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Recipes & Wooden Spoons (Tales from Grace…
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Recipes & Wooden Spoons (Tales from Grace Chapel Inn, Book 2)

by Judy Baer

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Recipes and Wooden Spoons, the third Tales From Grace Chapel Inn book, was my introduction to the series. Grace Chapel Inn is a lovely restored Victorian owned by the three Howard sisters, whose childhood home it was. Their late father was the pastor for nearby Grace Chapel. The setting is the charming fictional village of Acorn Hill, Pennsylvania. Acorn Hill is the sort of place where the inhabitants lock their doors only in August and only to prevent finding gifts of zucchini, tomatoes, or apples left on their kitchen tables.

The youngest sister, Jane, is the main focus of this entry. A star chef, Jane has returned from California divorced from her husband, an excellent chef in his own right. (Justin had become envious of his wife's greater talent. See chapter 5 for his reaction.) Jane's other talents are painting and jewelry making. Louise, the eldest sister, is a widow with grown daughter. She was a concert pianist, but now teaches piano. The middle sister, Alice, is the one who never married or left home. She's a nurse.

Their mother, Madeleine, died an hour after Jane was born. Jane wishes both that she knew more about her mother and that her sisters would remember she's long since stopped being the baby they helped rear. My heart ached for Jane as she searches the cellar, remembering how her paternal Aunt Ethel had thrown out Madeleine's last home-canned fruits and vegetables when she discovered 10-year-old Jane liked to stare at them. (She thought Jane was being morbid.) Jane considered them another piece of her mother gone.

Jane happens to find her mother's recipe book, full of Madeleine's notes. (We get to read some of those notes.) As Jane tries out the recipes, they prompt memories in her sisters, their bossy Aunt Ethel, and other locals who knew Madeleine. I loved the story of the 'Alice in Wonderland' party held when Alice and Louise were little -- especially Aunt Ethel's costume.

I also loved the description of the wares in Fred's Hardware. I don't know if the tiny animal-shaped cookie cutters Jane buys in chapter five were really originally meant for making animal crackers. I had a set made of red-tinted metal when I was a little girl. (I burned my first batch of cookies.)

This book is not without its conflicts, especially between Jane and Louise/Aunt Ethel, but for the most part it's gentle, filled with anecdotes about a loving family, the inhabitants of their village, and their relationship with their loving God. There are also stories about newcomers and their problems that need solving. The New International Version and the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, as well as Benjamin Franklin get quoted. Jane let her religion fade from her daily life while she was in San Francisco, California, but she's rediscovering it now.

NOTES:

Jane Eyre is mentioned in chapter four.

The White Shoulders perfume Aunt Ethel is wearing in chapter 8 is real and still available.

The Hymn, 'Faith of Our Fathers' is quoted in chapter 9.

Wonder Woman is mentioned in chapter 9.

Chapter one includes an old recipe for controlling bed bugs. There are food recipes throughout the book. There's no index to them, so I created one:

Apple Cinnamon Slices (Pan Glazed), p. 41
Cake, Flourless Chocolate Espresso, with Chocolate Leaves, p. 246
Chocolate Leaves, p. 247
Frittata, Jane's, p. 127
Lemon Curd, pp. 204-205
Lemon Drops (cookies), p. 183
Lemon Frosting, pp. 183-184
Pancake, German, pp. 40-41
Pancakes, Swedish, pp. 228-229
Pancakes, Very Good pp. 125-126
Porcupines, pp. 149-150
Rice Pudding, pp. 18-19
Scones, Tea, p. 55
Truffles, Madeleine's, pp. 235-236
Waffles, Chocolate, p. 102

Cat lovers: The Howard sisters kept their father's cat, a giant tabby named Wendell. ( )
  JalenV | Dec 4, 2016 |
While cleaning out the cluttered basement of Grace Chapel Inn, Jane Howard finds an old cookbook brimming with her mother's recipes and handwritten notes. Jane has always been hungry for details about her mother, Madeleine, who died while giving birth to Jane. Through the precious, fragile pages of the recipe book, Jane comes to discover the spirit of the mother she never had the chance to know. And she comes to better understand her relationship with her two older sisters.
But when the inn gets busy and money troubles threaten, Jane wonders if moving back to Acorn Hill was a big mistake. Her crisis of faith leads to new questions and solutions for the inn--and for Jane herself.
  mrsdanaalbasha | Mar 12, 2016 |
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This book is lovingly and gratefully dedicated to the One Who guided me here.
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They had all been avoiding the basement.
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[Jane and Pastor Thompson have been talking quietly]

'You are my fresh perspective, Jane.'

'You have permission to call the next time the board decides to volunteer the church facility for a weekend seminar on 'The Diligent Church Board Member' without checking to see if you have any weddings scheduled.'

He winced. 'So it's all over town then?'

'You did the right thing, rescheduling the seminar. Even my father would have picked hand-to-paw combat with a mountain lion rather than tussle it out with the mothers of the bride and groom. (chapter 8)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0824947010, Paperback)

Once you visit the charming village of Acorn Hill, you'll never want to leave. Here, the three Howard sisters rekindle old memories, rediscover the bonds of sisterhood, revel in the blessings of friendship, and meet many fascinating guests along the way. While cleaning out the cluttered basement of Grace Chapel Inn, Jane Howard finds an old cookbook brimming with her mother's recipes and hand written notes. Through these precious, fragile pages of the recipe book, Jane comes to discover the spirit of her mother, Madeleine, who died while giving birth to Jane. But when the inn gets busy and money troubles threaten, Jane wonders if moving back to Acorn Hill was a big mistake. Can her crisis of faith lead to a new solution for the inn - and for Jane herself?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:04 -0400)

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While cleaning out the cluttered basement of Grace Chapel Inn, Jane Howard finds an old cookbook brimming with her mother's recipes and handwritten notes. Through these precious, fragile pages, Jane comes to discover the spirit of her mother, Madeleine, who died while giving birth to Jane.… (more)

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