband, adult kids, and adorable granddaughters. Her first published work, a novella, was released in the collection Rainbow’s End from Barbour Books in May 2012. Visit her to glimpse inside her world.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Valerie Comer (21 Posts)

Valerie Comer is a fiction author and a blogger where food meets faith. She and her husband of over 30 years farm, garden, and keep bees on a small farm in Western Canada, where they grow much of their own food, preserving vast amounts of it by canning, freezing, and dehydrating. She believes taking good care of both the planet and her family is an act of worship and thankfulness to God the Creator. Valerie writes farm fresh romance such as Raspberries and Vinegar (Choose NOW Publishing—August 2013) as a natural offshoot of her passions.


Comments

  1. Our neighbors that were Amish always used to have Banana soup. It was sliced bananas, sugar, milk and crushed soda crackers.

  2. I want to try this!

  3. The Mennonite Treasury is also my favourite… and my mother’s! And the funny thing is that just today I bought the ingredients for Moos!! 🙂 We like to have it for breakfast Christmas morning or with ham dinners. It’s nice to see some of my heritage in here! Thanks!

  4. Thanks for the memories. I married a Mennonite man and his mom used to make plumamoos (sp is wrong) and I just could not get used to the texture or taste, the same with veranija (sp wrong – cottage cheese dumplings) but love butta soup, borscht and rolla kuchen w/watermelon.

    I had to laugh thinking about the first Faspa dinner I made – we had it after the service of dedicating our youngest son…we had so much food it was too funny…my m-i-l laughed when she saw all the food that was there.

  5. I recall this soup, or a version of it at least. Where I was initially from, it was pronounced as mouse. I would sometimes take some to school in my lunch as a child and the other children mistook the large plum in it as the head of an actual mouse when they saw me eating it. I remember my grandmother making it and serving it at faspa, along with homemade buns, homemade apricot and apple jam whenever I went to visit. My grandmother added a variety of fruit in it like whole plums, gooseberries, golden raisins, etc. If they could be found and were in season, grapes and blueberries would sometimes be added. I remember my grandmother always using fresh fruit to make it.

Leave a Reply to Tricia Goyer Cancel reply

*