Herald Press and Blue Gate Musicals Team Up to Produce Mennonite Girls Can Cook Show

Press Release – January 29, 2016






NASHVILLE, TN, January 27, 2016: Herald Press, the publisher of the bestselling MGCC_BlueGateComedycookbooks, Mennonite Girls Can Cook and Mennonite Girls Can Cook Celebrations, and Blue Gate Musicals, the producers of five hit Broadway-style musicals from Amish Country, have teamed up to produce the all-new one-act comedy, MENNONITE GIRLS CAN COOK!

Herald Press collaborated with 10 Mennonite women in 2011 after they had garnered over 1 million followers on their blog, www.MennoniteGirlsCanCook.ca, to produce the bestselling cookbooks Mennonite Girls Can Cook and Mennonite Girls Can Cook Celebrations. The women (seven from British Columbia, two from Manitoba, one from Washington) share recipes and their faith to inspire hospitality, while donating all royalties from their books to help needy people around the world.

Blue Gate Musicals, (BGM) was formed in 2010 to create original, heartwarming, and entertaining musicals, which includes hugely successful Broadway-style musicals: The ConfessionHalf-StitchedJosiah for President, and Our Christmas Dinner, with a brand new musical opening in April 2016, The Home Game.

Dan Posthuma, president and producer of Blue Gate Musicals, notes, “The authors of the popular Mennonite Girls Can Cook series have captured the hearts (and appetites) of many thousands of people with their stories of family, memories of mealtime, and testimonies of faith—including accounts of their parents and grandparents escaping religious persecution in Russia with nothing but ‘the shirts on their backs, and recipes in their heads.’ Blue Gate Musicals is pleased to take a bit of a different twist on these well-loved books, and bring them to our theaters in a fun, inspirational, and entertaining stage presentation.”

Martha Bolton, scriptwriter, notes, “I am so excited to be working on this fun project! The Mennonite Girls Can Cook brand has already taken Canada by storm, and now we get to bring them to the Blue Gate stage for this brand new, laughter-filled show that we hope will have theater-goers coming back for seconds!”

Mennonite Girls Can Cook, a comedy in one act, is full of excitement, confusion, and just plain frantic fun when a small town cable TV cooking show, hosted by two Mennonite women, attracts the attention of a Hollywood producer. “It’s an ideal recipe for hilarity, as these lovely ladies gear up for the ‘Big Time,’” says Producer Dan Posthuma. “This brand new one-act play mixes faith, food, and friendship into a comedy that really sizzles!”


For general information, visit: www.bluegatemusicals.com or HeraldPress.com

Click here to buy Mennonite Girls Can Cook and here for Celebrations.

Information on shows and to buy tickets:

For Shipshewana, Ind. (SEPTEMBER 13-OCTOBER 15, 2016)

For Sugarcreek, Ohio. (SEPTEMBER 13-NOVEMBER 4, 2016)




How MennoMedia brings an Anabaptist perspective to the larger culture

By Steve Carpenter

Happy New Year!

2013 was an exciting year at MennoMedia. We released 17 new products including:  Blush, (Shirley Hershey Showalter’s memoir on growing up Mennonite); Mennonite Girls Can Cook Celebrations; Sacred Pauses, Fifty Shades of Grace, For God and Country [In that Order], and many Bible study and Sunday school resources specifically designed to aid the local church in its important faith formation ministry.

MennoBytesBlogPostBuilding 010We at MennoMedia recognize we are not simply a book publisher but rather we are a ministry of the Mennonite Church in the US and Canada. As such, we seek to provide rich content (websites, social media, DVDs, CDs, ebooks) which can strengthen the ministry of the local church while reaching out beyond the church to bring our Anabaptist perspective to others. In short MennoMedia’s mission is “…to engage and shape church and society with resources for living the Christian faith from an Anabaptist perspective.”MennoBytesBlogPostBuilding 008

Following on the success of Mennonite Girls Can Cook, which was a bestseller in Canada, we released the second cookbook in the series, Mennonite Girls Can Cook Celebrations (MGCCC), which focuses less on day to day food preparation but on fancy dishes for special occasions.

