Harper Woods Library to host monthly recipe exchanges

By: Brendan Losinski | Advertiser Times | Published January 23, 2018

 Cooks and bakers from Harper Woods, including, from left, Sue Collman, Clemme Jackson, Suzanne Kent, Patricia Gay and Rosemary Gugino are coming together at the Harper Woods Public Library for monthly recipe exchanges to share their favorite cooking secrets.

Cooks and bakers from Harper Woods, including, from left, Sue Collman, Clemme Jackson, Suzanne Kent, Patricia Gay and Rosemary Gugino are coming together at the Harper Woods Public Library for monthly recipe exchanges to share their favorite cooking secrets.

Photo provided by Suzanne Kent

HARPER WOODS — The Harper Woods Public Library wants people to share their best treat, meal or old family secret with its new series of recipe exchanges.

The first of such exchanges took place Jan. 17, and the remainder will take place at 1:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month until April. Those visiting can bring their favorite recipes to share, and they can pick up some new ideas from everyone else taking part.

“It’s something new, and it’s for anyone who’s interested in cooking and recipes, and for the first meeting, we’re asking people to bring a recipe that has some sort of special story attached to it, like belonging to a grandmother or a favorite aunt, or was maybe a family recipe,” explained Suzanne Kent, adult services librarian.

Kent will lead the exchanges, and they will take place in the community room on the library’s lower level. The library administrators tried to kick off the event in December with a cookie exchange, but they canceled it due to snow. The exchange program could be extended based on interest.

“We’re trying it for January through April. We want to see what people want,” said Kent before the first exchange occurred. “We’ll be asking those who take part what they would like to see. This might turn into a sort of book club for cookbook lovers, or we might have a big cook-off at the end. We’re still seeing what works best.”

Among those who planned to take part in the first exchange was Sue Collman, a Harper Woods resident who has been a longtime fan of the library and its programs.

“I like cooking, and it’s fun to socialize. and when there’s a place right down the block, it’s a wonderful opportunity,” remarked Collman. “I do the book club there and I’ve done quite a few things there, especially since I retired. The library is a great resource, particularly if you don’t have a lot of money to spend on activities. Harper Woods is a small community, but the library is fantastic and is right in the middle of the community for people and has lots of activities always going on.”

Collman, speaking before the event took place, was excited to share one of her favorite creations with others, and she hoped others would give her some new ideas for her own kitchen.

“I will be bringing my patriotic jello salad which is great for the Fourth of July or Memorial Day or similar times. It’s an easy recipe, and it’s a little bit of summer for people in the middle of winter. It’s red, white and blue jello, with blueberries and strawberries in it,” explained Collman. “Anytime I’ve made it, it’s been a big hit.”

The idea for the exchange grew out of previous baking and food-based programs that the library has run that demonstrated an interest among library patrons and other Harper Woods residents.

“The classes that I’ve done, like the candy demonstrations and other cooking classes I’ve done, have been very popular here at the library,” said Kent. “People expressed interest in having more programs related to cooking here. These sorts of classes have proven to be a big draw, and people like learning how to make sweets and treats, and it’s very fun.”

Kent hopes people will take advantage of the new program, and that it will grow into a library favorite.

“I have great interest in cooking, and if you’re passionate about cooking and like to talk about food, this is the opportunity for you,” said Kent. “It’s always fun to share some family recipes. I know of many similar programs, which have been tried out at other libraries, and they have been very successful.”

Collman advised others to not be shy and to take the opportunity to meet others with similar interests in a low-pressure and fun environment.

“I hope people come on down and give it a try,” she said. “It can be hard the first time when you don’t know anybody; that’s how it was the first time I tried the book club. We all like to eat, and it’s a great way to meet new people and get involved in the local community.”