Mary Newell Pape

This is a sweeter version of the Cucumber Salad I grew up with and it is really refreshing and easy to make.

4 Cucumbers, thinly sliced

1 small Onion, thinly sliced

1 cup White Vinegar

1/2 cup Water

3/4 cup Sugar

3 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped or 1 Tbsp dried dill, or to taste

Toss together the cucumbers and onion in a large bowl. Combine the vinegar, water and sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, and pour over the cucumber and onions. Stir in dill. Place in a zip-lock baggie and remove as much air a possible before sealing.

Refrigerate a couple hours until cold. Pour contents into a bowl and serve using a slotted spoon. This can also be eaten at room temperature, but be sure to allow the cucumbers to marinate for at least 1 hour.


Prune Cake


Mary Newell Pape

Larry’s cousin, Roger Beavers, told me that his mother, Jacqueline, used to make a wonderful Prune Cake and he hadn’t had one in a long time. I found this recipe and I hope it is like the one he remembers.

Jodi, Sheila and Roger Beavers

1 cup Oil

3 Eggs

1 1/2 cups Sugar

2 cups All-Purpose Flour

1 tsp Baking Soda

1 tsp Salt

1 tsp ground Allspice

1 tsp ground Cinnamon

1 tsp ground Nutmeg

1 cup Buttermilk

1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup Prunes, pitted and chopped

1 1/2 cups Pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour Bundt or tube pan or 2 8-inch cake pans.

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, soda, salt, allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine oil, eggs and 1 1/2 cup sugar. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed. Add flour mixture, alternating with 1 cup buttermilk, starting and ending with dry ingredients. beat well after each addition. Stir in prunes, pecans and 1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla. Pour into the pan(s).

For the bundt or tube pan, bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center.

For the 8-inch cake pans, bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center.

When cake is almost finished baking, make the topping.


3/4 cup Butter

3/4 cup Buttermilk

1 1/2 tsp Dark Corn Syrup

1 1/2 cups Sugar

2 tsp Vanilla

In saucepan, over medium heat, cook butter, buttermilk, corn syrup and sugar until sugar and butter melt. Remove from heat and add vanilla and stir.

Make large, deep holes in hot cake pour topping in holes and on top of cake a little at a time, giving it time to soak in.

Cabbage Rolls


Mary Newell Pape

This a recipe I used love to eat when I was growing up. This one is from the Pisgah United Methodist Church Cookbook, Pisgah, VA established 1793:

12 large Cabbage leaves

1 ¼ lb Ground Beef

2 tsp Salt

½ tsp Pepper

1 cup cooked Rice (Minute Rice works well)

1 small Onion, chopped

1 Egg

½ tsp dried Thyme or Poultry Seasoning

2 Tbsp Oil

15-oz can Tomato Sauce

1 tsp Brown Sugar

¼ cup Water

1 Tbsp Vinegar or Lemon Juice

Cover cabbage leaves with boiling water and let stand 5 minutes; drain.

Combine the next 7 ingredients (through the Thyme or Poultry Seasoning). Place a cabbage leaf on a flat surface and spoon on enough filling so that you can roll the leaf into a cylinder – like an enchilada. Use a toothpick to hold it together if necessary. Fill the remaining 11 leaves.

Heat the oil in a skillet and brown all the rolls. Combine the tomato sauce, brown sugar, water and vinegar or lemon juice and pour over the cabbage rolls. Simmer for 1 hour.

Company Salad


Mary Newell Pape

This is a recipe from the Pisgah United Methodist Church Cookbook, Pisgah, VA established 1793:

3-oz pkg Jello – lemon works well

1 ½ cups Boiling Water

1 ½ cups Miniature Marshmallows

20-oz can Crushed Pineapple

3 Bananas, sliced

½ cup Sugar

1 ½ Tbsp All-Purpose Flour

1 Egg, slightly beaten

½ pint Whipping Cream, whipped or Cool Whip

½ cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated

Dissolve Jello in boiling water; add marshmallows, stirring until melted. Drain pineapple, reserving juice. Stir pineapple and bananas into gelatin mixture.

Spoon into and 11”x9” glass dish. Refrigerate until firm.

Combine reserved pineapple juice, sugar, flour and egg in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until thickened. Cool.

Fold in whipped cream or Cool Whip; spoon over Jello mixture. Top with cheese. Chill.

Cut into squares to serve. Yields 8-10 servings.

