Originally there were three Lutheran churches in my hometown of Grove City, Minnesota, a town of just over 500 people. There was-First Lutheran (Swedes) , Emmanuel Lutheran (Norwegians) and Arndahl Lutheran (South of towners).
As a rule our church did not associate with the other two Lutheran Churches. Emmanual because they were Norwegians and Arndahl because they were south of towners and may have been Norwegian. According to my dad, no one from north of town knew what to expect from folks who lived south of town or Norwegians so it was best just to leave them be. Therefore, we were to take an example from the animals in Noah’s ark and stick with our own kind. In all seriousness, this was all done in good fun as should any family need assistance all of us neighbors showed up regardless of church or any other affiliation. The care of neighbors was the strength of our small town.
First Lutheran, my home church, was the biggest congregation with the most beautiful church building. The structure was red brick with a huge steeple and bell tower. The very large stained glass windows were imported from Germany. The Biblical scenes depicted in those windows are vivid sapphire blue, emerald green, ruby red and royal purple. When the sun was rising or setting, its light filtered through those windows and as a child I always felt that they illuminated the sanctuary with God’s colorful and mysterious presence. On Sunday mornings the chimes from our church could be heard throughout the town.
Both of my great grandfathers, Ole Kronbeck and Ole Larson, were on the original board that founded First Lutheran Church well over century ago. Yes, I am so very Swedish and I have many great memories of growing up in that church that my ancestors founded.
I remember all the fun of playing “Hide and Go Seek”; “Red, Red, Rover”; “Captain May I”; “Simon Says”; “Duck, Duck Grey Duck” and “Any, Any over” in the cemetery during Vacation Bible School. Getting yelled at by the “old ladies” for stepping on the graves. I can still vividly picture the ice cream socials and church picnics with their extensive potluck buffets complete with homemade ice cream churned at our town’s creamery. Easter breakfast traditions such as “fruit soup” to keep everyone “regular” and the caramel rolls made by the lady that ran the corner cafe.
Then, too, there were all of the Christmas programs with assigned memory verses. Those programs always ended with the congregation singing “Joy to the World” and us children being gifted with bags of peanuts and hard candies for treats.
I can still picture the carved wooded altar with Christ in the center with his outstretched welcoming hands. I also remember the Sunday I got caught playing cards in the balcony and the pastor, from the pulpit during his sermon, told me to hold my cards lower. Or the time I had my acolyte wick too long and it broke off and started the carpet on fire. I just stomped it out, but not before my uncle saw what had happened.
As with many small towns in America, our town began to shrink several decades ago and the churches found that their pews were no longer being filled on Sunday mornings. So the three Lutheran Churches merged into one and it was named Trinity Lutheran. This consolidated flock meets in the First Lutheran Church, my home church.
Once united, the women of this new congregation published a cookbook. This cookbook is the premiere collection of my hometown’s best recipes.
This recipe comes from the home of Lucille Sundahl. Her husband Palmer owned the grain elevator right across the road from the church. Lucille’s Lemon–Blueberry Muffins are the lightest muffin I have ever tasted and definitely one of the best. Enjoy!
Lemon–Blueberry Tea Muffins
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease muffin tins or line muffin tins with paper cupcake cups.
In a medium sized mixing bowl. Stir dry ingredients together.
2 cups unsifted flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
In a large mixing bowl beat together until fluffy:
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
4 egg yolks and beat until light (Save the egg whites for later)
Gradually stir in alternately with dry ingredients:
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
Do not over mix.
In a medium-sized glass or metal mixing bowl:
beat four egg whites until stiff and hold a peak
1/3 of egg whites into lemon mixture, then fold in remaining egg whites.
Gently fold in:
1 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries.
Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Sprinkle tops of muffins with granulated sugar. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean.
Yield: Makes 18 muffins