The Mormon Cookbook

Saturday, December 4th, 1999

I am a passionate collector of cookbooks. This is probably due in no small part to the fact that I love cooking and eating. Cookbooks are not just guides for preparing food. To me, cookbooks are like coffee table books or picture books. I very often take one of my cookbooks off the shelf and settle down on the couch to browse through it. I look at the pictures, imagine the tastes on my tongue, ponder the ingredients, wonder what I would do differently if I were cooking the recipe…

I don’t need to be hungry to want to look through a cookbook, and it doesn’t even necessarily make me hungry to look through one - it just makes me happy. Cookbooks are books of possibilities, of things to look forward to, of exciting new things and comforting old ones.

I love big, glossy cookbooks with pictures of every recipe. The look of such a book doesn’t guarantee that the recipes are any good, but at least they’re a feast for the eyes. I also like slightly unusual or off-the-wall cookbooks, cookbooks that you have to search out or that not everyone has. Prime examples of these types of cookbooks are my Hare Krishna cookbook (with a great recipe for chapatis), my Hopi cookbook (with an as-yet untried recipe for baked prairie dog - “Kill the prairie dogs and immediately singe the fur completely, to get rid of fleas.”), and, what is perhaps my favorite cookbook of all, my Mormon cookbook.

The Mormon cookbook that I own - aptly titled Mormon Cooking-Authentic Recipes - is a book that I think you can only get at gas stations and hotel lobbies throughout Utah (alternatively, you can order it directly from Great Mountain West Supply in Salt Lake City - email me if you want the address). Its comparative rarity is a big part of what makes it so special to me. It was intended to be a fairly wacky present from the wilds of Utah, but it has since left the realm of “novelty item” and has become probably the most-used cookbook that I own.

The Mormon Cookbook is divided into 8 “chapters” ranging from “Breads” through “Casseroles” to “Desserts”. The short book (32 pages long) is interspersed with bits of Mormon wisdom. The inside front cover gives us a blurb about who the Mormons are and why their recipes are unique (because they are a “harmonious collection” from around the world).

In the “Breads” section, we find out why the Mormons say “wheat for man.” Under “Meats,” we are advised to do all things in moderation and to eat meat sparingly - though it is, apparently, “an essential part of the diet.” The “Canning” section informs us that many Mormons set aside a year’s supply of food in case of hardship (they’re set for Y2K). And finally, the back of the book tells us that Mormons live longer, and it lets us know why.

I don’t doubt that avoiding caffeine, alcohol, tobacco and any other drugs makes the Mormon lifestyle healthier. I do, however, have to wonder if anyone can really consider Hamburger Stroganoff or Bacon-Draped Venison to be health food. “Wholesome” yes, but good for you…?

Obvious or not-so-obvious health benefits aside, what makes this cookbook great is that the recipes are good. Everything I have ever made from the book - including the Hamburger Stroganoff - has turned out just right. The Old Fashioned Beef Stew is the quintessential beef stew. The Baking Powder Biscuits are positive archetypes of biscuits. The Buttermilk Pancakes are little flapjacks from Heaven. Whoever came up with these recipes knew what they were doing, and their recipes have now entered my oeuvre. I habitually make Mormon Pie Crust, Mormon Gravy, Mormon Zucchini Loaf and the aforementioned biscuits and pancakes. Everything turns out perfectly.

The Mormon Cookbook is a little mystery. I have no idea who compiled it or where the recipes come from. When I look at the names of the recipes and how they’re written out, I imagine that it is some sort of compilation of recipes from various families in some community or another. Grandma’s White Bread and Grandma’s Spice Cake, Mom’s Cole Slaw and Dad’s Barbecued Spare Ribs, Mom’s Apple Crumble and Dad’s Divinity, Yummy Yams and Apples, Delicious Beef and Rice - they’re the types of things that deck the tables at potlucks, the recipes that people write down for each other after get-togethers (“I simply must have the recipe for your Sunshine Glazed Carrots”).