PortzelOur cookbooks are not just about food. Rather they are about the intersection of faith and food. Like the hugely successful More with Less Cookbook before it, MGCCC includes much spiritual content. It takes the form of “Bread for the Journey” segments which include scripture quotes, spiritually uplifting advice and faith stories. The book is also absolutely beautiful with photos of not only the food, but flowers, fields, feasts and forests. When I give it to MennoMedia donors whom I am visiting, I frequently tell them, “You don’t have to cook anything in this book to enjoy it. Just set it on your coffee table and it will bless everyone who picks it up.”

IMG_3021Much work has also gone into preparing for a new Anabaptist Sunday school curriculum for children, to follow the Gather `Round curriculum. Writers, illustrators, project managers, editors and others have been working diligently to make Shine – Living in God’s Light a reality. These materials will be available in the fall of 2014 thanks to much hard work and the generous support of churches and donors like you. To date we have raised more than $250,000 of the $400,000 needed in seed funds to bring Shine to fruition. Thank you for your support!

We anticipate an overhaul of the Third Way Cafe website which for more than 15 years has been a popular site offering information on Mennonite/Anabaptist beliefs to the larger culture. We obtained a significant grant and gifts earmarked for electronic/social media ministry which will help us relaunch the site for greater effectiveness especially for mobile users.

ThirdWayCafeFBPageLooking forward to the coming year, we are very much aware of the significant challenges we face at MennoMedia. But, I am also excited about the many opportunities we have as well. With God’s help and your support, through both patronage and donations, we will continue to serve the needs of our Mennonite constituents and beyond, and foster a deeper faith for us all.

Thank you again for all you do for Christ and the church.

Wishing you a very Happy New Year!

Steve Carpenter

Steve C 2012

Director of Development

When Road Scholars make homemade noodles: Mennonite cookbook heritage

Shirley Hershey Showalter wrote in her recently published memoir, Blush, “Almost every culture and religion uses food to support its most cherished values.” MennoMedia believes that strongly.

Do you think about how your values are conveyed in what you grow, cook, buy, eat and share?

For 1 1/2 days in September, I was invited to speak at Amigo Centre near Sturgis, Michigan on Mennonite cooking. It was the second part of a week-long “Study in Shared Heritage: The Amish and Mennonites,” with 24 participants in the international Road Scholar program (formerly ElderHostel), which combines learning and tourism. They had lectures, looked at videos, visited an Amish home and woodworking shop, and other Amish businesses, and were treated to an Amish “thresher’s” dinner.

None of the participants were Mennonite, but all were interested enough in everything Mennonite that they spent a week learning and absorbing Mennonite and Amish faith and culture. Some of them already owned More with Less Cookbook. Along the way, they were learning what it means to be Anabaptist.

The highlight of my time with these Road Scholars was a session arranged by Mandy Yoder, adult program director at Amigo Centre. She invited a local Amish mother, Maggie, to help the participants learn how to make homemade noodles. So we all got to make our own batch, cut, and dry them—using a beautiful mini-drying rack made for us by an Amish woodworking shop.

AprilMay2013FemoniteBlogEtc 022Maggie is a petite young woman with two toddlers at home—who I think was happy to send them off with her husband for the morning. She seemed to enjoy interacting with us and gave permission for us to photograph the process including herself, as long as she did not pose. She and Mandy (who herself was born into an Amish home) made up a huge batch of homemade noodles for us to enjoy at lunch that day, and then helped us make smaller batches to roll out and take home. There was even one batch of gluten-free noodles for a participant with that allergy.

AugSeptOct2013 081Maggie, center, helping Road Scholar participants manage their dough.

