A BRIEF HISTORY OF OUR CHURCH FOODS, POTLUCKS
by Nan Paget
For many years our San Francisco church has been well known for its coffee hour food. I remember our member Jeannie Allen, a Scotswoman who held the position of cook for a well-to-do Pacific Heights family. When she was praised for her delicious pastries, she would say modestly, "That's ma wurrrrk." This fits well with the Swedenborgian emphasis on uses.
During the 60's and early 70's, we often held Thursday night suppers before choir practice, mainly prepared by our choir director, Miss Jane Sugden.
In about 1991, Phyllis Bosley and I decided to create a potluck lunch on the last Sunday in January, close to Swedenborg's birthday on Jan. 29. While it was officially termed the Swedenborg's Birthday Lunch, we also called it the
Swedenborg Smorgasbord. People brought much wonderful food. It didn't have to be Swedish.
A few years later, we instituted the Cinco de Mayo lunch, on the first Sunday in May. People were invited to bring their favorite ethnic food, and wear ethnic costumes. Our choir tenor Thais always had great costumes as well as food.
Many years, though not always, we hold a third potluck in late August or September, termed the Johnny Appleseed Harvest Potluck. Members with fruit trees were invited to bring dishes created with their harvest. Sometimes we open by singing Johnny Appleseed's Grace.
In 1994 we decided to create a church cookbook in time for our San Francisco centennial in July of 1995. Many current members contributed their favorite recipes, as well as those from previous members. The foreword says,
"Today, while we recognize California has its faults, we still enjoy the freedom and abundance, and we still reach out to those seeking spiritual growth and the good life-- the "wider feast" mentioned in a Swedenborgian hymn. We hope you will find these ideals reflected in this book, containing recipes from many heritages... Some reflect the simplicity of those who cook from the garden or whose busy life requires easy dishes; others are more elaborate and echo our Sunday potluck lunches where all are invited to sit down with us."
The cookbook, Food for Thought, is still available in our book area.