Nov. 28 Waynesboro cookbook

November 28, 2001

Cooking up a new tradition


Looking to cook up some revenue for the Waynesboro Historical Society, a handful of women have cobbled together a new book bubbling over with recipes from the local country club to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.


"Culinary Traditions: A Taste of Waynesboro, Pennsylvania" contains directions for 550 concoctions and is a gastronomical dream, with a twist.

Adding to this good eatin' brew are historical nuggets to satisfy the mind while tempting the taste buds with a hearty batch of soups, sides, main dishes and desserts.

"Many people gave us tidbits, 'this is my mother's recipe and we always served it on Christmas Day,' " says Joyce Thompson, one of five women on the cookbook committee that spearheaded the project. Thompson is the wife of Herald-Mail employee Dave Thompson. "We could get canned things they put in, but we chose to do it this way because it reflects the history."


The finished product, with a price of $17.50, is very much an historical society cookbook. Complementing recipes are historical abstracts about Waynesboro landmarks, as well as photos and occasional notes explaining the genesis of some dishes.

In organizing the book, Andrea Struble and the committee cast a wide net by inviting not only Waynesboro-area residents but well-known chefs and restaurants to contribute recipes for regional favorites.

Schmankerl Stube, the Hagerstown restaurant specializing in Bavarian food, is represented.

So is Michael Mahr, executive chef at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center in Shepherdstown, W.Va.

"I think we thought we'd get 200, 250 (recipes)," Thompson says. "But they just kept coming and coming."

The coup came with responses from the Pennsylvania Governor's mansion and the White House. First Lady Laura Bush supplied the guacamole recipe that leads off the cookbook and a main dish featuring a cornucopia of vegetables called Farmer's Market.

Former Gov. Tom Ridge, now U.S. director of homeland security, sent along a mushroom soup recipe that is a staple of the Ridge family Thanksgiving, along with an explanation of the tradition.

Struble says compiling personal anecdotes added to the experience of fashioning the book, particularly when she recalls one conversation with a gentleman who had a recipe to share but did not have it written down.

"He said no one ever wrote it down," Struble says. "And now it is. In a way, the book preserves a couple of oral traditions that were written down."

There was one hold-out: Paul Newman, whose Newman's Own company did not respond to the committee's queries.

But Waynesboro Country Club chef Phil Cordell submitted four recipes, from hot crab dip to zucchini bread.

As much as he helped fill its pages, he says the book is just as helpful for him.

"It's nice that the local people can contribute and then see the recipes that other people are doing in the area," he says. "I think it opens up variety for people. People have traditions in their family and it's nice to see what different families and different backgrounds bring to others. I can see what someone else is doing, little variations, and can try something different."

Residents were asked to send up to five recipes, which were then assembled by category. Some sent dishes that came from mothers, aunts, brothers or sisters, and one recipe was submitted from Rome - a carbonara sent by a friend of Struble's sister.

Out of an initial order of 500 cookbooks, more than half have been sold. Struble and Thompson say it is gratifying to see people rallying around a book that is functional and raises funds for the historical society.

"It's not just recipes," Thompson says. "We wanted people to use it, but how many cookbooks do you sit and read the little tidbits?"

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