It started with a brainstorming session on how the St. Paul's United Church of Christ cookbook committee could sell the last 150 copies of the 500 "Soup's On! At St. Paul's UCC" cookbooks they had printed.

"I said 'I bet other churches have cookbooks that they want to sell, and maybe we can make this an event and invite churches that have cookbooks to come, and then invite them to come and bring some tastes from their cookbooks,'" said Ruth Gray, a member of St. Paul's cookbook committee.


The other committee members liked it and started making calls to other churches. On Sunday afternoon, their event, "A Little Taste of Heaven," will have tables from six different churches and the nonprofit organization Caring Carroll offering cookbooks for sale, along with samples of some recipes within their books.

Ruth Schwalier, of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Sykesville, said her church will be providing sweet and sour meatballs and a chocolate chip cake at their table.

"It's a great opportunity to sell some of the cookbooks that we have - we've had them a long time and it will be a great time for socializing with other churches," she said. "It benefits everybody."

St. Barnabas's cookbooks are probably more than a decade old, she said, but that doesn't mean the recipes in them aren't still good. They've just been sitting in the parish hall, left over from their initial sale years ago.

In addition to being a cookbook sale, the event is also asking for the donation of non-perishable food items to go to Carroll County Food Sunday, a food pantry based in Westminster that will also have a table with information at the event.

"At our church, we do support Carroll County Food Sunday in lots of different ways, and this is a benefit for them," said Sue Thomas, of Westminster United Methodist Church. "It also sounds like a fun thing to do."

Westminster United Methodist's cookbooks are from 2007, when the chancel choir was trying to raise money for new music for their choir, Thomas said. They have 14 copies left, and she's hoping they'll be able to sell out the last of their cookbooks. They will be bringing a rancheros chicken casserole and apple slice squares to entice tasters to the sale.

Gray, whose church will be making an egg brunch casserole and blueberry muffins, said that she has always thought of church cookbooks as a tradition in many faiths, but was surprised at how many churches said they no longer continued that tradition. She believes it is a symptom of the times, when more people use the internet as a recipe source rather than collecting cookbooks and trading recipes with people you know.

"I love church cookbooks, I've been buying church cookbooks and nonprofit cookbooks and junior league cookbooks for 30 or 40 years," Gray said. "I like to have a book in my hand, and I love to read through them if I'm putting on a dinner party or something. I find it entertaining and relaxing, but I may be old school."

Gray said she's hoping for a good turnout Sunday, and is glad that her church's cookbooks were the start of an event that can be beneficial to so many people.

"It moved off from just being all about St. Paul's to becoming a community event and helping a lot of people and being a nice ecumenical event," she said.