It is pure Americana, and I find that endearing. It’s homey food, comfort food, meatloaf and macaroni and turkey pot pie. It’s food that people today buy frozen, or in cans, or in tubs, or in bags - which is a pity, because when I stand in the kitchen and stir the homemade Mormon Split Pea Soup, I get some sense of pride and comfort, some sense of carrying on a tradition. Even though it’s not my tradition, per se, it still makes me feel as though I somehow belong to something bigger. My Mormon Cheesy Potato Casserole would be welcome at any potluck.

Comments

1

Is it safe to cook and preserve a 1/3 yam and 2/3 apple combination in a water bath canning method?.

Posted by Patricia Flora

2

I’m sorry, but I have no idea. I’ve never canned anything in my life, and the Mormon Cookbook doesn’t say anything about canned yams and apples. It sounds good, though…

3

I am looking for Mormon Split Pea Soup with Meatballs. Do you have that recipe? If so, could you please email it to me at: jckc50@qwest.net ? Thanks, Kathy

Posted by Kathy Chambers

4

I once knew Mormon neighbors that made their own rootbeer in the basement of the church. How is that done?

Posted by Gayle

5

I have no clue how you make root beer, and unfortunately the Mormon Cookbook doesn’t mention it at all. What’s root beer made of anyway? I’ve always found it to be a rather mysterious drink (but one that I enjoy very much).

6

have you ever heard of a mormon recipe called Lumpy Dick? If so what is it?

Posted by Ethel

7

Rootbeer made in church basements? In the old days rootbeer was made with rootbeer syrup and dry ice, then bottled. Very tasty

Posted by Mary Hoopes

8

The recipe for homemade rootbeer is on most boxes of rootbeer extract (next to vanilla extract, almond extract, etc in most grocery stores.) It’s basically the rootbeer extract, water, and sugar mixed together. Throw in the dry ice to carbonate it and you have rootbeer. Not too mysterious after all.

Posted by Sandra

9

I’d never heard of a recipe called Lumpy Dick, but I found out all about it online. There’s a recipe for it here: http://prep.ldscn.com/prep-pc-otherrecipes.php#Lumpy%20Dick . It appears to have been a pioneer thing originally. I would guess that it’s related to the English dessert known as Spotted Dick (which is basically an English pudding type thing with raisins in it). Sounds pretty tasty, actually.

To me, the big mystery about rootbeer was what exactly the “root” bit was. According to this site: http://tn.essortment.com/historyrootbeer_rhnc.htm , the root was originally sassafras, though nowadays rootbeer may contain any number of different spices and rooty things. So the exact content of the stuff is still a bit mysterious, really.

10

Anyone ever heard of cheese boats? All of my Mormon friend’s mothers make them. I think they stuff rolls with cheese and black olives and foil them up and bake them. They are awesome, but I would like the real recipe.

Posted by Roman Hassell

11

I am searching for Utah cookbooks to use in an upcoming publication by Quail Ridge Press entitled Best of the Best from Utah Cookbook: Selected Recipes from Utah’s Favorite Cookbooks. If anyone knows of one they would like to refer, please email me at Tray@quailridge.com. Thanks!

12

I’m looking to purchase the mormon cook book

Posted by Russell Hoff

13

At the back of my cookbook, it says to order copies, send $5.95 plus $2.50 per copy for postage and handling to Great Mountain West Supply, 3777 S. 500 W., Salt Lake City, Utah, 84115.

14

Please send me the most comforting of all foods, the “Potato chip casserole” recipe. I would like the cubed ham version please. Thank you

Posted by Melinda Leiva

15

I can’t find my copy of the Mormon Cookbook and there is a recipe in there for canning apple pie fillingthat I have used for years. —it has cups of corn starch and sugar boiled with jugs of water with cinnammon and nutmeg added. My apples are peeled and I need help!! Can you send it ASAP?

Posted by pam

16

Unfortunately, I’m in the States right now and my Mormon Cookbook is in England! I can send it when I get back to Brighton (on August 24), but I fear that your apples will have turned brown by then!

Posted by Jessica

17

My copy of MORMON COOKING is in storage while I am working in California for two years. I was dismayed that I forgot it, it was my only source for sourdough pancakes! Would someone share that with me?