Peanut Butter Fudge


Mary Newell Pape

At the recent family reunion, I had the best old-timey Peanut Butter Fudge that everyone went crazy over. Here is Janice Fields’ recipe from the Pisgah United Methodist Church Cookbook, Pisgah, VA established 1793:

1 1/2 cups Carnation Evaporated Milk
4 cups Sugar
1/2 cup Margarine or Butter (1 stick)
4 Tbsp Cocoa
12-oz jar Marshmallow Cream
1 tsp Vanilla
12-oz jar Peanut Butter
1 cup Chopped Nuts (optional)

Butter the sides and bottom of a 9″X13″ pan.

Mix the evaporated milk, sugar, butter and cocoa in a saucepan over medium heat and cook until it forms a soft ball when you drop a little into a glass of water.

In a large bowl, thoroughly mix all the rest of the ingredients together. Add the boiled mixture to this and mix thoroughly, but quickly. Pour into the pan and let cool. Cut into squares.

Scripture Cake and Burnt Jeremiah Syrup


Mary Newell Pape

This is a recipe that can be found on and is a divine dessert inspired by ingredients found in the Bible.

Scripture Cake Ingredients:

1 cup Judges 5:25 last clause (butter)

1 cup Jeremiah 6:20 (sugar)

1 tablespoon I Samuel 14:25 (honey)

3 Jeremiah 17:11 (eggs)

1 cup I Samuel 30:12 second food (raisins)

1 cup Nahum 3:12 (figs), chopped

1/4 cup Numbers 17:8 (almonds), lightly toasted and chopped

2 cups 1 Kings 4:22 (flour)

1 teaspoon Amos 4:5 (leavening, such as baking soda)

3 tablespoons Judges 4:19 last sentence (milk)

Pinch of Leviticus 2:13 (salt)

II Chronicles 9:9 (spices, such as cinnamon and nutmeg)


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Cream Judges (butter), Jeremiah (sugar), and I Samuel (honey).  Beat in the 3 Jeremiahs (eggs), one at a time. Add I Samuel (raisins), Nahum (figs), and Numbers (almonds), and beat again. Sift together I Kings (flour), II Chronicles (spices), Leviticus (salt), and Amos (leavener, or baking soda). Add to first mixture. Lastly, add Judges (milk).  Bake at 325F for 1 and 1/2 hours, or until done.

Burnt Jeremiah Syrup Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups Jeremiah 6:20 (sugar)

1/2 cup Genesis 24:45 (water

1/4 cup Genesis 18:8 (butter)


In a 2-quart saucepan over low heat, melt sugar, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. After sugar melts, continue cooking, stirring continuously, until it is a deep golden brown. Add water and cook, stirring frequently, until smooth. Remove from the heat, add butter and stir till until it melts; allow to cool.

Drizzle over cooled scripture cake and garnish with whole almonds.

Milchreis – German-Style Sweet Rice


Mary Newell Pape

My mother-in-law, Evie Beavers Pape,  learned how to make this from her mother-in-law who lived in New Berlin, Texas and who was a 2nd generation American of German descent. Her sister-in-law, Lola Pape
Dauer, made it often, too, and it was served as a side dish. It was always served with cinnamon on top.

Milchreis is a German rice pudding made by cooking short grain rice on the stove top in milk with sugar and vanilla. German Milchreis is often served as a sweet main dish with fruit or compote, or simply with sugar and cinnamon on top.

Serves 4

1 c. short grain white rice (long grain white rice or brown rice won’t get creamy)

1/4 c. sugar

4 c. milk (or 3 c. milk plus 1 c. cream)

1/8 tsp. salt

2 inch piece of vanilla bean, split open (or 1 tsp. vanilla extract)

Mix the rice, sugar and salt in a large saucepan, stir in the milk and add the whole piece of vanilla bean. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat and simmer the rice for 30 minutes, or until soft and milk becomes thick. Stir often. Scratch out vanilla seeds and stir into pudding. Discard bean.

Serve warm with cinnamon and sugar or fruit compote or both.



Hi There!

I’m starting this blog for the descendants of John Henry Sparks, Jr. and Lucinda Asbury and their friends to post recipes – especially old fashioned recipes from the past. The picture is of Kirk and Victoria (Shrader) Spark’s children who were Herbert (Hub), Mamie, Bess, Sallie, Mary, Nellie, Elsie, Mable and Lonnie.

I’d love for you to email recipes from your mother, grandmother, great grandmother, etc. to cssceo along with your picture so that I can post them on this site. And, I’m very interested in collecting recipes of food that is shared at the annual Sparks Family Reunion in Tazewell, VA.


Mary Newell Pape (Larry’s wife – Larry is the son of Evie Beavers and the grandson of Mamie Sparks Beavers Eslick)