Share your family’s old, cherished recipes for this year’s Ozark County Cookin’

Russian tea Stella Luna’s handwritten recipe for “Russian tea” has been a longtime favorite for her daughter, Mary Ruth Luna Sparks, and Sparks’ children and grandchildren. Inset: Stella Martin Luna, 1914-2003.

The Ozark County Times is collecting old, beloved, handed-down recipes for this year’s Ozark Country Cookin’ cookbook, to be published Nov. 25. We’re asking readers to share their cherished family recipes by taking a photo of the recipe card or cookbook page and emailing it to Times editor Sue Ann Jones (, along with a photo of the cook who made the recipe “famous” and a little story about how the family has enjoyed it. Shared recipes  can also be dropped off at the Times office. Be sure to include contact information about the person sharing the recipe.

This keepsake cookbook, which will be kept and referred to for years to come, will be free and available wherever the Times is sold. So it’s also a great opportunity for advertisers. Rates are $95 for 1/8 page, $130 for 1/4 page, $225 for 1/2 page and $325 for full page. For more information, contact Jenny Yarger at 417-679-4641; 

The advertising and recipe deadline is Friday, Oct. 30. 

As an example of one of the old, cherished recipes to be included in this year’s cookbook, Mary Ruth Luna Sparks, compiler of the Times Past column in each week’s Times, shared this story about her mother’s recipe for “Russian tea”: 

“I think my mother, Stella Martin Luna, got this recipe while she was in college during the 1930s at what used to be SMS in Springfield. During a visit to my house many years ago, she wrote it inside my old Better Homes & Gardens cookbook. It’s a recipe my children and grandchildren have especially loved. The spicy syrup makes the whole house smell good, especially on a cold wintry day. My kids used to eat the candied fruit that came out of the syrup mixture.

“My three grandsons, all in their 20s and 30s now, have the recipe memorized so they can make it for themselves and their family and friends. My two granddaughters have made it several times with me. 

“I feel certain Mom frequently served this when she had guests, especially during the winter. I remember her making it and taking it to Joe Luna’s house after his wife, Helen Marie, died on Feb. 25, 1971. Helen’s brother, Rex Ebrite, told us when the ‘pot’ got low, they added some orange juice to it, and it was still delicious.

“Note: You can’t buy a small can of grapefruit juice any more, so I buy bottled grapefruit juice and use about half the bottle in one batch and have some left over for the next. I just dip the spices and fruit out of the syrup with a strainer. Sometimes I substitute Splenda for half of the sugar.”

Ozark County Times

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