As featured this week in the Wednesday Journal’s 40th anniversary edition, we are inviting everyone to add their treasured recipes to a growing virtual community cookbook. It’s meant to bring together and reflect the many cultures, tastes, and traditions of the Oak Park community.
We know recipes, especially those passed down through generations, can build connections and a sense of community. They evoke fond memories and family heritage, and they often come with meaningful stories.
Like the Street Style Elotes (pictured) that Librarian Beronica Puhr has shared. Along with the ingredients (featuring corn, now in season!) and the steps to cook and assemble them in less than 15 minutes, Puhr writes:
“Growing up, it was always a treat for my family and I to get elotes from the street vendors. I can still remember chasing the ‘eloteros’ down the street shouting out the joyous phrase, ‘ELOTES!!!’ Fast forward to present day and I could not locate a nearby elotero or find a store that would make one with the same, satisfying flavors. I thought all hope was lost, when my mother decided to teach me how to make them (mothers know all)!”
Many Recipes, Many Stories
Puhr’s Street Style Elotes is one of the recipes now in our virtual anthology, called Many Recipes, Many Stories. The cookbook grew out of the library’s Many Voices, Many Stories summer reading series, which centers around stories of immigration.
Librarian Juanita Harrell, who leads this summer’s series, says that the library’s original plan was to have a big community potluck at the end of summer. But when the pandemic shut down buildings and large gatherings, the series programming pivoted online, including author events and this new community cookbook.
Other recipes include Library Trustee Mary Anne Mohanraj’s Sri Lankan Beef and Potato Curry. “This was my favorite dish growing up, the one my mother always makes for me when I come home,” she writes in her accompanying story behind the dish. See all the recipes »
“Oak Park is a diverse and open community,” Librarian Rose Barnes told the Wednesday Journal. “Trying to capture that spirit in a cookbook is interesting to me.”
How to submit a recipe
The goal is to have all recipes submitted by the end of August. Library staff would then compile them into a free ebook. Anyone can submit a recipe, and while stories and photos are appreciated, they are not necessary.
To get started, please visit our Many Voices, Many Stories page, where you can watch a video and find the link to submit a recipe. And please know that you can always contact library staff for help if needed. We look forward to reading (and making) your special dishes!