(Photo by Tim Jaynes, staff)
SIKESTON - The Scott County Women in Agriculture definitely know the recipe to a winning cookbook.
After publishing their first cookbook in 2002 and quickly selling out of their initial 500 copies and 300 they had reordered, the group looked to obtain more books.
"We thought we would reorder again and couldn't - the cover had been discontinued," said Diane Urhahn, cookbook committee chairperson. "So since we had a really good response to the first one, we said 'well, let's start over,' and did a second edition."
In addition to over 750 new recipes found in the new cookbook, there are several other added features.
"The quality is much nicer," said Joann Nichols, Women in Agriculture treasurer. "It is in a three-ring binder, and much more durable."
There are nine sections in the cookbook. In addition to the common headings such as desserts and main dishes, there are two unique categories, This and That and Basic and Simple.
The Basic and Simple portion was inspired by several of the members children who were newlyweds, or had recently moved out or gone to college. "They would call home and say 'how do you fix this?'" Urhahn said.
So, Basic and Simple includes recipes that only require a few ingredients, for example mashed potatoes, boiled eggs and grilled cheese sandwiches. "You don't see cookbooks with those things in them generally," Urhahn said.
The Basic and Simple section is a good selling point for the book, according to Nichols. She added the This and That portion includes several low-fat and sugar-free recipes.
"Many of us have relatives who are diabetic," she said. "So we have learned to change our cooking so they don't feel deprived."
The book also includes recipes for punches, hors dourves, appetizers and numerous varieties of salads. There are also some authentic cajun recipes, submitted by ladies who lived in New Orleans.
"There's always those wonderful recipes when you go to family reunions or church dinners," Nichols noted. "There's a lot of those in this cookbook as well."
And the book's title, 'Favorites From the Farm,' reflects the organization, as well as some of the recipes, according to Urhahn.
The recipes are very practical foods made by the women, most of whom live on the farm. They are foods the women would feed their husband in the fields or when they come home starving after a long day of work, Nichols said.
The cookbook has a recipe for everyone, from the novice who doesn't know how to boil water to the more experienced cooks. Nichols recommended the cookbooks as gifts for weddings showers, cookbook collectors, birthdays and people leaving home and having to rely on their cooking skills for the first time.
Quite a bit of work went into the book, according to Urhahn. "First, you have to collect all of the recipes," she said. These were turned in by the group members, as well as their friends and family members.
Some were even submitted in memory of loved one. "That was kind of neat," Urhahn said.
After the recipes were submitted, the committee had to look at the recipes to ensure they were readable. The group also divided the recipes into the nine categories before sending them to their publishing company.
After the publishing company put the book together and sent a proof to the group, they had to go through every recipe and compare it to the original to make sure there were no typing errors, Urhahn said.
While the binder-style cookbook will be a bit more expensive at $15 a book, it should hold up longer.
And the proceeds all benefit a very good cause. "This is one of the efforts that helps us raise money to award a scholarship," Nichols said. Each year, the group awards a scholarship to a graduating senior from an area farm family.
The funds help sponsor the group's annual farm day for area third-graders in April too, Urhahn said.
"The cookbook is also a good way to reach some of the communities and let them know our club is in existence and always looking for new membership," Nichols said.
The group's mission is to be a positive force in educating women involved in agriculture. It is not restricted to women who are directly involved in agriculture, but open to all who would like to become more knowledgeable about agriculture and its future.
Cost: $15 each
Available at: Slusher Farm and Home and Progressive Farm Credit in Sikeston, or at the Soil and Water Conservation District in Benton.
Or contact: Diane Urhahn, 545-3361; Ruth Watson, 683-4545; Donna Thompson, 471-5371.