On Cookbooks, Churches & the Jeweler of Mordor

cabinToday for your reading pleasure, we shall be reviewing not one, not two, but three cookbooks! (The mind reels!)

But before we get to that, I have to tell you about my past weekend. And here’s a tip I’ll share with you right off the bat: Make yourself a friend with a second home. Preferably a cabin. Make sure this is a generous friend who is prone to say, “Hey, wanna stay in my cabin this weekend?”

Bonus points if they add, “Got a fully stocked bar, too! Here’s the key!”

Click to Jump to Recipe

How this came about was that Husband had a meeting north of Phoenix, in a little town called Cottonwood. A church was closing and he chaired the committee helping them through the process. This was to be their final “open house” where people would come, eat cake, see old friends, look around the building, and grab anything they wanted before the place sold.

So our friend, knowing we’d be in the area, practically insisted we use his cabin.

“Well, okay… if you insist.

The reason for the church closing is fairly complicated, not something this short post can adequately cover. I do want to point out something, however, that perhaps demonstrates the astute decision making skills that were at play.

About a year ago, the church made a cookbook and decided to sell them as a fundraiser. This church had 40 or so members. They ordered 1,600 books.

Seriously. Who does that?

It didn’t bankrupt the church and it’s not the reason they’re closing. But still. Sixteen hundred cookbooks, still in their boxes.

Since I’m trying to get rid of my own excess of cookbooks, I avoided the people desperately trying to unload theirs.

Instead I watched people, because this is what I do. Husband is the talker, I’m the watcher.

It works well for us. He actually likes people and easily starts conversations with them. Which is helpful as all get-out, because sometimes the things we learn beats anything I could have imagined.

Sound mixer
Husband snagged a sound mixer. Meanwhile the women in back are taking plastic tablecloths.

Case in point, while Husband was scavenging around the church’s sound system, an elderly couple was seated nearby. Husband greeted them, as he does, and the man started telling us how much he loved living in Cottonwood.

He’s Catholic, his wife is Presbyterian, and he can’t get over how open and friendly the entire town is.

Why, when the Catholics started building their fellowship hall, they even had Mormons stopping by to help. That sort of thing never happened in L.A.

“Oh, you’re from L.A.?” Husband asked.
“Yes. We lived there nearly 50 years. I owned a jewelry store in Beverly Hills.”
“Oh really? Beverly Hills?”
“Yeah. It was a good business. But the best thing about working in Beverly Hills was that sometimes I did things for movies.”
“No kidding? Did that happen often?”
“Yes, actually. I did the jewelry for several movies.”
“That’s fascinating. Anything I would have seen?”
He thinks about it. “Well, did you see those Lord of the Rings movies?”
“Uh… yeah…”
“I did the rings for that.”
“The engravings, those are mine.”

Retired Beverly Hills jeweler
The Jeweler of Mordor


Now just so we’re completely clear, the rings themselves were designed by a jeweler in New Zealand, but the actual rings used in production were made by this guy. The retired guy living in Cottonwood, Arizona, who loves it when Catholics, Presbyterians and Mormons work together.

Sauron would be so pissed.

Anyway, back to my cookbooks. (One can’t hobnob with celebrity jewelers all the time, you know.)

It’s time to tackle my cookbook stash. This time, in keeping with our theme, I pulled out three church cookbooks.

The first one is the church of Husband’s youth. It has no cover and I think was published Church cookbookin 1976. I have no need of it, never used it, and can’t see much of interest in it, so away it goes.

Second up is a church we were at in Colorado, in a little town called Brush. I didn’t see a lot of recipes of interest, but I saw a lot of names that made me smile. This one I keep. Just for the names. (Don’t judge me.)

The third cookbook is from the church we are at presently. I can’t possibly get rid of this one, you know? Besides, here’s an interesting observation: The first recipe listed in Cookbook Number One is Cheese Dip. First recipe listed in the Colorado Cookbook is “Bean Dip by Dan.” (Dan was a great guy, by the way.)
The first recipe in our current church’s cookbook? Brandy Slush.

I love my church.

Brandy Slush

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • brandy slush3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 can frozen lemonade, thawed
  • 1 can frozen orange juice, thawed
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 cups brewed tea, cooled
  • 1 3/4 cups brandy
  • Chilled ginger ale

Mix together the first six ingredients in a large freezer safe container and — guess what? — freeze it! To serve, use an ice-cream scoop or large heavy spoon and fill a glass two-thirds full with the frozen mixture. Top with a bit of ginger ale, but don’t stir. Serve with a spoon.

Not a fan of brandy? Make it with bourbon instead. 😛

9 thoughts on “On Cookbooks, Churches & the Jeweler of Mordor

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s