Women of Windy Way: a set of 8 luncheon plates
artist’s book with clamshell box, paper, cotton fabric, thread, cyanotype, letterpress, and inkjet prints
edition of 10
On this page you will find the text and images from Women of Windy Way. It was produced in collaboration with the Wednesday Morning Women’s group of the North Vienna United Methodist Church and with support of Maine Media Workshops + College as a 2022 Book Artist in Residence.
In 2021, the Women’s Group of the North Vienna United Methodist Church, a church perched up on a windy ridge at the highest point in a small, rural town, created Cooped Up Cooking. The introduction reads:
It has been ten years since the Wednesday Morning Women’s Group published a cookbook. 2020-21 has been a challenging time for everyone. For a period, the group did not meet. Then we met on Zoom, better than not meeting at all, but not the same as being together! It was so good when we finally could be back together in-person, to share, laugh, and cry together. This new cookbook contains comfort food recipes that nourished us during the pandemic; new finds discovered during cooking adventures; as well as our thoughts, and prayers, and scripture that sustained us. Our hope is that you will find some old treasures, new finds, and comfort in this cookbook.
Community cookbooks are valuable because they document not only the foods eaten in a specific community in a given time, but also the values, history, and social networks of a community, and particularly (but not exclusively) communities of women. I was interested in this cookbook because it reflects as time in this community (and the world) of extreme challenges. For many of us, food and cooking gained even more appreciation as nourishment both for our bodies and our spirits. I wanted to make this project to highlight the women who created the cookbook and the stories within their recipes and, more personally, because these women were part of my own upbringing; I grew up in that small, rural community. I am grateful that they have been open with their stories, photos, and recipe boxes to create this collaborative artwork, which I hope brings attention and honor to the foods that sustain us, the memories they contain, and the people who make it.
In the late 1950’s, our school was selling paperback books and I found a cookbook called Ann Pillsbury Baking Book, and I just thought it would be nice to give my mom for Christmas. It cost 35 cents.
I used to use different recipes in it, but about Thanksgiving time mom said to me, “why don’t you make those caramel rolls?” I think I was like in the sixth grade when it happened. They were called “No-Knead Cinnamon Rolls,” and then you added a caramel on the bottom and they were baked in cupcake tins. Well, it made a big hit, so every year I would make them for Thanksgiving and it’s been a tradition ever since.
So then, I think it was your mom who found the recipe in one of the previous church cookbooks, and I made them for Easter Sunday for quite a few years. The recipe I use now is a little different than the one in the old Ann Pillsbury Baking Book. I’ve adapted it over the years.
And I’m still making them for Thanksgiving.
Caramel Nut Rolls
Submitted by Barbara Gilman
- ½ cup milk, scalded
- 2 Tbsp. shortening
- 3 Tbsp. sugar
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 yeast cake
- 1 egg
- 3 cups flour
- 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
Combine the scalded milk, shortening, sugar and salt. Cool to lukewarm by adding ½ cup water. Add yeast then the egg. Gradually add the flour and mix until well blended. Cover and let stand 15 minutes. Roll out the dough into 18 x 12 inch rectangle on a well-floured board. Over the dough, spread 2 Tbsp. melted butter, ¼ cup brown sugar, 2 tsp. cinnamon. Roll dough like one would for a jelly roll. Cut into 1 inch slices
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- 1 Tbsp. melted butter
- ¼ cup chopped nuts
My mother-in-law married a wonderful man later in life after both had lost their first spouses. He and his first wife had an herb business before her passing. He continued on with his love of gardening and sharing his knowledge. He would ask me what I would like for herbs, but growing up I had never learned to cook with fresh herbs. They were in the jar of sauce I bought from the store to go on my pizza. He gave me a basil to plant along with a recipe to make my own pesto. Not only was he knowledgeable, he was also very witty. At the end of the recipe he wrote, “Relax. Have a cup of tea.”
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves, washed and patted dry
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 tbs pine nutes
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tbs butter, room temp
- 3 tbs grated Romano cheese
Put the basil, olive oil, pine nuts, garlic cloves, and salt in the blender and mix at high speed. Stop from time to time
to time and scrape the ingredients down toward the bottom of the blender cup with rubber spatula.
