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!