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Recipes sought for library cookbook

by Sherry Inabinet
Executive Director
Middlesex Library

For novice cooks to gourmet chefs, the library cookbook collection in any public library is one of the most heavily browsed and circulated collections. It seems that everyone likes to read and try new recipes. Many faithfully look forward to the recipes in newspapers and magazines, on television shows, and from online sources. We look forward to potluck dinners, often a source of new recipes.

Many of us read cookbooks like a novel and have a cookbook collection numbering in the hundreds. Patrons often tell us how much they enjoyed a particular cookbook, and a few have even brought us samples of a great recipe found from within the pages. Occasionally we receive reference questions asking us to locate a copy of a particular recipe.

It is with this knowledge that the Middlesex County Public Library plans to publish our first cookbook, which will be available in the fall. The library has discussed this cookbook for over a year. We want it to be special, a class act, and we believe it will be.

For starters, Kathleen Noffsinger has generously allowed us to use her art for the cover. We have selected her famous, delightful signature blue crab. We will also be utilizing thumbnails of some of her other art on our dividers. 

Our product will be published by a noted Iowa company that specializes in cookbooks. Per the request of patrons surveyed, it will have a very sturdy wire-enforced spiral binding, not the often faulty comb binding that seems to be a trademark of so many organization-published cookbooks.

In addition to you, our most important contributors, we are seeking recipes from many of your favorite authors and from our outstanding Middlesex restaurants.

Now what we need to make this cookbook so very special is your recipes. We have so many great cooks in our area. Whether or not you are a regular library patron or even a resident of this county, we look forward to receiving your recipes.

Submit as many as you desire and we will make every effort to include as many as possible. You may pick up recipe forms at either branch of the library or you may enter your recipe on any 8½-by-11-inch piece of paper. 

Simply state the title of your recipe, list the ingredients, give preparation instruction, and indicate the number of servings. Include your name, which will be printed in the book (you will be a published author and indexed by your last name!), and your phone number, which will not be published. If we have questions we will use it to contact you. You may also write a 2-3 line story about your recipe, its history, source, or whatever makes it special. 

The cookbook committee (Carol Clark, Ellen Crews, Connie Harris, John Johnston, Lillian Svetahor and Sherry Inabinet) request that you get your recipes to the library by June 30. You may bring them in person; mail them to MCPL, P.O. Box 189, Urbanna VA 23175; or email them to

So, whether your specialty is “Rivah” cooking or Southern, New England, Midwestern, foreign, breads, desserts, holiday, vegetarian, meat, ethnic, party, etc., we look forward to receiving your recipes and thank you in advance for your support of our cookbook. 

We encourage you to start thinking about your Christmas shopping. Our cookbook will make a cherished gift for you, and your friends and family. If our cookbook contains your recipes, including family favorites, it will be an extra-special present!

If you have questions, contact the library at 758-5717 or 776-7362.

posted 06.03.2009

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