When it’s all evenly blended, pour into a bowl and beat in the two grated cheeses by hand. (This is not much work, and it results in a more interesting texture and better flavor than you get when you mix in the cheese in the blender._ When the cheese has been evenly incorporated into the mix, beat in-the softened butter.
Before spooning the pesto over pasta, add to it a tbs or so of the hot water in which the pasta has boiled. Makes 6 servings. Refrigerate any left over.
(Relax. Have a cup of tea.)
Soft Molasses Cookies
- 1 egg
- 3/4 c molasses
- 1/2 c sugar
- 5/8 c shortening
- 1/2 c water
- 1 1/2 teasp. vinegar
- 1 teasp. vanilla
- 2 teasp. baking soda
- about 3 c flour
- 1/2 teasp. ginger and cinnamon
Bake 350° until brown. About 10 minutes. Better to test one first.
I grew up in N.J. as an only child. My grandmother lived with us. Saturday evenings were special for my grandma, Mom and I. Grandma would wash her hair and I would set it. She liked to correspond with her friends and relative, but her hands weren’t steady enough to write so I would write them for her. Mom would make a Chocolate Upside Down Cake and we would eat it on her bed. How I managed to eat it with it being upside on her bed is a mystery. We’d all watch Gunsmoke and Paladin. This tradition lasted until I was a teenager!
Chocolate Upside-down Cake
- 1 cup flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
Melt over hot water:
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 square unsweetened baking chocolate
Add the chocolate butter mixture to 1/2 cup milk and add to dry mixture.
- 1/2 cup chopped walnut meats
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Spread mixture in an 8x8x2-inch pan.
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup cocoa
Pour gently over all 1 1/4 cups very hot water.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes.
I contributed several recipes, but probably my simplest & most requested recipe is corn casserole. It is quick & easy, but good. It is special to me because it brings back memories of the friend, Jane, who gave me the recipe back in the early 80s. Jane was a fun, caring young woman with two small kids. She died unexpectedly. She was always very modest & unassuming & I am sure had no idea of the impact she had on others’ lives. She has been gone almost 40 years, but that recipe is still a special connection.
Margaret and I started baking together the second she could (safely) stand on a chair to reach the counter. And even before that point, I would often wear her and ultimately cover her in flour and whatever other ingredients I happened to be cooking or baking with at the time. This is something that continues to this day – and now Eloise helps, too! Part of cooking or baking is telling the stories behind the recipes. Pulling out the recipe cards written in the scribbles of loved ones and telling my girls why I love the recipes, the people, the memories.
Here’s What’s Cookin’: Choc. Chip Cookies – 1/2 recipe
- 1 – 1 1/2 stick oleo
- 3/4 c white sugar
- 3/4 c brown sugar
- 2 1/4 c flour
- 1 tsp soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp water
- lots of choc. chips
I did a lot of reading last year. A book that inspired me was Finding Freedom in the Lost Kitchen by Erin French. When the Mt. Vernon Community Center was open, we would serve breakfast every Saturday morning. I’m used to thinking of food for nourishment but seeing how much people enjoyed these breakfasts we’d make gave me a different perspective. Erin said, “I want to serve, I want to entertain and host; I want to take in strangers and feed them my love on a plate. I feel a most innate joy in caring for people. Good food could be a vessel, a way to show love. Food isn’t a competition about who can make the best dish. Its greatest power is to take taste and turn it into a long lasting memory. Living in Maine can feel isolating and challenging. We need a village to lean on. An epicenter to root ourselves. We are caring for people with warmth and food.”
This book was designed, printed, and assembled by Rachel E. Church, 2022 Book Artist in Residence at Maine Media Workshop + College, where it was produced in the Charles Altschul Book Arts Studio on a Vandercook Universal III letterpress and in the Haas Lab for Historical Photographic Processes. The paper used is 90 lb white Legion Stonehenge, 140 lb Winsor & Newton Professional Hot Press Watercolor, and Moab Lasal Photo Matte 235. The images were printed in cyanotype and inkjet. The type set is Bembo.
Thank you to Maine Media Workshop + College for their generous support to create this project, as well as the Women’s Group of the North Vienna United Methodist Church, and especially Barbara, Debbie, Donna, Jean, Katie, Laura, and Millie, for sharing their recipes, photos, and stories.