Community cookbooks make a comeback

Even if most people do not own a large cookbook collection, chances are good that they have a slim volume of local recipes published by area churches, clubs, or school groups. The Junior League books of the American South may be the most recognized of these collection of community recipes. In my own cookbook collection I have volumes from hometown churches, a telephone cooperative, and our high school economics department. Publication of these books waned over the years, but the current situation of scarce resources coupled with a desire to share is reviving community cookbooks.

Today these books are liable to be digital instead of squat spiral-bound copies with sparse black-and-white pages. Some include video recipes, and there is a lot more variety than in most church books. But the impulse behind them is similar: bringing people together through food. Krystal Mack, who collected recipes from fellow artists and chefs for a digital publication that is raising proceeds for charity, thinks that these cookbooks “time capsules, so we can look back and see how we chose to survive and come together collectively.”

While many of these cookbooks aim to raise funds for relief organizations, people are creating them for a variety of other reasons. Coworkers who are working from home instead of together in offices are sharing recipes as a way to stay connected, family members are gathering cherished recipes to preserve them for generations to come, and more than a few people are doing it to keep busy in a meaningful way. We can probably expect more of these cookbooks to dot the internet for the next few years.

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  • MarciK  on  May 1, 2020

    These homemade church cookbooks are a lot of fun to look through.

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