Flavors of the past return at Elmwood Park library’s recipe exchange

Memories and recipes of food made by loved ones will intermingle at Elmwood Park Public Library’s upcoming Retro Recipe Exchange.

The event will take place at 7 p.m. Aug. 5 at the library, 1 Conti Parkway, and residents are encouraged to bring their favorite comfort food recipes. Amy Alessio, a local librarian and collector of vintage cookbooks, will lead the event.

“I’m going to give a talk about vintage cookbooks, some food we love and some we laugh about,” she said.

In addition to vintage cookbooks, Alessio gives talks about different food people use to make over the years and their historical significance.

“I once I gave a talk about the history of Tunnel of Fudge Cake, different types of refrigerator cakes, some of the cobblers that were popular, casseroles and things like that,” she said.

She encourages participants to bring their own favorite recipes to talk about, exchange with others and talk about why they enjoy following this recipe. She said in the past events like these take on lives of their own with debates rising from the audience about the best Jell-O recipe, best Kolacky (a type of fruit-filled cookie) recipe and other kinds of food.

“They want to be around the same people with the same memories, intensity and passion,” she said.

Alessio said the recipes, who made the food and how eating it made the person feel is at the heart of what comfort food is all about.

“It’s not the flavor, but it’s the memory,” she said. “You remember what you ate at a [baby] shower or a family reunion.”

All kinds of food recipes from breakfast to dessert and everything in between are welcome at Retro Recipe Exchange. Alessio said she will make samples of one of her favorite food recipes for people to taste.

“Come and enjoy the memories of favorite flavors of the past,” she said.

To attend Retro Recipe Exchange please register by calling 708-395-1217.

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