By Ann Cipperly
Founded in October 1913, the Mothers Club is still going strong, offering fellowship and educational programs to its members, as well as making donations to the community. The club meets September through May at the Saugahatchee Country Club with one member serving as hostess and decorating tables, while another member presents an interesting program. The members are graciously sharing their favorite recipes for autumn meals.
A few years ago, Anne Bennett Carpenter met with long time member Vivian Bryers, who had collected notes, minutes and newspaper clippings about the club over the years. Anne assembled the material for a program on the club’s history to members.
The Mothers Club is believed to be Opelika’s oldest study club.
The first meeting of the Mothers Club was called to order on Oct. 24, 1913, by the first president, Louise Andrew Westcott Samford. Mrs. Samford was born Nov. 23, 1877, and received a music degree from the college in Tuskegee, which later became Huntingdon College in Montgomery, a women’s college. College attendance by women was rare at this time.
Louise was the wife of Thomas Drake Samford, son of Gov. Samford. They had three sons, William, Lucinda Samford Cannon’s father; Thomas, Bill Samford’s father; and Dr. Millard Samford, Mickey Groom’s father.
Originally, the Mothers Club had two objectives. One was to offer programs for a better understanding and appreciation of literature, music and fine arts, as well as current state and world affairs. The club still has a program every year on current events.
The other objective was to take an active interest in civic affairs and to contribute whenever possible to worthwhile organizations for charity and medical research. While the emphasis on medical research was later dropped, the club still makes donations to organizations.
Goals of the club have changed and broadened through the years. The latest constitution revision focuses on learning about programs for children in the area, as well as new agencies and services, county, state, and national affairs and civic responsibility. The appreciation of literature, music and fine arts remain.
In the earliest constitution, the president appointed a musical director, today the song leader, and there were two vice-presidents with a membership of 24. This membership number was changed throughout the club’s history. In 1952, a motion was added for a leave of absence. On March 1970, members voted that an inactive member would become an honorary member.
The Collect or Club Prayer printed in the Mothers Club yearbook was written by Mary Stewart, a high school principal from Longmont, Co., in 1904. The prayer was offered for publication because Mary felt that “women working together with wide interest for large ends was a new thing under the sun, and perhaps they needed a special petition and meditation of their own.”
The first women’s organization to use the collect were clubs in the General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC). The federation was founded in 1890 to bind women’s clubs in a national group where programs could have more effects on social causes for children and women.
The Mothers Club was a member of the GFWC from 1923-1944. Many clubs in the Opelika-Auburn area were also members of the GFWC. After 1944, the designation of being a member was no longer mentioned in the yearbook.
Often the Mothers Club emphasized one theme for the year’s programs, including studying one country, such as Italy. Members would diligently study their topic to bring the information to the club. Roll call could be answered with names of artists from Italy.
According to a news article in the Opelika paper, programs in the 1930s focused on “Twentieth Century Trends,” while the 1940s brought “America Expresses Itself.” During the 50s, club programs focuses on “Present Day Interests,” and the 60s saw an emphasis on “The Lighter Side.” During the 70s, the programs were about “Women: Yesterday and Today.”
One of the more interesting projects over the years was soliciting donations for a swimming pool for the City of Opelika and help in the pool management.
Today, the hats, gloves and fur coats are long gone. Members of the Mothers Club are still enjoying interesting programs and discussing current events, as well as fellowship over lunch. Meetings open with a roll call.
The club continues to be community minded. Last May a donation was made to Storybook Farms, and in 2016, a donation was given to the Kreher Ecology Reserve.
Officers are Flora Jane Rhodes, president; Charlotte Humphrey, vice president; Diane Harris, recording secretary; Anne Bennett, treasurer, and Nancy Burgess, secretary.
Honorary members of the club are Elnora Andrus, Deborah Batcher, Kathryn Cooper, Gerry Lanier, Peggy Lazenby and Betty Neel.
Look over the following recipes from members, and select several to add to your menus for the coming week.
Ann Cipperly can be contacted at email@example.com.
Chicken Pecan Quiche
A slice of this quiche would be served with fresh fruit, mixed greens salad with poppy seed dressing and mini lemon poppy seed muffins for ladies’ luncheons in Kingsport, TN, where I previously lived.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
Stir into that mixture:
2 cups finely chopped cooked chicken
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 tsp. dried dill weed
3 drops hot sauce, such as Texas Pete
Pour into 9-inch deep dish frozen pie crust.
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Sprinkle pecans evenly over top of quiche.
Bake uncovered at 350 degrees about 30 minutes; cover and bake until set to prevent top from over browning, usually 50-55 minutes.
Another method of preparing the quiche is to place a piecrust into a baking dish, and press chopped pecans onto the crust. Then add the filling. It is also good, but it is not as pretty served as a wedge slice topped with pecans.
Pasta Spinach Salad with Teriyaki Dressing
8 oz. bowtie pasta, cooked al dente and cooled
4 cups baby spinach leaves, cleaned
1/2 cup craisins
1/3 cup almond slivers or chopped pecans
4 oz. can mandarin oranges, drained
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup teriyaki sauce
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
Prepare dressing by mixing together all the ingredients in a jar or container with a tight lid. Mix thoroughly and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Put cooked, cooled pasta in a large bowl and add baby spinach leaves, craisins, nuts, oranges and cilantro. Just before serving, add cooled dressing and toss.
