We’re Sweet on Our Library Volunteers

Read Charlotte Canelli’s column in the February 8, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Note: This column was written before the 2nd Annual Volunteer Appreciation Tea. The event was postponed until Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2013. All sweets and appreciation will be the same as ‘advertised.’

On Friday, February 8 we are celebrating our volunteers at the Morrill Memorial Library. We’ve invited them to the 2nd Annual Volunteer Appreciation Tea where they will spend time with us between 10 am and 2 pm in the library’s Simoni Room.

Our first annual tea was such a success in 2012. It was also oh, so delicious. Library staff and trustees baked a plethora of sweets. There was a catch to the task, however. The recipe had to be from a cookbook available on our library shelves or through the Minuteman Library Network.
Each dessert was featured with the name of the cookbook, the recipe and the baker. Library staff was on hand throughout the day to greet and thank our volunteers personally.

Last year’s desserts included everything from cheesecake to macarons. (Yes, that’s macarons which are different from the traditional macaroons.)

This year’s selection for our volunteers rivals last year’s selection with plenty of new additions and variety.

April Cushing, Adult Services Librarian, Bonnie Wyler, Outreach and Literacy Librarian and Irene Gotovich, Circulation and Technical Services Assistant baked luscious cakes.

Bonnie created a Flourless Chocolate Cake from one of the newest and hottest cookbooks, “The Smitten Kitchen” (2012.) Author Deb Perelman is a cook, blogger and photographer – not necessarily in that order and she didn’t start out as a professional in any of those fields. Perelman loved to cook so much that she started a blog (smittenkitchen.com) and won awards with it. Her long-awaited cookbook is in real demand. Be sure to put a reserve on this book and wait for it – it will be worth it. (Unlike many of the other cookbooks in this column, Perelman’s is not just about desserts or baking but includes a gamut of recipes.)

Irene Gotovich baked several desserts and one of them is Deep, Dark, Spicy Gingerbread from “Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery and Café” (2010) by Harvard University alumna Joanne Chang. Joanne Chang knows that those of us who live near Boston love our desserts. With a degree in economics, Chang opened the Flour Bakery and Café at the Fort Point Channel in Boston. (There are three locations now.) Chang has written for the right population and she’s made us even happier with her cookbook that includes essential baking tips.

April Cushing had a hit last year with a carrot cake that disappeared quickly. She guaranteed success again with Carrot Cake with Ginger Mascarpone Frosting from “The Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust” (2012) by Ina Garten. Ina Garten is April’s favorite cookbook author and need I say more.

This author herself, director of the library, baked a few cakes too. One was a recipe chosen from a cookbook that I have had for nearly 20 years. My confession is that this was my first time baking from it. While many of my books didn’t make through my moves (I preferred to donate them rather than move them), “Cakewalk: Loving Spoonfuls from a Southern Kitchen” (1994) by Robbin Gourley has survived all of the moves. The recipe I chose was Southern Coconut Layer Cake from the book that Gourley illustrated herself. The whimsical artistry makes the book even more special. It is not available at our library but several in the Minuteman Library Network own it.

Obviously, cakes aren’t the only sweets we love.

Diane Phillips, Technical Services Librarian, baked a Thyme, Lemon and Sea Salt shortbread from “Savory Baking: Warm and Inspiring Recipes for Crisp, Crumbly, Flaky, Pastries” (2009) by Mary Cech. Cech’s baking book features recipes for strudels, crackers, scones and others that mix in savory ingredients such as herbs, meats and vegetables. Even pepper and cheese! It’s an adventurous book for bakers of all skill levels.

Patty Bailey, Circulation Assistant, baked Butter-Scotchies from “Joanne Fluke’s Lake Eden Cookbook: Hannah Swensen’s Recipes from the Cookie Jar” (2010). Fans of the Hannah Swensen mystery series will love the recipes from the fictionalized bakery in Lake Eden. There are lots of cozy concoctions in this book and while most of them are cakes, cookies and muffins there are some easy meals included.

In 2012, Harriet Simons, Technical Services Librarian, baked The Best Ever Cake which was a recipe from the Morrill Memorial Library cookbook, “Novel Dishes: Favorite Recipes” (1997). This year she baked Black ‘n White Cheesecake Bars from “Taste of Home Family Collection Cookbook”. Marie Lydon, Reference Librarian, baked Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprints from “Cooking Light Way to Bake: the Complete Visual Guide to Light Baking” (2011). Cooking Light’s approach is a technical one that combines learning to use the right proportion of ingredients and the science behind baking to get perfect results. There are over 600 color photographs in the book.

Linda McCusker, the library’s Administrative Assistant, baked Butterscotch Toffee Brownies from the “All American Cookie Book” (2001) by Nancy Baggett. There are recipes from every nook and cranny of the country to fill your cookie jar including New York Black and Whites to Key Lime Frosties from Florida. Joanne Rabbitt, Circulation Librarian, baked Chocolate-Kissed Cookies from “Creative Kitchen: Food Gifts to Make of Give” (2011 – Leisure Arts) which also includes ideas on wrapping and packaging food gifts.

Shelby Warner, Reference Librarian, baked Cranzac Cookies from “Ripe for Dessert: 100 Outstanding Desserts with Fruit – Inside, Outside and Alongside” by David Lebovitz (2003). Lebovitz was Alice Water’s former pastry chef at Berkeley, California’s Chez Panisse. Cynthia Rudolph, Circulation Librarian and the library’s graphic artist, baked Dark Chocolate Clusters from aclassic – “Joy of Cooking” by Irma Rombauer whose original cookbook debuted in 1936 and hasn’t been out of print since.
Of course, not all sweets are baked. Norma Logan, Literacy Coordinator, made a no-bake Cherry Cookie Torte from “Everyday Easy Cakes and Cupcakes: Cheesecakes, Muffins, Brownies and Sponge Cakes” (2010) by DK Publishing.

We love our volunteers at the library. They volunteer over 6500 hours per year teaching English to our Literacy students, delivering books to our homebound patrons, and doing special projects all over the library. Join us in giving them a very sweet thank you on February 8.

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