Sausage Apple Noodle Casserole – The Church Lady Casserole Challenge

Posted on Sep 19 2012 - 6:23am by RetroRuth

Tom and I can never say “no” to a food challenge.  If you dare us to eat that chocolate-covered grasshopper, we eat it.  If you tell us we can’t finish that sandwich, we finish it. And if you send us a crazy vintage recipe, we make it.

No one knows this better than Mimi from 1972: The Retro WW Experiment, Yinzerella from Dinner is Served 1972, Erica from Retro Recipe Attempts and Brian from Caker Cooking. When they sent me an email asking if Tom and I wanted to be part of a cookbook challenge, our answer wasn’t just “Yes”, it was “Why haven’t you sent us a recipe already?”

The theme of this challenge is one that I was really excited about. The name of the game this time around was Church Lady Casserole Challenge and I couldn’t have been happier. Especially because it didn’t have any gelatin in it. I’ve about had it with gelatin, thank you very much.

So, the Church Lady recipes were submitted. Numbers were drawn. Assignments were given. And it was time to start cooking.

And it turned out that we had Erica to thank for the recipe we were sent: Sausage Apple Noodle Casserole.



This lovely thing is from Festival ’77 Garden of Eatin’ (the Parish Cookbook of the by Church of the Ascension, Virginia Beach VA), and was written/contributed by Georgia Perron. Erica was especially taken by the way Eve is depicted giving Adam an apple pie on the cover of this book. Charming.


Well, this time we aren’t frying up a bunch of liver and then pulverizing it in a blender, so we really don’t have much to talk about.

Except one thing.

What exactly is a Church Lady Cookbook?


They are, quite simply, the compilation cookbooks put out by churches, schools and organizations everywhere. They are simple, usually contain no or very few photos, and are sold for charity purposes. The recipes in these cookbooks are sent in by members of the church (Or school. Or organization.) and are usually typed (with a typewriter) but can also be handwritten. They are divided into simple categories, usually without an index, and bound with a spiral or stapled together.

They are also some of the best cookbooks out there.


If you think about it, no one was about to send in a recipe they thought was less than stellar for their entry into their church’s cookbook. Oh no. A compilation cookbook was a homemaker’s time to shine. A lot of the time the recipe titles are things like, “My Best Meatloaf” or “Edna Perkin’s Famous Chocolate Cake.” This was not the time for Edna Perkins to use her second best cake. She was going to send her absolute best cake. The famous cake. The one that is going to sell cookbooks.

More than likely, Georgia Perron submitted this casserole because her husband and children liked it the best, or because she got the most compliments on it when she served it for bridge club, or because she would regularly bring this casserole over to sick or mourning households.

Compilation cookbooks are a great way to see the culture of an area, the most popular ingredients of the time, and who was the best baker in Middle of Nowhere, Texas, 1955.


Granted, that doesn’t always mean that ALL recipes in any given compilation cookbook are actually good. Some people might have strange tastes, some people may be too dependent on the can opener, and some people, God bless them, just can NOT cook.

And now it’s time to find out if Georgia Perron can cook.

Tom TastingIMG_0547

“It tastes like salt”.”

“Really? Is it bad?”

“No. It’s plain. Tastes like noodles. With salt and nutmeg on them. But not bad at all.”

The Verdict: Good

From Tom’s Tasting Notes:

Tastes like a mix of sausage, salt, egg noodles and some occasional applesauce. Actually, it really isn’t applesauce-tasting so much as it tastes like nutmeg. Bland, but not bad at all. Flavors mix well. Oddly, when we reheated this casserole it tasted like a McDonald’s Sausage McMuffin without the egg. Strange.

If you want to see what everyone else made for the challenge, be sure to head over to their blogs!

Retro Recipe Attempts: Lazy Bride’s Dish (recipe chosen by me!)

Dinner is Served 1972: Cock-A-Doodle Casserole

Caker Cooking: Potato Casserole

1972: The Retro WW Experiment : Anything Anytime Casserole

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I love everything retro, vintage, mid-century, kitsch and all things atomic! A 21st century housewife just trying to fit the 50's. I have a passion for vintage recipes and an enormous vintage cookbook collection that I keep testing, even though by now I should know better. Creator of Mid-Century Menu (, No Pattern Required (, and I Ate The 80's (

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21 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Jill September 19, 2012 at 9:09 am - Reply

    I think he was lying to you – his face says otherwise! 🙂

    Found you through Dinner is Served 1972. Love the contest!

