Looking for holiday recipes? Try library

By Kelly Kennedy

As we are in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the season, we have time to reflect on certain traditions and possessions we hold dear from our families and friends. My own children in the last few years have taken great interest in my cooking.

I never realized what the impact of planning a special holiday dinner or treat could be for others. They enjoy being a part of the shopping and preparation of these special occasions. It truly has become a family affair.

How do you decide what to cook for your holiday meals? I prepare many of my mother’s, grandmother’s and aunt’s recipes, but have also added some of my own. I find myself making several trips to the grocery store or asking someone else to pick up items, as even with a list inevitably I will forget something.

Have you ever asked your family their favorite item that you prepared? Well, when I asked I received a different response from everyone. This is probably why my menu is lengthy for the holidays. I want to make everyone’s favorite, just as my own mother did.

My daughter and I had a lengthy conversation while preparing a holiday meal in the kitchen. She was curious about the recipes that I have collected over the years. Most are handwritten and have smudges of chocolate or flour on them. They are crammed in a large Ziploc bag.

I shared with her that this means it has been prepared often and treasured. I spoke about my memories of visiting my dear aunt and uncle. As a child my mother, aunt, and myself would converse in the kitchen.

She would always give my mother and myself a pretty recipe card and pen. We would spend the entire visit talking about new recipes and then writing them down on the recipe card. These cards are forever treasured, as I would always write in the corner the owner of the recipe. My daughter was very interested in this and we have decided to go shopping and buy more recipe cards along with the old-style tin recipe card box.

The holidays are always a great time to experiment and add some new recipes to your box. We have many recipe books to explore at the Bartholomew County Public Library, both at the Columbus and Hope branches.

Many traditions are represented here, including Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and others. There are recipes for everyone and for almost any occasion during this season. These would be great resources for expanding your culinary repertoire and helping to build new traditions in your own family.

You will not only find books in the adult section, but also in the children’s department and the teen area. If you enjoy baking cookies, you might want to check out Dorie Greenspan’s book titled “Dorie’s Cookies.” You will find recipes for Italian saucissons and Little Rascals, which are German jam sandwich cookies with walnuts along with many more selections.

The Bartholomew County Area Chapter of the NAACP will be hosting a Kwanzaa Celebration at 6 p.m. Dec. 28 in the Red Room of the library’s Columbus branch, 536 Fifth St. You can bring a side dish and join us in the conference room after the program for a feast.

As you visit the library this holiday season, feel free to take some of these ideas and make your own memories with your friends and families.

Kelly Kennedy is the youth programming specialist at the Bartholomew County Public Library and can be reached at kkennedy@mybcpl.org.