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Rhodesia & Rusks

March 2, 2011

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20 -21


March 2, 1970 Rhodesia gained it’s independence from the United Kingdom following its Unilateral Declaration of Independence in 1965. The country was named by the British for Cecil John Rhodes for whom the Rhodes Scholar program is world famous. Though Rhodesia never gained full Dominion status, Southern Rhodesians ruled themselves from 1923.

Why in the world am I talking about Rhodesia, now called Zimbabwe? I know someone who grew up there! Dr. Murray Somerville has been the interim organist for our church this past year & what a treasure he is. One Sunday morning between early service & Sunday school he told the story of how his family came to live in Africa; fascinating, as are all of his wonderful stories. And to hear him play our Fisk – oh my goodness!


Murray has spoiled the choir with written treatises on the prelude, communion & postlude pieces he plays for us every Sunday; instead of filing out of the loft after the benediction, many choir members return to seats until Murray has concluded his postlude. Beyond doubt he is brilliant & incredibly gifted by God on the organ, but he is so funny, always smiling, always with a ching-a-ring on the piano when our director (who I am thinking of dubbing St. Paul the Patient) is trying to make a point, always with a story about any piece we are singing or about an experience he has had – & every single time it is relevant & exactly on point. (Covenant Choir, can you say heterophony?)

The gift the Lord has given us, having Murray as our interim organist this past year – beyond what we could have ever thought or imagined.

Rhodesian Rusks

A traditional South African twice-baked (like biscotti in Italy) biscuit that is eaten after being dipped in coffee, tea or milk, the Rusk evolved as a way to preserve bread in the dry climate, used during war or when traveling long distances.


  • 1 cup Milk
  • 2/3 cup Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon Yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm Water
  • 5 1/2 cups all-purpose Flour
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 teaspoon Sea Salt


  1. Boil milk with sugar (minus 1 teaspoon set aside) & butter; Set aside to cool.
  2. In a mixer with dough hooks, combine yeast with one teaspoon sugar, 1 cup flour & water; Cover & let to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
  3. Beat the egg & add with milk mixture to yeast mixture.
  4. Add the salt & remaining flour to make a stiff dough.
  5. Cover & let rise 1 hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  7. Break off small pieces about the size of a golf ball; Knead in the palm of your hand & place very close together in a buttered jellyroll pan. (A cookie sheet with a rim.)
  8. Allow these to rise in a warm place to double in size, about 30 minutes.
  9. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour till nicely brown.
  10. Reduce oven heat to 200 degrees.
  11. Turn Rusks out of pan onto cooling rack; cool completely.
  12. Break apart the Rusks; return to the jellyroll pan & put in a 200 degree oven for 8 hours to dry out completely.
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