Sweetwater cookbook mixes recipes, local history
Eagle CO, Colorado
EAGLE, Colorado ” The recipes contained in the Sweetwater Community Club’s new cookbook are seasoned with something special: a little bit of history. In fact, the book’s sub-title is “A Collection of Epicurial and Historical Tidbits.”
The colorful publication, features both old and new recipes from the cooks of Sweetwater Creek, one of the few truly rural communities remaining in this fast-growing county. Laced in between the pages of instructions for casseroles, cakes and breads are photos, anecdotal stories and tidbits of information revealing the character of this one-time ranching community.
The cookbook, now available for purchase ($24) at the Nearly Everything Store in Eagle, was produced by the Sweetwater Historical Committee. Cathie Jarnot headed the effort.
It’s a cookbook with a purpose beyond the kitchen. Money raised through book sales will go toward upgrading the much-loved Sweetwater Community House. Originally a one-room schoolhouse, the log structure on the creek is still used for gatherings of the Sweetwater Community Club, a non-profit community organization. The beloved structure, while long the center of community activities, lacks basic amenities, like indoor plumbing.
“We got this wild hair to fix up the schoolhouse. We have big dreams to do real renovations, yet keep it like it is,” explains Hope Kapsner, vice president of the club.
It was Jarnot who stepped up to make the cookbook happen. For the past several months, she pressed the full-time residents of Sweetwater (some 50 to 60 people) for recipes and family histories to contribute. She also spent a considerable amount of time in the historical archives section of the Eagle Public Library.
Her research resulted in keepsake publication. On one page, readers can find a recipe dating back to the 1950s for a Swedish Tea Ring. On a near-by page, there’s a photo of the signature of mountain man John Root, which he scrawled on the wall of a cave near Sweetwater on May 20, 1915. Along with a recipe for Peach Schnapps Cake there’s an anecdotal story about Diamond Jack, the mis-placed Chicago gangster who hid out on Sweetwater in the 1920s.
Not far from Louise Conlin’s Bacon and Raisin Coleslaw recipe is a reproduction of a painting of a fisherman by Paul Gregg, the one-time Denver Post artist who, in the 1940s, owned the Sweetwater Lake Resort. Neighboring a meatloaf recipe is a photograph of Sweetwater’s notable geologic feature: a distinct “fold” into the rock formation a short distance up Sweetwater Road.
The cookbook is also a bow to an earlier, simpler time. Several of the recipes came from the Sweetwater Home Demonstration Club, a ladies community group that was strong in the 1960s. Some tidbits from those days include advice on making a “soap saver,” and a trick for figuring out the age of fresh eggs.
Parts of the book have a sly sense of humor. John Jodrie submitted his late mother’s (Joan Brallier) recipe for home-made-noodles. After instructing the user on how to mix, roll, and cut the dough, the recipe directs the cook to drape the noodles over the back of a chair to dry “if you don’t have a dog in the house.”
For more information, contact Jarnot at 970-524-3619; or stop by the Nearly Everything Store in Eagle and browse through a copy.