Anniversary Edition for a New Era: Mennonite Community Cookbook

Mennonite Community Cookbook is celebrating 65 years of publication this year—with a special anniversary edition!

It has had an amazing ride and we hope it will be around for another good long life—in whatever form humans use to help with cooking in the future. The Internet, cable TV cooking shows, blogs, online videos and apps have only exploded the number of ways that people seek some sort of help to concoct and enjoy home cooked (in whole or in part) meals, snacks, desserts, lunches, and brunches!

MennoniteCommunityCookbook_2015coverThe new edition of Mennonite Community Cookbook has:

  • –A brighter cover – same charming Fraktur artwork, just refreshed to be bolder and not cut off at the edges
  • –A 12-page historical section with fascinating facts, stories and photos you likely have never seen or read before
  • –New food photography to entice new generations to immerse themselves in some legacy Mennonite cooking


We’re rolling out this edition with a new dedicated blog, which we hope will change how people talk about, use, share and find community around this great old/new cookbook. There are related contest themes you can enter (two new contests each month) and new winners announced every week—with the winner choosing from among several cookbooks to claim for the participant prize!

It has been my privilege this past year to manage the relaunch of this bestselling masterwork by Mary Emma Showalter Eby.  We want everyone to learn how she was much more than a great cook and home economics professor, with the vision and chutzpa to pull together the first ever, widely published Mennonite cookbook.

A 20-something might say, uh, this is just a cookbook, isn’t it? True, but so much more.


Mary Emma Showalter at an early age.

Many people have quite emotional attachments to this book, I have learned, including myself. It is part of Mennonite history for many. We want to explore all that, and I’ll tell my own story one of these days. Earlier, the food stylist for this new edition, Cherise Harper, shared her feelings  here about being involved in this project. Edith Shenk Kuhns and others shared some responses to that blog post here, and we’ll be inviting some to tell more in the future on our new blog for the cookbook. And if this kind of cooking is not part of your cultural or faith heritage, we want to explore the intersections of this book with the great cooking from different cultures and ethnicities that Mennonites are about today!

Meanwhile, help spread the word by sharing this blog post, posting on Facebook, or wherever you love to share fun news.

First contest: In celebration of the birthday of Anabaptism (January 21, 1525), Herald Press is holding the first contest in this year long effort! Take a photo of an old copy of Mennonite Community Cookbook—any condition! Dig out your copy, your mother’s, or grandmother’s, and post a photo on any of these Mennonite Community Cookbook venues: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest using the hashtag #mennocooking.


The deadline for this contest: Jan. 15, 2015, with the winner announced January 16! We want to see all the wonderfully antique and savored copies of this beloved book that are floating around on bookshelves, in kitchens, libraries, attics!

And take a peek at upcoming contests:

–Photo of your favorite recipe from the cookbook
–Love story related to the cookbook. Who gave your mother or grandmother hers? Is there a story?
–Donut recipe from the cookbook–and more


No Mennonite Community Cookbook? Buy the original version here while copies last or pre-order the 65th anniversary addition at 25% off here! (Discount will show up in cart.)


The contest will give you an opportunity (drawn from entries received) to get YOUR CHOICE of one of these popular cookbooks, each a $20-$30 value! Simply in Season, More with Less, Extending the Table, Mennonite Girls Can Cook Celebrations, OR Saving the Seasons. Our goal is to get you cooking, sharing and talking about Mennonite Community Cookbook and all the many fine books for sharing food and faith from Herald Press!

Melodie Davis
Managing editor





6 thoughts on “Anniversary Edition for a New Era: Mennonite Community Cookbook

  1. Just recently I went through my cookbook collection and gave a bunch away. After reading your blog I wondered if I had given that one away. To my relief I hadn’t. That’s because there’s a story connected to it and I kept it for sentimental reasons as well as for the fact that it’s a great cookbook. Maybe I’ll take the opportunity to tell the story in one of your upcoming contests!

    • Elfrieda, so glad you didn’t give Mennonite Community Cookbook away, although we all have to thin down our cookbook collections from time to time, eh? We will be eager to hear your story. I’m sure it will fit one of the upcoming sharing opportunities we are calling contests. 🙂 My mother was thinning out her collection too, and actually still has a newer copy that she received later, but I was thrilled to have her old 1951 copyrighted one–especially since she received it the year I was born.

  2. I was given a Mennonite Community cookbook for a wedding gift,September 1949. After 50 years of hard use some of the pages were literally falling apart. I replaced it with a copy from a deceased friend’s kitchen. After Mary Emma was in skilled nursing at V.M.R.C.,she had a special book signing. She signed my new book. I lived next door to Mary Emma and we were good friends. The special recipe I recommend,Basic Rolls. I have made countless dinner rolls and cinnamon buns using this recipe. Today I use one cup of wheat flour instead of all white. Thank you Mary Emma for your gift to Mennonite and many other cooks. Your friend Doris

    • Love your story, Doris and how you got Mary Emma to sign your new copy. We’re very curious as to when you lived next to Mary Emma. In Park View? If you are still around Harrisonburg, we’d love to come talk to you about your friendship! Maybe grab a photo of you with your signed copy. Thanks for adding your comment.

  3. Melodie,I lived in Park View on Dogwood Drive when Mary Emma was my neighbor. I now live in Park Gables,V.M.R.C. Community. I would welcome you to come chat with me about Mary Emma. She was a dear friend and I cherish my memories of her. Doris

    • Great! I will be in touch! Thanks for letting me know. I’ve enjoyed conversations with Doris Bomberger about Mary Emma and their long friendship too. I’ve been to that house now on Dogwood Drive.

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