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'A Library of Recipes' Cookbook a Community Effort

Cook Park and Aspen Drive Library patrons and employees contributed to the project.

Looking for some new recipes to try? Maybe a new appetizer or main dish to make for the holidays?

The Cook Memorial Public Library District can help.

Library district employees and patrons, along with local businesses, contributed to a new cookbook, "A Library of Recipes," that can be purchased for just $15. The cookbook features 307 recipes in a variety of categories, including Neighborhood Businesses, Appetizers and Beverages, Soups and Salads, Vegetables and Side Dishes, Main Dishes, Breads and Rolls, Desserts, and Cookies and Candy.

There are also pages of helpful hints.

"It was fun to put together," said Lisa Rusch, who chaired the cookbook committee. "People are liking them."

Rusch said the library district was looking for a fundraiser that would bring the district's two communities—Libertyville and Vernon Hills—together. Discussions about the cookbook started about a year ago and a committee was formed.

An in-house designer devised the cookbook's cover design and the various tabs.

"We went and tried to find a cookbook company to meet our needs," said Rusch. The committee ultimately selected Morris Press Cookbooks to print "A Library of Recipes."

To collect the actual recipes, the library district displayed posters and advertised the project on its website. Patrons from both the Cook Park and Aspen Drive Libraries started submitting recipes, and the committee reached out to local businesses to see if they'd like to contribute as well. Recipes were received from businesses like Café Pyrenees and Eclectic Design Source.

The response was great; Rausch said the committee "ended up going well over the number" of recipes they'd aimed for.

At a cookbook kick-off event, local chefs cooked some of the recipes and provided samples to the audience. The sampled recipes included Creme Brulee, Bavarian red cabbage, lentil soup and pumpkin bread pudding.

So far, about 550 cookbooks have been sold—including to people from as far away as Maine and Texas.

Library spokeswoman Gaby Pantle said the proceeds will be used to fund children's programming, add to the libraries' collections and fund author visits, among other things.

The cookbooks are available for purchase through the libraries, and can also be picked up at Café Pyrenees, How Impressive! and Someone's in the Kitchen.

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