When the Nature Center was young, a group of dedicated volunteers who saw value in preserving Cedar Rapids’ new home for environmental education came together to form the Indian Creek Nature Center Guild.
The Guild (as they came to call themselves) was instrumental in the continued existence and growth of the Nature Center. Today this group endures under a new name, The Friends of Indian Creek Nature Center. They host two annual events, Nature’s Noel and the Spring Plant & Art Sale, that raise funds vital to our educational programs and land restoration projects.
Among their many contributions, The Guild also released a pair of cookbooks. The first, cleverly named ‘God Willing and the Creek Don’t Rise,’ featured more than 120 pages of recipes, cooking tips and illustrations from Guild members.
In 2005, The Guild released their follow-up cookbook with an even cleverer name, ‘God Willing and the Creek Don’t Rise … Again.’ This version has more than 160 pages of recipes and included new additions such as cheese pairing suggestions, gardening tips and wonderful art from Jean Perry and Joyce Schmidt.
Our 50th year seemed like the perfect time to dust off the original cookbook and try out a recipe. Staff at the Nature Center may have a bit of a collective sweet tooth, so we selected a Rhubarb Bars recipe from Carleen Grandon and Beth Allsop.
Carleen Grandon, in addition to being an active member of The Guild in its early days, was a lifetime member (with her husband Gene, beginning in 1991), major donor and Shooting Star Society member before her passing in 2018. In 2010 she donated to ICNC what was the largest gift ever given to the organization: a 36-acre Cedar Rapids property she had owned with Gene, a longtime ICNC trustee and early board member who died in 2003.
Beth Allsop has been impacting the Nature Center for a long time – as a volunteer, including for decades as a Guild member, and as a major donor, along with her husband Bob, who passed away just last year. Also, the Allsops became ICNC lifetime members in 1992, they are Shooting Star Society members, and donated 24 acres of land to ICNC in 2001. That same year, Beth’s dedicated and enthusiastic service to ICNC earned her a jack-in-the-pulpit award for outstanding volunteerism. Although in recent years Beth’s activity level has slowed down, it was a pleasure to have her with us – appropriately in the Elizabeth Allsop Auditorium – for our May lifetime member event.
In order to give Carleen and Beth’s recipe proper due, we brought in our best baker, Program Assistant Betsy Bostian, to do the baking. Betsy shows how to bake this recipe, shares helpful baking tips and reminiscences about baking with her grandmother in this video filmed in Amazing Space’s catering kitchen. The full recipe is below.
Carleen Grandon & Beth Allsop
1 cup flour
¼ lb. butter
5 Tbsp. powdered sugar
Mix and press into a 9” x 13” pan and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
4 cups finely chopped rhubarb
1½ cups sugar
3 eggs, unbeaten
1 tsp. Baking powder
Mix well and pour over baked crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.