Cooking Up a Contest

Editor’s note: Tie this contest in with your cooking programs, or use it to inspire new programming. One commenter on the contest’s website mentioned that her library was hosting a recipe tasting to determine which recipe should be submitted—a great idea!

The American Library Association, through a new relationship with Sterling Epicure, publishers of The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook, is supporting The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Recipe Contest being held in honor of the book’s release. The contest will offer library patrons a chance to win an all-expense-paid trip to meet the book’s authors, Discovery-Planet Green reality TV stars Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge—“The Fabulous Beekman Boys”—in Sharon Springs, New York; take a tour of the Beekman 1802 Farm; and have dinner with Kilmer-Purcell and Ridge. In addition, the librarian who submits the winning patron’s entry will win a Beekman 1802 gift basket, with a retail value of $250.

All entries must be received by November 1. See the official entry form (PDF) or contest website for more information. Promotional materials, including a Web icon to embed on library websites, are available on the Atyourlibrary.org website.

Explaining their emphasis on the participation of the library community in the contest, Ridge and Kilmer-Purcell said, “Libraries are key components to a community, and we hope that The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Recipe Cookbook will help each local library develop their own community of cooks who want to share their heirloom recipes and the stories behind them.”

Ridge and Kilmer-Purcell are the founders of Beekman 1802. Their decision to leave city life behind has been chronicled in their television show and Kilmer-Purcell’s national bestseller The Bucolic Plague. In the words of the authors, “When we moved to Beekman Farm, over hill, over dale and twenty miles from the nearest grocery store, the first lesson of our newly bucolic lives was that we would need to relinquish the overly indulgent and instantly gratified existence to which we had become accustomed. There is no twenty-four hour diner, no corner deli, and certainly no delivery in our corner of upstate New York.”

As they grew familiar with the territory, however, “we learned which neighboring farm could provide fresh cow’s milk, where to go when the maple sap started running, and the closely guarded locations of the wild leek patches.” Their rural surroundings provided the inspirations for creative recipes. “In the spring, the desire to devour the essence of each sweet pea led us to the recipe for pea pod risotto. The long verdant beans of summer became our green bean slaw. Autumn meant stuffed apple dumplings …”

The book showcases heirloom fruits and vegetables and offers heirloom recipes from the farm, family, and friends. It includes a section in the back of each chapter where readers can personalize the book with their own treasured recipes, creating a keepsake to hand down to family members. The recipes include springtime pea pod risotto and strawberry shortcake, as well as braised collards and chicken and dumplings.

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