Marinated Baked Chicken Breasts
2 cups sour cream
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. celery salt
2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 boneless chicken breast halves, skinless
1 3/4 cups dry bread crumbs
1/3 cup butter
1 sleeve soda crackers crushed
1 sleeve Ritz crackers crushed
To marinate: In a large nonporous glass dish or bowl, combine sour cream, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, celery salt, paprika, salt, pepper and garlic; mix well.
Add chicken breasts and coat well with sour cream marinade. Cover dish or bowl and refrigerate to marinate for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place breadcrumbs in a shallow dish or bowl. Remove chicken from marinade and discard marinade. Dredge chicken in crumb mix to coat well and place in a lightly greased 9×13 inch baking dishes. In a small saucepan or skillet, melt butter and spoon evenly over chicken.
Bake for 60 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and fork-tender with juices running clear.
Arlene Carpenter’s Custard Coconut Pie
9-inch pie shell
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 2/3 cups scaling hot milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 heaping Tbsp. flour
1 cup moist shredded coconut (I use frozen), divided
Combine filling ingredients, saving some of the coconut for the top. Pour filling in pie shell. Top with reserved coconut.
Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes; reduce temperature to 350 and bake 25 to 30 minutes longer.
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup butter
1/4 tsp. salt
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup pecans
1 unbaked pie shell
Combine sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt in a saucepan; bring to a boil over low heat. Slowly pour mixture over beaten eggs, stirring constantly. Cool.
Add vanilla and pecans. Pour into pie shell.
Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes; reduce temperature to 375 and bake 35 to 40 minutes longer.
Scrumptious Pumpkin Layer Cheese Cake
Two 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Dash of ground cloves
Dash of nutmeg
8 or 9-inch graham cracker crumb piecrust
Mix together cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with mixer on medium
until well blended. Add eggs; mix well.
Stir pumpkin and spices into 1 cup of the batter.
Pour remaining plain batter into piecrust.
Top with pumpkin batter.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until center is almost set.
Cool. Refrigerate 3 hours or overnight before serving.
Nanan’s Pound Cake
This is one of my aunt’s most popular recipes. She lived in New Orleans and was married to an Italian man, who was a wonderful person. We called her Nanan.
2 sticks butter, softened
3 cups sugar, sift twice
3 cups all-purpose flour, sift twice
½ pint whipping cream
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Alternately add an egg, some flour and some whipping cream, beating well between each addition, until all is used. Add salt and vanilla.
Bake in greased and floured tube pan (10-inch) or a Bundt pan at 315 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Test with toothpick. If not done, bake 10 – 15 additional minutes.
3 cups sugar
1 cup salad oil
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
2/3 cup water
2 cups (1 can) pumpkin
3 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. soda
1 cup raisins
1 cup fine nut meats
Mix all ingredients in order given. Pour into 2 greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
Roberta Haden Greene
6-8 crook neck yellow squash sliced large
4 green zucchini sliced
2 large yellow or white onions, peeled into rings
1 large eggplant, cut ends off and slice in rounds or large strips
2 tomatoes, peeled or unpeeled sliced
Cheeses: shredded mozzarella, sharp cheddar and Parmesan (may use other cheeses, if you prefer)
Olive oil and olive spray
I use a large 9 x 13 inch Pyrex casserole dish that makes enough for 6-8 servings.
Put eggplant in salt water for 10 minutes drain on paper towel. In a skillet brown, and sauté in olive oil until tender.
Put olive oil and spray on bottom of casserole dish. Place eggplant on bottom of dish. Start to layer above vegetables and cheeses (tomato slices do better on the top layers with the cheeses).
Cover with foil. Bake at 350 for an hour or longer, if necessary. Check at one hour. You may need to drain extra olive oil that comes from the bottom before serving. Serve with salad and bread.
Marinade for Deer Ham
Barbara Priester Marinade mix:
1 minced garlic clove
3/4 cup Dale’s sauce
1 bay leaf
3/4cup cooking oil
1/2 cup wine vinegar
Combine all ingredients. Marinade deer ham with mixture overnight in ziplock bag. Discard marinade next day.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Place deer ham in unsealed Reynolds cooking bag.
Add 1 bay leaf, 1 clove minced garlic, 1 Tbsp. flour and 1 packet Lipton’s Onion Soup mix. Add 1 soup packet of water, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.
Pour over deer ham in cooking bag, close bag, pierce vents in top of bag. Bake until 280 degrees internal temperature, approximately 3 hours.
1 lb. fresh broccoli
8 oz. fresh mushrooms
8 oz. butter
1 cup sifted flour
1 qt. chicken stock
1 qt. fat free half and half
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1/4 tsp. tarragon leaves, crushed
Clean and cut broccoli into 1/2 inch pieces. Steam in 1/2 cup water until tender. Set aside.
Wash and slice mushrooms. Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add flour to make a roux. Cook 2-4 minutes. Add chicken stock, stirring with a wire whisk and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low. Add broccoli, mushrooms, half and half and spices. Heat, but do not boil. Stir frequently as it thickens. Serves 8.
12 vanilla wafers
2 (8- oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs, beaten
Line muffin tins with foil liners. Place 1 wafer in bottom of each liner. Combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla using an electric mixer on medium speed. Add eggs and mix again.
Pour over wafers filling to 3/4 full. Bake 25 minutes at 325°. Remove from pan and cool before serving. If desired, top with fresh fruit, pie filling or preserves.