KITTANNING — A group of Kittanning Public Library patrons cooks up a storm and shares dishes with fellow members during the facility’s monthly cookbook club. The club is a rejuvenated version of a tradition that had died out before its rebirth a little more than a year ago.
Last Wednesday afternoon, library technician Laura Sue Stewart sat at a table laden with vintage multi-color Fiestaware dishes and told the story of the club and its activities.
“It was good to get the club restarted,” Stewart said. “It had been popular for many years, but people lost interest after a while and drifted away. We gave it a reboot a year ago this past October.”
Stewart said that about 12 members on average show up for each meeting, with pans and casserole dishes in hand. Attendance ranges from eight to as high as 17. The club’s usual meeting time is the first Wednesday of every month from 1 to 2 p.m. in the library’s conference room.
“We do not have an actual printed cookbook,” Stewart said. “The recipes we use are from already-published cookbooks, but there are a lot of them out there. The members always have a wide variety to choose from.”
Deciding on the upcoming menu is a group effort. Members discuss the theme for future meetings, select the recipes and write them on a sign-in sheet, prepare their selected dishes at home and then bring them to the meeting to share with others.
January’s soups-and-stews theme struck the right chord during the colder winter months. Stewart noted that December’s theme was centered on Hanukkah dishes, a change of pace for the club.
“One of our members converted to Judaism when she married and thought it would be nice to share some of its food traditions with us,” Stewart said. “Her choices were very well-received, and she rounded out the food presentation with background information on the meaning behind each dish. The members loved it.”
Stewart said that anyone is welcome to participate in the group, and a Kittanning Public Library membership is not required. The program is free, the only cost being the price of the food purchased for preparing a dish.
The club meets on the first Wednesday of the month, except for January’s meeting on the second Wednesday.
“We thought that everyone might be pretty tired of all the holiday cooking, so we decided to push the first meeting of the year back a week,” Stewart said.
The next regular meeting of the cookbook club is slated for Jan. 9 at 1 p.m. in the library’s public conference room.
The Kittanning Public Library is located at 240 North Jefferson Street in Kittanning. For more information about the program, call the library at (724) 543-1383.