It was a little like 7th or 8th grade home economics all over again (I know, few schools still offer these basic classes), with overgrown “kids” wandering around with their batch of dough asking if they’d added enough flour:

AugSeptOct2013 067Did it need more water?

AugSeptOct2013 070 How long should the noodles dry?

AugSeptOct2013 079Were they dry enough to run through Maggie’s handy dandy noodle cutters? And so on.

AugSeptOct2013 064Will any of us ever make homemade noodles again?

AugSeptOct2013 069I enjoyed learning from better cooks.

Without the roller and cutters, it is daunting. In preparation for this session I made two batches and I’ll have to say Maggie’s recipe was even better than the one I tried. But if economic conditions get really tough, it is nice to know that you can still make food-that-will-stick-to-your-ribs using just flour, water, eggs and a dash of salt! Now, at Amigo Centre, their cooks (mostly Mennonite, some Amish) also whipped up a light gravy laden with roast turkey bits and pieces to put on top of the thinly sliced noodles. It was a dish deserving of Thanksgiving, not the day after. I’m writing for the recipe!  maryEmmaShowalterMennonite Community Cookbook, by Mary Emma Showalter Eby has a recipe for homemade noodles along with various tips and techniques. That cookbook was the very first Mennonite cookbook and appeared in 1950. It has been called by a former editor, “The mother of all Mennonite cookbooks.” Mary Emma Showalter’s classic collection of more than 1100 recipes (now a collector’s item in older versions) is nostalgia, history and great simple fare (in that they don’t use a lot of processed foods available today) all rolled into one. Mary Emma didn’t live out her life in a rural Mennonite community and I think that is important to know. That’s true of the Mennonite ethos associated with most of Herald Press’ cookbooks. Earlier Mary Emma worked as a nutritionist in refugee camps and as a hostess and cook at MCC European headquarters in London. These experiences undoubtedly influenced her world view. The cookbook was part of her master’s thesis and eventually earned a doctorate from Penn State, something not a lot of Mennonite women did in the late 40s. The book continues to sell about 3,500 copies a year.

Mary Emma died in 2003 at the age of 90, and is buried about 4.5 miles from where I live. And speaking of Shirley Showalter, yes, her husband, Stuart Showalter, is a nephew of Mary Emma. ShowalterGravestoneI now have one of Mom’s copies of Mennonite Community Cookbook, which she mended with duct tape before giving it to me. I’m guessing that pretty much ruins the antique value.

FavMennoCookbooks (2) But the sentimental value for these books is what ranks high, signed by my mother with the notation that her husband gave it to her for her 27th birthday in 1951. I was born six months later.

FavMennoCookbooks (4)How do some of our other cookbooks relate to faith?

  • More With Less Cookbook takes seriously Mennonite commitment to applying scriptural principles to eating, advocating the consumption of more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, the moderation of meat and dairy products, and the avoidance of processed and convenience foods. The recipes are intended to be affordable, nutritious, and socially and ecologically responsible.
  • Simply in Season emphasizes eating God’s good foods grown locally and in season whenever possible—either by growing foods yourself, or taking advantage of local farmers’ markets, food cooperatives or subscriptions for buying local produce.
  • Extending the Table adds even more perspective with recipes and hints from all over the world (new edition due out next May).
  • Mennonite Girls Can Cook and Mennonite Girls Can Cook Celebrations revel in community and hospitality—two touchstones of Mennonite/Anabaptist faith.

Shirley Showalter is right that in our households and families, food helps to convey “our most cherished values.”


If you or any group you’re involved with would be interested in one to five sessions on Food and Faith – particularly from a Mennonite heritage perspective, (going much deeper than I have above) please contact me and I’ll see what we can arrange!

Camp Amigo/Amigo Centre is (almost) world-known for its Baked Oatmeal (if the World Wide Web counts.) Seriously, I was surprised to find their famous baked oatmeal at the awesome “Calories Count” website giving a complete nutritional breakdown.