Country Kitchen: A Heritage of Bake Sales

Country Kitchen: A Heritage of Bake Sales

By Mary Emma Allen

Americans generally are familiar with bake sales as a method of raising funds for an organization or a cause. I recently discovered they are popular in Great Britain as well, sometimes organized by a group or used as a way for individual homemakers to earn pin money.

Most of us recall bake sales from childhood as well as in our adult years. Perhaps we've been involved in furnishing baked goods, helping organize and sell, or simply purchasing the homemade goodies.

Cookbooks also have been written with recipes from baked sales or with suggestions for recipes to make that sell well. (I've always found that Brownies and Chocolate Chip Cookies are high on the list of popular bake sale goodies.)

A cookbook recommended to me for recipes and recipe histories is "The Bake Sale Cookbook" by Sally Sampson.

Bake Sales of Memory

I recall the ladies of the local church in our small town conducting bake sales at the Town Hall on Election Day, at the church's annual Rummage Sale, or Turkey Dinner. Although in those days, homemakers provided their families with more homemade goodies than "store bought" ones, it was still a treat when Mother purchased something at the bake sale she didn't ordinarily make.

Also, at these bake sales, you often could purchase one or two cookies, a piece of cake or pie, to eat with coffee, tea or lemonade while waiting to vote or afterwards while chatting with people you met. This was a good way to keep children occupied who may have accompanied you to voting or the rummage sale.

Youngsters' Bake Sales

Organizations like the Girl Scouts and 4-H groups may hold bake sales to raise money for their projects. My daughter's and granddaughter's Brownie and Girl Scout troops often participated in bake sales, either on their own or in combination with an adult one. These might be in front of the local supermarket or another store where there is high traffic of people coming and going.

When I was a 4-H member, our leader coordinated bake sales. This gave us an opportunity make those recipes we'd learned in our cooking classes and ask adults to contribute, too.

Bake Sale Variations

When our local library holds its annual book sale, I discovered an array of goodies to eat on the spot or buy to take home. This definitely caught the attention of my grandson who accompanied me.

At craft fairs and quilt shows you'll often find a refreshment area where members have furnished food you can purchase to take home or eat while you chat with friends. When the PTA at the local school holds events, there may be a food table.

HERMITS - an old-fashioned recipe, perhaps used for bake sales in past years. Try some for your next bake sale. These can be cut into bars and sold individually.

Cover 2 cups raisins with cold water and simmer 15 minutes; drain and let cool. Cream 1 1/2 cups sugar with 1/2 cup margarine. Stir in 2 eggs, one at a time.

Sift together 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon cloves, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg; add to creamed mixture.

Stir in raisins and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts.

Pour into greased and floured 13 x 9-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 30 minutes. Cool and cut into squares.

(C) 2003 Mary Emma Allen

About the Author

Mary Emma Allen has been writing her "Cooking Column" for newspapers and online publications for 30 years and has compiled a family cookbook. SheÂ’s currently compiling a cookbook/story book, "Tales From a Country Kitchen." Visit her web site for more cooking articles. Contact her at

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