Cookbook Club takes recipes from pages to table

Cookbook Club takes recipes from pages to table
Corrie Yoder

Now in its 10th year, the Orrville Public Library’s Cookbook Club offers area residents the opportunity to enhance and share cooking skills, as well as make some new friends.


The library probably isn’t the first place you’d check for delicious food, but more than books can be checked out at Orrville Public Library. Now in its 10th year, Cookbook Club offers area residents the opportunity to enhance and share cooking skills, as well as make some new friends.

Attendees first pick up a copy of the currently featured cookbook at the library. They then choose a recipe from the cookbook, based on their tastes, budget and desire to learn. The club has featured an array of cookbooks including “Fair Foods: The Most Popular and Offbeat Recipes from America’s State and County Fairs” by George Geary and “Modern Comfort Food: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook” by Ina Garten. The dishes are then whipped up and taken to the next meeting.

As club members arrive, they place their dishes according to entrees, breads, desserts and beverages, then jot down the recipe name and page number on a card to place nearby. Introductions are made if there are new faces, and then everyone lines up at the food tables. While feasting, attendees take turns describing what they made, any component of the recipe they modified and their thoughts on the cookbook. Discussion follows.

“The remainder of the time is devoted to catching up with each other,” library reference technician Corrie Yoder said. “It’s a time of fellowship as well as food.”

Yoder has been running the meetings since 2013. “We’ve reviewed 57 cookbooks. Cookbook Club has brought a lot of community members together,” she said.

Virginia of Orrville joined Cookbook Club in January, having recently moved to the area. “I didn’t know anyone here, and I wanted to meet people. I’m also on disability and wanted to get out of the house,” she said. “Since I love to cook, the club is a perfect fit for me.”

An average of a dozen people attend each meeting, and the club is open to adults of all ages, although at times a mature preteen or teen will attend with a guardian. “It’s delightful being a part of these budding cooks trying something new and learning important life skills,” Yoder said.

Ellen Gasser of Sterling said her husband isn’t fond of her trying out new recipes on him, so she considers Cookbook Club her opportunity to taste recipes. She did, however, make Ree Drummond’s beef noodle skillet recipe for the most recent meeting and doled out a portion to her husband before the meeting, thinking he might enjoy it.

“I knew it was a hit when he asked me after the meeting if there was any left,” she said.

While attendees are asked to bring a dish to the meetings, there is always an abundance of food, so if someone wants to attend but doesn’t have time to make a dish, they won’t be turned away.

According to Yoder, a number of years ago a young lady attended with the goals of trying new foods and learning to cook better. Her job required her to work up until the time the meetings began, so she would always arrive a bit late with an item from the fast-food restaurant where she worked or having grabbed a random snack or dessert from home.

“She always profusely apologized,” Yoder said, “but we were all glad she was there because of her hilarious stories about her disastrous attempts at cooking, and we were sad to see her go when she moved away.”

Some members like to make several dishes to help provide a well-rounded meal. Occasionally, the same recipe is chosen by more than one attendee. “But that provides an opportunity to learn how much cooking techniques vary and how ingredient choices affect the outcome,” Yoder said.

Virginia also appreciates individual touches to cooking, intentional or not. “One woman meant to make cauliflower patties, but the patties wouldn’t hold together during baking, so she ended up bringing a cauliflower casserole, and it was delicious anyway.”

Remaining meetings this year are as follow:

July 10

This meeting will be a special summer edition. Instead of choosing a cookbook to focus on, attendees are asked to bring a copy of their favorite summer recipe or a recipe from the cookbook of their choice, along with the dish to share. Prior to the meeting, the library will stock the circulation desk with a variety of seasonal cookbooks on grilling, picnics and campfire cooking from which to choose.

Aug. 28

“Healthy Eats with Six Sisters’ Stuff: 101+ Delicious Recipes and Tips for a Healthy Family” by Six Sisters’ Stuff.

Oct. 2

“Skinnytaste Meal Prep: Healthy Make-Ahead Meals” by Gina Homolka.

Nov. 6

“Magnolia Table, Volume 2: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering” by Joanna Gaines.

Dec. 4

“Ready, Set, Cook: How to Make Good Food with What’s On Hand” by Dawn Perry.

Meetings take place 6-7:30 p.m. in the staff lounge of the Orrville Public Library, 230 N. Main St. There is no cost to join Cookbook Club, and no registration is necessary, although attendees are asked to let the adult reference desk staff know they will attend so they know how many people to expect. The library provides plates, bowls, utensils and drinking water.

For more information call the information desk at 330-683-1065 or follow Cookbook Club’s Facebook page.

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