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Second print run for Mennonite Girls Can Cook


Mennonite Girls Can Cook

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Mennonite Church Canada/Mennonite Publishing Network joint release
May 12, 2011
-Steve Shenk

WATERLOO, Ont. and SCOTTDALE, Pa.— Three days before the official release date of May 2 for Mennonite Girls Can Cook, Herald Press officials were already ordering a reprint.

The cookbooks had arrived early from the printer, and workers at the Herald Press warehouses in Waterloo, Ont. and Scottdale, Pa.  were filling 600 pre-orders and responding to nearly 3,000 new orders.

The title of the book comes from a comment made to a group of women of Russian-German Mennonite heritage in British Columbia: “You Mennonite girls sure can cook!”

First came a blog started in 2008 by 10 women in their 50s and 60s. They shared thoughts, memories, and recipes from their heritage. The response was positive, even astounding. To date their blog has attracted 2.4 million visitors.

“We never thought it would grow so big,” said Lovella Schellenberg, leader of the group. “It has exceeded all our expectations.” Schellenberg and her husband live on a farm in the coastal mountains near Abbotsford. They are members of Northview Community Church, a Mennonite Brethren congregation.

Their success caught the attention of  Herald Press, the book division of Mennonite Publishing Network, which serves both Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA. Amy Gingerich, editorial director, contacted the women, and they were open to the next step—a book deal.

“We decided that if we were supposed to publish a book, God would send us a publisher,” said Schellenberg. She and her group especially liked Herald Press’s connection with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) through projects like More-With-Less Cookbook.

The blog and the book emphasize hospitality rather than entertaining, blessing guests rather than trying to impress them.

“No matter which way you look at it,” said Charlotte Penner, one of the authors, “wonderful things happen when people are given the opportunity to gather around the table—a chance to nurture and build relationships, fellowship and encourage one another, and create a place of refuge for those who have had a stressful day.”

Through the new book the 10 women are also honouring their Russian-German Mennonite past and the horrific story of famine and violence their grandparents endured during the aftermath of the Russian Revolution of 1917.

The authors’ book royalties will be donated to MCC for the support of the Good Shepherd Shelter for orphans in Ukraine, where their ancestors lived.

For more information on the book, see

The hardcover, full-color book can be ordered in Canada for $28.99 minus a 20% discount until June 30 by calling 800-631-6535 or e-mailing In the U.S. the book is priced at $24.99  and available from 800-245-7894 or

Herald Press is the book imprint of Mennonite Publishing Network, the publishing ministry of Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA.