Indiana, 1984

St. Andrew’s Bingo Cookbook

St. Andrew’s Bingo Cookbook is a plastic spiralbound recipe collection compiled by the Bingo Committee at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in Merrillville, Indiana.  Merrillville is a community of about 30,000 people about forty-five minutes outside of Chicago, just south of Gary.  St. Andrew’s was founded in 1965 and is one of three operating parishes in Merrillville.  The church also operates Aquinas Catholic Community School, a small K-8 school, on the same site.

Merrillville was born from a collection of settlements and wagon spots on land originally owned by the Powawatomi American Indian tribe.   In 1848 these settlements were unified as Ross Township, which included the “town” of Merrillville.  The first Catholic mass was held in the area in 1841 in a small log cabin, providing service to early German settlers.  In the intervening years the Catholic community has grown and adjusted to reflect changing demographics in the area.  

Most of my church cookbooks are either fundraisers or commemorate a historic milestone for the church, such as the anniversary of its founding.   This one appears to have been compiled for more practical reasons.  As per the introduction:

The idea of our cookbook was born at our Bingo Hall because of Florence [H]. 

Florence bakes homemade goodies every Sunday and everyone wanted her recipe. 

“Thanks Florence”

I’d like to take this opportunity to take Florence, too, whose recipes are among the best in the cookbook. 

The Recipes

Sadly, Sunday Night Bingo is no longer “a thing” at St. Andrew’s Church, which is a shame because these folks sound like fun.  The recipe selection is tilted ever so slightly towards desserts and party food, with a little bit more booze than one usually finds from church people.  For 1984 the recipe selection leans a little bit “older”, with plenty of holdover Jell-O salads and condensed soup casseroles.   There are undercurrents of Polish influence and maybe a little bit of the original German settlers. 

Selected Recipes

Hot Cucumber Soup

Polish Porcupines

Florence’s Recipes

Asparagus and Cheese Sandwich Casserole