    • RetroRuth September 20, 2012 at 9:54 am - Reply

      Thanks, glad you decided to stop by!

      The faces he makes are so ridiculous, aren’t they? 🙂

  2. Yinzerella September 19, 2012 at 9:17 am - Reply

    So, bland was the theme with these?

    • Buzz September 19, 2012 at 10:55 am - Reply

      Yeah, pretty much

      • RetroRuth September 20, 2012 at 9:55 am - Reply

        Boo! Next time we need to bring it!

  3. Erica Retrochef September 19, 2012 at 9:51 am - Reply

    Noodles with salt and nutmeg? That’s… not what we expected 😀

  4. MakingSpace September 19, 2012 at 11:25 am - Reply

    OK I was reading along like a normal person and then when I got to the part where you reheated it, I started laughing uncontrollably. hahaha

    I got several church lady cookbooks as wedding presents back four hundred and seventy-five years ago. But I don’t think I have that one!!!

  5. Sara In AZ September 19, 2012 at 3:29 pm - Reply

    Awwwww, I don’t know why but I had such high hopes for this one. I thought it would taste spectacular, esp. coming out of a church cookbook! I guess a “not bad at all” is pretty ok though! 🙂

    • RetroRuth September 20, 2012 at 9:55 am - Reply

      Yeah, “not bad” is better than nothing! 🙂

  6. Laura September 19, 2012 at 6:50 pm - Reply

    You know, I have a couple of these rural Missouri church cookbooks from my own family, and what impresses me the most (or the least, depending on how much you look at it) is how much our tastes in seasonings have changed over the decades. A lot of those recipes had nothing more than salt and pepper to season them. Curry powder was considered really exotic and called for in tiny little 1/8 tsp. amounts, and no one used dried herbs much at all. I also wonder how women cooked with so little variety in ingredients. Sometimes I think it was even harder to become a good cook when your pantry was pretty much a 50 lb bag of flour and a bucket o’ lard!

    • RetroRuth September 20, 2012 at 9:56 am - Reply

      Laura – I think the exact same thing! We take a bite of this stuff and think, “bland city”, but at the time this was exciting cooking!

  7. Mimi September 19, 2012 at 7:02 pm - Reply

    This one looks right up my alley! Yum! BTW- Is it wrong that I am already looking forward to the next challenge? I am thinking “anything goes”. A Retro Food Free For All! (evil laugh)

    • RetroRuth September 20, 2012 at 9:57 am - Reply

      Ohhhhhh no! I am lobbying for liver. In fact, I probably have enough liver recipes stacked up to give everyone two assignments!

      • Erica Retrochef September 20, 2012 at 1:01 pm - Reply

        oh please, not liver… please…!

  8. Caker Cooking September 19, 2012 at 7:57 pm - Reply

    I gotta say that Georgia seems like one of those hoity-toity church lady types. The ones who eat quail and make the other women at the church bazaar feel a little inferior with their boring old date squares. That’s because her recipe involves fruit and meat, which is a rarity, I think, for most church recipes. I also think Georgia had really big hair. But maybe that’s just wishful thinking.

  9. Jenny (vintagesugarcube) September 20, 2012 at 5:35 pm - Reply

    You two crack me up! So much fun coming to your site. I won’t be making that one, but still so enjoy your recipes and rants. 🙂

  10. Mistress Rebecca September 22, 2012 at 5:31 pm - Reply

    I am the vintage cookbook collector. I’m slowly getting rid of many of them as I have the same experience…bland city for the main dishes unless they are the Italian based church cookbooks. However the baking arena along with the Jello dishes rule. NO LIVER for me.

  11. Jenny Hammerton September 23, 2012 at 3:11 am - Reply

    Genius! I think this is the only recipe of the slamdown for which I could get all the ingredients here in London. Creamed corn is damn difficult to find, I’ve never seen cream of celery soup (but I will seek it out), I only have a vague idea what Velveeta is and I think lima beans may be called something else here. I may have to move Stateside.

    Love your blog, will be stalking…

  12. Nancy December 27, 2014 at 9:08 pm - Reply

    I actually grew up with this dish, and I still love it as comfort food. It is originally from the Good Housekeeping cookbook c 1960, which my Mom got for a wedding present. There it is known as Sunday-Supper Casserole. Mom uses Italian sausage and cheddar to give it some flavor. Didn’t think anyone else had ever heard of it!

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