Posted by Jennifer Jacques

18

I am looking for a recipe for bean pie. Can anyone help me? It resembles pumpkin pie. Thank You.

Posted by Rachel

19

Please e-mail the address for the Great Mountain West Supply. thank-you

Posted by vida

20

I have a copy of Favorite Mormon Recipes - Meats that I have had for “years” (over 30)and am wondering if it is still published, as I would like some for gifts. Could you please send me the address of Great Mountain West supply in Salt Lake City. Do they have a web-site or e-mail address? Thanks so much. P.S. I am in Prince George, B.C., Canada

Posted by Clare Willis

21

I lost a little red cook book I bought at Bee Hive House in 1978. Does anyone know if it is still in print? I don’t know the name of the book. It’s recipe for 101 yr old pie crust is the best ever.

Posted by Lee Boone

22

I am looking for the recipe Mormon women usually make for family dinners after a funeral. They refer to them as “funeral potatoes” or “mormon potatoes”. They are super simple, made with shredded potatoes and cheese and whatever else and absolutely YUMMY!! Great with a ham dinner!

Posted by Marie Everson

23

Hi! I am searching for a recipe for funeral potatoes and jello desserts! could you help me? my email is malissa77@frontiernet.net thank you!

24

As it so happens, I am a recipe collector as well as “TADA!!” Mormon! This is a cute site. I happen to have funeral potatoes, jello dessert, 100 year pie crust, and a new one or two chicken pillows and butterfinger cake…. any takers?

Posted by Wendy

25

This site is fun. Being a convert to the church its delightful to hear non mormans appricating the foods I’m learning to love. Funeral potatoes are yummy and I’m going to order the Mormon Cookbook

Posted by Dolly

26

I’m a big fan of mennonite cooking too. Has anyone heard of another Mennonite cookbook made in Kichener Ontario Canada called ,food that really Schmecks?I would love a copy but don’t know where to find one, help.

Posted by marianne

27

Unfortunately, I can’t help you find the Mennonite cookbook you’re looking for, Marianne, but I love the title "Food that really schmecks"!

Posted by Jessica

28

I was just at a Halloween party and a gal brought some "Mormon caramel corn". It has no hulls and is more like puffed rice than corn. Delightfully delicious. Do you have this secret recipe? If so, I’d love it if you’d share with me. Thanks in advance for your time!

Posted by Margaret

29

Mormon Cooking-Authentic Recipes, could you please give me the e-mail address for this book? Thank you ever so much

Posted by Deb Piepgrass

30

I would love to have the address of the Great Mountain West supply in Salt Lake City.

Thanks! Rebecca

Posted by Rebecca Seleme

31

I posted the address a few comments back, but here it is again: At the back of my cookbook, it says to order copies, send $5.95 plus $2.50 per copy for postage and handling to Great Mountain West Supply, 3777 S. 500 W., Salt Lake City, Utah, 84115.

Posted by Jessica

32

$2.50 for postage and "handling"? Oh, Please. Just charge $8.45 and stop insulting people with that line. The postage is about a buck and you don’t take "just one" copy to the post office.. (or have it picked up), do you?

Posted by Rick Deuel

33

Rick, I have no idea what you’re on about. I’ve just written what it says in the back of my cookbook. I have nothing to do with Great Mountain West Supply or the postal service, for that matter - hell, I don’t even live in the United States. If you want the cookbook but have an issue with the postage and handling fees, I suggest you take it up with the people at Great Mountain West Supply. Like I said, it’s nothing to do with me - I’m just providing the address because some people asked for it.

Posted by Jessica

34

Julie Badger Jensen has recently published a wonderful Mormon cookbook entitled "The Essential Mormon Cookbook". Excellent recipes including green jello and funeral potatoes. It is pblished by Deseret Book, Salt Lake City, Utah and I picked up a copy for me and my mom at Borders.

Posted by Leah

35

Jessica have you ever heard of Shredded whead bread? When I was a kid, I went with a nice Morman man. His grandmouther made this bread! It was so good, I’ve never forgot it. I would give my eyeteeth for the receip.

