Usually, church dinners revolve around community, not cuisine. Visitors expect hearty, home-style dishes such as spaghetti and meatballs, chicken and biscuits or fried fish. But at the spring supper at Burlington's St. Paul's Cathedral this Friday, a few of the recipes have a special claim to culinary fame: They come from the oldest continually published church cookbook in the United States.
The tome, Out of Vermont Kitchens, was first printed in 1939. Editions have been released every few years. "Women submitted their handwritten recipes in their best handwriting, and that's how they're printed. It's all hand-illustrated," explains Church Administrator Sarah Gallagher. "It's really neat." In 1990, church members put out a second volume, Vermont Kitchens Revisited. The newer book is typeset, with illustrations by Vermont artist Margaret Parlour.
The newest versions of both are available at local bookstores and at St. Paul's. Are you a collector? Older copies of both cookbooks can sometimes be found at used-book stores.
Tasty offerings at the dinner will include sesame chicken with lemon sauce, greens with maple balsamic dressing and pineapple cake with ginger frosting.
The meal costs $10 for adults and $6 for children under 12. Seatings are at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. A children's menu is offered at the early seating. The second features "special music." Call for reservations at 864-0471.