The Duncan Banner

September 16, 2011

FUMC launches 5th edition of cookbook

Joshua Kellogg
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — Months of hard work have come to fruition for the 24 members of The Heavenly Hostess committee, as the fifth edition of its cookbook is about to be launched.

Last published 26 years ago, the cookbook holds 655 recipes submitted by 235 people from the First United Methodist Church congregation and residents of Stephens County.

Created in 1964 as “Here’s What’s Cookin,’” the cookbook was updated in 1968 before being calling The Heavenly Hostess in 1974. The cookbook was updated in 1974 and 1985.

The chapters themselves are appetizing: Breads, Muffins, Soups, Salads, Desserts and Appetizers are on the book’s menu and a majority of the recipes are new. Then again, some of the heavenly delights described date back to before Oklahoma statehood.

“This is a new generation and era of recipes, but (the cookbook) still includes items from the pioneer woman from the first edition,” Cookbook Committee Chair Leisha Powelson said.

Along with the various recipes from multiple eras, the Heavenly Hostess is an appetizing sharing of the 120 years of history FUMC has experienced, intertwined with the development of the City of Duncan.

“We felt strongly there is a story to tell about the history of the church,” Powelson said.

The book was motivated by the 50th anniversary of Betty Davis’ service to the church and community. Davis has been working for FUMC for 50 years and the cookbook includes a dedication to her.

“Betty has expressed her happiness about being included in the book,” Powelson said, “but she did not want to be singled out, as the cookbook was the work of the committee.

“The cookbook has been a labor of love.”

The committee started work in the summer of 2010 with members bringing their own expertise to the varied tasks involved in updating the 378 page cookbook.

Theresa Sneed works in the kitchen with Davis and is elated by the work the committee members voluntarily gave to compiling and publishing the cookbook.

Sneed was in charge of the Main Dishes chapter of the book; her responsibilities included organizing, alphabetizing and proofreading all tantalizing recipes.

“I’m excited,” Sneed said. “I think it’s  beautifully done and hope everyone is as happy as we are about the cookbook.”

Powelson was excited to see the women, who range in age from the early 20s to 90 years old, come together as a inter-generational team and learn from one another.

“We were able to understand the importance of wisdom in the older women and the energy of the younger women to help us grow in our faith,” Powelson said. “Everyone has their gifts and talent in compiling the book together, to graphic design, proofing the pages and writing the dedication to Betty (Davis).

“I’m so happy and excited to see people with our wonderful project.”

The official launch of the book will take place Sunday at FUMC, during a potluck lunch that will follow the Sunday worship service.

Following the official launch, the book will be available from the FUMC office, online through and at several local businesses. Those businesses include The Antique Marketplace, R&S Drug Store No. 1, Rice Optical, The Total Look, Distinctive-Decor, Dear Friends and Honey Pies in the Comanche Pharmacy.