For generations Beverly Smith’s family were stalwarts at Morningside Presbyterian Church in Swansea.
“All the Smiths and Sinclairs lived within walking distance of the church. We’ve all been married and buried there,” Bev says. In fact Bev’s (maternal) Great-Grandfather, Walter Sinclair, and her Grandfather Harold Smith were stonemasons and both helped construct the current stone church. It was completed in 1908/17??
Morningside, which held its first service, in 1889, in a house on Kennedy Ave., was named after Morningside Presbyterian Parish Church in Edinburgh. This red stone Victorian church is still going strong and is renowned for its fine stained glass windows designed by Sir Edward Burne-Jones (1833-1896), a Pre-Raphaelite painter, and William Morris (1834-1896), a founder of the British Arts & Crafts Movement.
The house Bev was brought up in, on South Kingsway, was also built by her grandfather and great-grandfather. She recalls, as a four-year-old, they dug the foundation with the help of horses.
The ladies, in the Smith-Sinclair family, were all members of the Women’s Missionary Society (WMS). Bev’s grandmother Margaret Sinclair Smith and her sister, Auntie Teenie (sisters from Scotland), manned the apron table at the Christmas Bazaar. Yes, these women sewed all the aprons themselves. Bev recalls her mother, Marice Smith, was always at the next table, with her team, selling home-made sausage rolls and baked beans in jars.
Marice appears to have favoured the savoury side of cooking, although, on occasion, she did take her jam to church sales. At church suppers and picnics, along with her beans, Marice’s macaroni and jelly salads were gobbled up with pleasure. Sadly, Marice died prematurely in 1988, but Bev has her annotated cook book, featuring recipes from the post-war years. In the 1940s, the word gourmet had not yet come into the Canadian vocabulary and party food was simple. It was became special with the addition of new store-bought luxuries like Kraft Miracle Whip, cheese slices and tinned fruit. Marice’s Heavenly Rhubarb Jam has only three ingredients – sugar, rhubarb & tinned crushed pineapple and her Church Salad turns out to be a Jello and fruit concoction. Until the 1970s, no Ontario buffet or picnic was complete without an assortment of jolly, jiggly coloured Jelly offerings.
Bev now lives in Muskoka and is involved with the fundraising activities of Zion Presbyterian Church, in Torrance, Ontario. Meanwhile, back in Swansea, Morningside is still a vital presence in the community.
MARICE’S CHURCH SALAD
Prepare one, 3 oz Jell-O – any colour.
Mix well with 3 oz cottage cheese.
Add: 1 tin mandarin oranges. 1 small tin of crushed pineapple. Both drained.
Add: 1 small container Cool Whip. Mix together. Let set.