Let me introduce you to "An Abundance of Grace," a new cookbook published by the folks at Grace United Methodist Church in Shrewsbury Township.

The book contains 300 recipes that run the gamut from appetizers to desserts; there are some you won't find in just any cookbook, including recipes for hog maw, pickled tongue and schnitz and knepp.

Recipes were submitted by people of all ages from the twenty-somethings to the octogenarians, something committee chairperson Kitty Heidlebaugh set out to accomplish.

"It had to be generational. Recipes only survive if they are passed down to the next generation. Yes, there are changes, but the basic recipe is preserved," she said.

The book covers a broad span of ages and also features recipes for newer cuisine such as "the sophisticated grilled herb salmon," she said.

Heidelbaugh is not new to putting together a cookbook. This is the third she has done, although it is her first with Grace UMC.

"The first two were very Pennsylvania Dutch but this one, while it has some Pennsylvania Dutch recipes, has a lot of different ideas and a wider appeal. There is something for everyone," she said.

At the start, getting people to submit recipes was a bit of a problem, she said.

"Everyone took a back seat until we said 'you know this is important so us, to the church and to the community,' and the recipes started to come in," she said.

Recipes came from near and far and several folks who submitted recipes have since passed away, so the book is a nice memory to them, she said.

All proceeds from book sales will support the church's food pantry ministry, Gifts of Grace, committee member Dorothy Steltzer said.

Gifts of Grace was founded 10 years ago and depends on donations from members of the congregation, several church and community groups and a few local stores, she said.

While this ministry has historically served 50 to 70 individuals each month, the program saw an increase in demand in 2011 and 2012, and currently distributes food twice a month to meet the increasing need. The food pantry is not limited to members of Grace Church; it serves all members of the community who are in need of help, Steltzer said.

People are grateful for the help they receive from the food pantry, as illustrated by the following note. "Thank you to everyone who makes Gifts of Grace possible. My husband and I would not know what to do without your help. God bless. A recipient."

I would also like to include the following quote from "An Abundance of Grace":

"The recipes herein, beyond pleasing the palate, symbolize unity as well. They echo the lives of men and women interlinked, some by a common bloodline, some by their faith in God and all by their desire to serve others.

"A recipe can be a metaphor for life. One must work steadily to perfect it, combining the right ingredients -- love, honesty, faith, commitment and sincerity -- to be sure it will not fail. Above all, one must pass it on to preserve it. It is in the passing to the next generation that life truly continues."

In addition to Heidlebaugh and Steltzer, other committee members were Jan Allen, Julie Allen and Shirley Carbaugh.

Check back later this month for our regular Suburban Life food story, which will feature recipes from "An Abundance of Grace."

Glen Rock resident Barb Krebs is a native of southern York County and writes news items and this monthly column for the Weekly Record.

Buy the book

AN ABUNDANCE OF GRACE, a cookbook published by Grace United Methodist Church, features 300 recipes in a three-ring binder with dividers.

Cost is $13 and proceeds support the church's food pantry ministry, Gifts of Grace.

To purchase a cookbook, call 717-235-4029 or email graceumc@gumcpa.org.