Posted by Louise Dodge

36

Hi I have 2 recipes for Cheese Boats, they are a little different. Send me a name and address and I will send them to you. I don’t know how to e-mail them. Pat

Posted by Pat De Arman

37

"Mormon Cooking—-Authentic Recipes" is available from Great Mountain West Supply for $6.95 + $4.95 shipping + .79 tax. You can get a better price at any used book site on the web.

Posted by Rocco

38

I don’t know how old the Lumpy Dick question is, but here’s our old family recipe. When my maternal grandmother was a girl, her father knew how to cook exactly two things, so whenever her mother was away, he would ask his family what they wanted for dinner—whipped cream(!) or lumpy dick, and prepare accordingly. People related to my mom’s side of the family just love this—everyone else thinks it’s so-so—so if you love it, you’re kin! Anyway, here goes:

1 gallon whole milk (actually, I use more like a half-gallon—and no, it doesn’t HAVE to be whole, but it tastes better)

butter (optional)

1 egg

1 cup all-purpose flour

salt (1/2t — 1 t.)

Set the milk to scald, with or without the butter.

While it’s heating, mix the egg and salt (but I usually put the salt into the milk instead) into the flour using a fork or pastry cutter. You want a mixture that is almost all little eggy lumps.

Once the milk has started to scald, turn down the heat slightly (you DON"T want this to scorch) and start slowly adding the egg/flour mix, stirring constantly (I use a whisk) until the mixture thickens and the lumps are cooked.

I like mine quite thick and usually wind up adding more flour.

Serve with butter, sugar, nutmeg and (more) milk.

Delicious!

And yes, I am a fourth-generation Latter-Day Saint (Mormon)!

Posted by Cathi Palmer

39

Oh. I almost forgot—In Utah, at any rate, you can still buy — I think it was A&W — rootbeer extract in the grocery stores. You make it in a big cooler with dry ice.

You used to be able to buy it everywhere, but I haven’t noticed it for a long time.

I haven’t actually been to Utah for a long time, either, but I assume you can still get it there, like lime jello with shredded carrots.

Of course, root beer was originally brewed and the bubbles came from fermentation—I knew somebody in my teens who did it once, but I never tasted any of it.

Posted by Cathi Palmer

40

Thanks for the recipe, Cathi - I’ll have to try that out myself!

Posted by Jessica

41

I live right by (Im talking within walking distance lol) to the Great Mountain West Supply..wonder if its still there? And If I can skip the shipping and just go over and grab a cookbook? Wouldnt that be wonderful. Love your site..lovin reading through everyones comments :) Carmen

42

Ohhh and I wondered about canning turkey, I had a friend who’s mother in law was a mormon and she had a wonderful recipe for canning turkey. You would put big chunks of turkey in the jar and then add turkey broth and some other ingredients for the gravy . I think it had some sort of meat enhancer product in it? Anyone heard of it or have the recipe?

Posted by Carmen Gonzales

43

Carmen, I find it totally cool that you live near Great Mountain West Supply. I guess it’s kind of become this semi-mythical place in my mind, so I’m really happy to hear that 1) it actually exists, and 2) someone who reads my site has seen it with their own eyes! :-)

Posted by Jessica

44

You can buy "Mormon Cooking - Authentic Recipies" online for only $6.95.

http://www.deseretbookoutlet.net/store/product?product_id=100050672

Just in case anyone wants one of their own!

Posted by Chris

45

Excellent, thanks for the tip, Chris!

Posted by Jessica

46

I’m a 4th generation Mormon on my mom’s side and 2nd generation on my father’s side. I just want to throw out there that I think Mormon cooking (as practiced by a lot of Mormons today, including my mother and grandmother!) is quite unhealthy. The cookbook does sound quaint and good if you like that kind of food, but Jessica is right to have concerns about it’s health promoting qualities. Not all Mormons agree with "Mormon cooking." Although, I’m very happy to see such a positive response to something in Mormon culture!

Posted by Sally Sanchez

47

My Mormon Meatloaf recipe cookbook is in storage. You know the one you get from Bishops Storehouse!! Could someone send me the meatloaf recipe in that cookbook???

Posted by Lainie

Sorry. Comments are closed.