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Readers Dish Out Food For Thought In Oradell Library's Cookbook Club

The Oradell Cookbook Club.
The Oradell Cookbook Club. Photo Credit: Submitted

ORADELL, N.J. -- Something's cooking at the Oradell Public Library -- and in the not-so-distant future, locals will get a "taste."

According to Linda Van Valkenburgh, an administrative assistant at the library, the Oradell Public Library Cookbook Club, which has been meeting monthly since September 2014, is on the verge of publishing its own cookbook.

And it's all thanks to an idea that was brought to Van Valkenburgh by a longtime patron who thought starting a cookbook club might be something she'd want to moderate.

Indeed, it's turned into something fun and collaborative, not to mention quite appetizing. Each month, Van Valkenburgh picks a cookbook; then emails the 28 members to figure out who's making what -- and avoid duplication.

On the evening of their meeting, each member brings the recipe, cooked and ready to sample. Several members - the group is made up of women and men, including two married couples -- are so enthusiastic they try a bunch of recipes and bring that information with them to the meeting. While the cooking is done at home, the majority of the tasting is done in the library.

"We each sample the dishes and then discuss the book, the recipes, the narrative, the photography, what we think would improve the recipe and would we make it again," said Van Valkenburgh. "We have many favorite recipes and authors, as well as some we don't like at all. It's a very vocal group!"

The May meeting involved reading --and sampling -- from "The Casserole Queens."

Up for June and July: the club' members' own recipes, which will be collected into a cookbook they plan to have ready by Fall. The working title is "The Oradell Public Library Cooks."

Library Board of Trustees, Library employees and The Friends of the Library, who fund the Club's paper goods and coffee, are also contributing.

Proceeds from the book's sales will benefit -- where else? The Oradell Public Library.

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