Cookbook contains a lot of home cookin'

February 13, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

QUINCY, Pa. - A special luncheon for centenarians last year elicited favorite stories from their families about birthdays, anniversaries, picnics and family reunions.

As Mary Steel heard the tales in that room on the campus of Quincy Retirement Community, she realized those celebrations had at least one element in common: food.

Steel's observation has spawned the "Tastes for all Seasons" cookbook, which is being sold to raise funds for renovations to the Colestock Center for skilled nursing and personal care in the community.


"It came from the residents themselves and the families," said Steel, a member of the community's board of directors.

Everyone connected to Quincy Retirement Community, from residents to deliverymen, received a request for recipes.

Soon, 500 responses piled up on Steel's dining room table; looking over them, she "had never been so hungry in my life."

"I remember these recipes as being my mother's recipes," Steel said.

The recipes were for a virtual cornucopia of foods, including a lot of Jell-O salads, foods using cream of mushroom soup and many, many different preparations of corn.

Of course, there also were a lot of mom's special treats.

"The dessert portion was the largest portion," said Mary Reiber, who helped put together the book.

Many of the recipes for, say, chocolate chip cookies were very similar, so book organizers picked one recipe or combined certain aspects of them.

The 400 recipes in the cookbook are those used when women viewed cooking as a motherly duty, according to Steel.

"Everything was from scratch, homemade. You don't get that anymore," said Anne Aclin, whose recipes for blue cheese soup, fudge cake and crispy pretzel bars were published.

The women who sorted, typed and edited the recipes for the book are now sampling them one by one. The dietary department for the community is working to feature some of the foods as well.

This especially affects the people who live in the Colestock Center, which is similar to a traditional nursing home, said Carole Malin, Quincy's executive director.

"Some can reminisce about cooking, but no longer cook," she said.

Malin said those residents' favorite recipes were included along with others from the "busy bees" who live in the campus cottages and cook daily.

Quincy Retirement Community ordered 1,000 cookbooks, and 70 percent of proceeds will benefit the Colestock Center renovations.

Those renovations, mostly to private rooms, started in 2005. Malin anticipates they will wrap up this year.

Steel feels the $10 cookbook is a throwback to the early days of Quincy, when it was an orphanage in the early 1900s. It had an operating bakery that "was a serious source of revenue for the orphanage," Steel said.

"Tastes for all Seasons" can be ordered by calling 717-749-3151, ext. 2201.

Steel feels the cookbook makes a great gift.

She said, "It has turned out so much better than I thought it could be. Every mother ought to get one ..."

"... or grandmother!" added Malin, herself a proud grandma.

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