From Ruth's Kitchen . . . .
. . . . To Your Family Table
The Community of Avondale is a rural area in Southwest Adair County, Iowa. Over the years it was a crossroads of frontier commerce and of the last century a church, a one room school, and a church cemetery. The Mormon Trail passed through this area with one significant landmark being a very small cemetery plot containing the graves of those that failed to make it through one winters lodging on the banks of the Nodaway River. The School, Washington Number 6, once standing across the parking lot of the Church, was removed in the early 1960’s.
The focal point of the Avondale Community was the Avondale United Methodist Church, which lives on into its second century of service to its parishioners. Still an active church, the Avondale Church conduct’s Sunday services as well as sunday school classes. In years past the church was very active with youth fellowship gatherings, vacation bible school, church bazaars, as well as many other church community socials. An annual bazaar remains the church’s most significant annual event and fund raiser.
The Community of Avondale, while anchored by the church, is populated by farming families that, through the years, provided grain and livestock to the markets in Iowa and Nebraska. The sense of Community was fostered through community gatherings for the ladies, the Sunshine Club, and for the youth, the township 4H Club. Family gatherings to “play ball”, picnic, and have a wiener roast were common in the yards of the Avondale Church and School.
The Avondale Church still stands tall on a small rise above the road bed running just below it. The Avondale Cemetery rests at the top of the hill behind the church. Both stand as reverent symbols of the community and its people that they have served for nearly two century’s and will continue to do so in the years ahead.
For many years in the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s, three families from the Avondale Community gathered to celebrate the conclusion of that year’s harvest. Those families were the McCall’s, the Woodside’s, and the Menefee’s, each family taking their turn to host the event.
The ladies were in the kitchen stirring various pots of soup on the stove. Never was just one variety of soup enough. No indeed, the offerings of Tomato, Vegetable, Chili, Potato all served piping hot to their husbands and the rest of the combined families. And, the dining room table was adorned with colorful pickles, beets, cheeses, breads, and crackers to accompany the delicious homemade soup. Sure, there were always desserts to follow.
The chatter around the table was of the Harvest, the yield that year, some fields better than others, the corn cribs sealed until the crop was needed, and the hope of an even better harvest in the years ahead.
There was a great deal of warmth and fellowship that surrounded those gatherings, but just a few of the many gatherings of friends and family that were part of the fabric of the Avondale Community.
Avondale’s Best Vegetable Soup is packaged in Nebraska by a producer that has custom manufactured food items from varying recipes for nearly 25 years. They hot pack our recipe in quart jars and then run the quart jars through a water bath which allows the Soup to cool quickly to protect flavor, freshness, and the integrity of Avondale’s Best Soup recipe.
Product integrity is maintained by:
HAACP and GMP programs
Better Process Control School, University of Nebraska, Lincoln
and inspected by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Nebraska Department of Agriculture & Bureau of Dairies and Foods.
For over 60 years Ruth Menefee worked in the kitchen of her home creating delightful meals and treats for her husband Bob, their five children, fourteen grandchildren, and a quickly expanding brood of great grandchildren. Her recipes for soups, pies, cakes, cookies and other goodies were a compilation of her Mother, Sisters in Law, and the Ladies of the Avondale Church community.