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Congregational Church of Grafton is cooking up a slice of town history

By Christine Galeone, Contributing Writer

Grafton United Church of Christ members Don Lutz (right) and Matt Whitney make holiday breads. (Photo/submitted)

Grafton United Church of Christ members Don Lutz (right) and Matt Whitney make holiday breads. (Photo/submitted)

Grafton – Recipes can be comforting, adventurous or nourishing. There are some that are all three. But, sometimes, they transcend the words on the page (or the screen). They become mini-stories of people, places and events. At the Congregational Church of Grafton, these are the kind of recipes the congregation is hoping to find. As a fundraiser, the church is compiling a cookbook filled with recipes from current and past Grafton residents. Through Friday, Jan. 15, the church is encouraging the community to submit recipes for the Grafton Cookbook.

In the spring of 2015, when a member of the United Church of Christ of Grafton Fundraising Committee proposed the idea of creating a cookbook filled with recipes from the congregation, fellow member Justin Mussler suggested expanding that vision. He said that opening the submission process to everyone in town would be a good way to try to get “everybody involved and connected.” The goal is to do more than raise funds. The church hopes the cookbook will be a collection of multi-generational, multi-ethnic recipes and related stories that brings the culture and history of Grafton to life. It hopes to strengthen the community.

“That really brings it together – people sharing some of their stories – especially, this time of the year,” Mussler said.

While committee members are grateful for the many recipes it has received for salads, desserts and vegetarian, ethnic and New England dishes, they still hope to find more, particularly from  children, teens and families. Mussler said that getting the word out to the general community – beyond the church – has been a challenge. To overcome it, he said the church is considering holding fun cook-off events for parents and children. The committee also hopes to contact Grafton schools. In regard to kids, Mussler – whose wife and kids will be submitting recipes – explained, “We really want to get them involved, as part of the community.”

And by being involved, the community will be helping the church and the many nonprofit organizations it supports. Mussler said that while 50 percent of the cookbook proceeds will go toward the church’s operating costs, the other half will help fund its donations to nonprofits and people in need. Over the past year, in addition to helping victims of fires in Grafton, the church also donated to Abby’s House, Dismas House, Heifer International, Interfaith Hospitality Network, Our Church’s Wider Mission, and the Worcester Area Mission Society. Additionally, it contributed to a Christmas fund and a Worcester fellowship fund.

The church’s pastor, Reverend Jane Willan, will also be part of this slice of town history. She has already submitted recipes for crockpot chicken and Boston baked beans, and she will be submitting one for a Christmas casserole.

“My hope is that the cookbook will be an opportunity for community involvement and response,” said Willan. “It should be fun!”

To learn more or submit recipes, visit the website for the church’s Grafton cookbook project, www.graftoncookbook.com. Current and past residents are eligible to submit up to five recipes and (optional) related stories via the website. The current submission deadline is Friday, Jan. 15. Those without Internet access may call the church at 508-839-4513.

Speculaas
Recipe submitted by Heidi Mussler

Speculaas is a classic Dutch sweet, a spice cake/square filled with the goodness of nutmeg, ginger and cloves. In a different form, you’d recognize them as windmill cookies, but they’re even better in cake-ish form! I grew up with Speculaas as a staple at Christmas time. Enjoy –
eet smaakluk!

3 c. flour
1 c. white sugar
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. butter
2 eggs
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. allspice

Cream butter with sugar and spices. Beat in eggs. Add flour, mix well. Pat into 9×13 pan.  Sprinkle with 2 tsp. milk, sugar and sliced or slivered almonds (almonds optional). Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

Short URL: http://www.communityadvocate.com/?p=70016

Posted by on Dec 30 2015. Filed under Byline Stories, Grafton, Your Community Advocate - Life up and down Route 9. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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