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Cookbook offers tastes of then and now

August 08, 2005|by TONY BUDNY

anthonyb@herald-mail.com

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Thanks to the St. Peter's Women of the Evangelical Church of America in Shepherdstown, anyone can cook and eat like a Shepherdstown resident or chef, past or present.

"Hometown Recipes from Historic Shepherdstown" is a collection of local recipes from restaurants and residents, said Gretchen Weigel, member of WELCA and cookbook chairwoman.

"We called up local businesses to see if they were interested in participating, and most did, except Chinese and Japanese restaurants, who were concerned about the availability of the products they use to make their food," she said.

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Featured recipes include selections from the Bavarian Inn, Cress Creek Golf and Country Club, the Clarion Hotel, vendors from the Shepherdstown Farmers Market and others, Weigel said. More than 365 recipes fill the pages, she said.

Rich Hoffman, executive chef at the Bavarian Inn, explained his attraction to Shepherdstown as a location for fine dining: "This is a great little place. It's a country town, but we still get good business. For a chef, you could move to, say, New York City and work for a good restaurant, but here, we have an opportunity to get some decent exposure in a smaller area," he said.

"This is a big city for tourists, especially around when the leaves change and the (Contemporary American) theater festival. We get people from all around then. People from Washington, D.C., and Baltimore want to get away from the city sometimes and this gives them a great place to go," Hoffman said.

The cookbook is not just about food. It features pictures of historic monuments in Shepherdstown, and histories of Shepherdstown and its Lutheran parish, Weigel said.

"We wanted to find a fundraiser to replace our bazaar that usually helps aid our monthly community projects and, this year, would help fund our church roof repair. It was originally going to be heirloom recipes and someone suggested they be hometown," Weigel said.

The cookbook features no color photographs, a cover that is designed to look like parchment paper and no divider tabs, similar to older cookbooks, Weigel said. It also has recipes from the 1700s and 1800s and an old-style meat cure, she said.

"We spent two or three months working on this book. Nobody has made a book like it around here. Everything from cover to cover is custom designed," she said.

The cover also features a historic photograph of the Thomas Shepherd gristmill from the archives of the mill, she said.

"I got 338 of these books two weeks ago (July 14) and we are now down to 37. They didn't even get into stores until Saturday (July 23)," she said of the cookbook's limited first edition.

"Hometown Recipes from Historic Shepherdstown" is available at Four Seasons Books, Jefferson Security Bank and J Cooper Gallery in Shepherdstown, as well as at Bob's Carry Out in Martinsburg, W.Va.

Weigel said the committee plans to have more copies printed.

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