It’s no secret amongst my friends and family that my favorite club-and-church cookbooks (also known more popularly as community cookbooks) are the Junior League publications – and with good reason!  These are the crème de la crème of cookbooks,.

Needless to say, my interest was piqued when I first learned about WEST OF THE ROCKIES by the Junior Service League of Grand Junction, Colorado.

And what a cookbook it is! From the beautiful water color cover by Shirley Dickinson to the vast selection of interesting and intriguing recipes, you’ll find this cookbook a must-have for your collection.

In its introduction, the compilers of WEST OF THE ROCKIES provide us with a thumbnail sketch of the life and history of their region…” Exposed rock layers bear evidence of the ancestral Rocky Mountains, numerous advances and retreats of seas, deserts, and dunes, rivers with broad flood plains, lush forests, ancient lakes and lava flows. Dinosaurs once roamed through the ancient forests and today the Grand Valley is known worldwide as a paleontological treasure trove of dinosaur remains…the first prehistoric people are thought to have appeared in the area during the Pleistocene Epoch followed by a series of early Indian peoples. “The old ones” as many Native Americans call them, were believed to have appeared around A.D. 700. They abandoned their fields about A.D. 1200, and, as a cultural group, disappeared into the mists of history. Their legacy to us is the mysterious petroglyphs they painted on the canyon walls…”

What follows is a brief history of the people who came after, from the railroad men to pioneers.  “When early settlers entered the Grand Valley, they saw sage, greasewood and a few trees. Irrigation canals built during the late 1800s and early 1900s turned dry desert portions of the Grand Valley into lush green fields and orchards….”

Today, tourism is one of the most important industries in Western Colorado. “The beautiful canyons o the Colorado National Monument and the scenery and multitude of hunting and fishing opportunities on the Grand Mesa and surrounding areas attract hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. The explosion in popularity of mountain biking, river rafting and the current fascination with dinosaurs, have all combined to make the Grand Valley a favorite vacation destination…”

I love the recipes in WEST OF THE ROCKIES, a kind of collection you aren’t likely to find in most run-of-the-mill cookbooks….it’s this very kind of compiling that makes a Junior League cookbook invaluable to those of us who love to cook and try out new recipes. Who could resist a recipe called Warmed Cranberry Brie? Or Lime Garlic Shrimp with Mango Mint Salsa?

WEST OF THE ROCKIES offers a wonderful selection of soup recipes that I have not seen elsewhere—such as Veggie Southwest Soup, Gourmet spinach Soup and Corn Chowder With Shrimp and Peppers. In fact, there are numerous categories designed to catch the attention of cooks everywhere, with clever names such as ANYTHING’S PASTABLE, WAVES OF GRAIN, FROM STREAMS AND BEYOND, FARMER’S MARKET, CAMPFIRE CAFÉ, THE COOKIE JAR and GRAND FINALE.  I was especially enchanted with THE PANTRY, which provides such mouth-watering recipes as ROSE TREE JAM and NOT YOUR AVERAGE MUSTARD. Look also for unique recipes, such as North African Coriander Bread and Pecan and Red Onion Bread,

WEST OF THE ROCKIES a beautifully compiled spiral-bound cookbook is available at Amazon.com, for $17.95 new and qualifying for free super saver shipping, or 21 pre-owned from $1.45, or new from private vendors from $8.00.  Alibris.com did not have any copies.

However, when I was visiting Amazon.com to provide you with pricing, I discovered there is another newer cookbook from the Junior Service league of Grand Junction and I just ordered a copy.  More on that one at a future date.

To paraphrase the former Duchess of Windsor, Wallace Simpson, you can’t be too rich or too thin – or have too many cookbooks.

Happy cooking and happier cookbook collecting!






  1. I am glad you said that because you have a lot more on the way !

  2. A big boxfull arrived yesterday, Betsy–I laid half a dozen aside to write about on my blog. Was intriduged by cookbooks from cruise ships–I have a little cruise ship story (not one I tooki–Bob & I just got to visit the Amsterdam in 2008 when friends were on the ship & invited us to have lunch on board the ship. (in 2008)–it was a wonderful experience. There were 2 cruise ship cookbooks in that box – I will keep them out to write about when I finish Kitchens West. I am more than halfway through but it is going to be long and divided into parts. Perhaps more than I have attempted previously. I am starting on pioneers & the Oregon trail next… thanks for writing, thanks for the books. lots of goodies! Also saw the book of appetizers by Canadian Jean Pare – her books would also make a good post. xoxo

  3. ps excuse the typing errors. sometimes I don’t see the mistakes until its posted. yikes!

  4. You have 2 more boxes coming in the mail,one should be there on Tues. and the other on Friday. I will send DEARIE, the biography of Julia Child next week.. I loved all 500 pages of it. Don’t worry about the mistakes. I make them too. I am going to have to find my western cookbooks, I’m not sure where they all are. I think you have that problem too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s