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These maple roasted sweet potatoes were one of the recipes recently shared at the Graves-Hume Library in Mendota’s Beloved Recipe Exchange program.

MENDOTA — When was the last time you swung by the library to pick up some maple roasted sweet potatoes or a corn and pea salad?

You can do that every month at Graves-Hume Library in Mendota when they host the Beloved Recipe Exchange, a new program that hasn’t exactly drawn a big crowd — yet.

Nancy Jackson of Mendota regularly attends the recipe exchange along with other programs rolled out by Emily Kofoid, library executive director.

“We’ve done soup, potatoes and a recipe handed down from a family member or friend,” Kofoid said. “We had one that was supposed to tie in with what we read for the book club.”

Kofoid is assembling a folder of recipes that include a variety of dishes, but Jackson said her favorite theme was the hand-me-down recipe night.

“I think it’s pretty neat to have recipes to be handed down from one generation to the next,” Jackson said. “Emily brought her great-grandmother’s (recipe) binder.”

Kofoid said some of the handwritten recipes were so well-read and used, that it was easy to pick out family favorites. Those recipes have since been gathered and put into protective sleeves. Copies were given to Kofoid and other aunts, uncles and cousins.

The binder prompted Jackson to do something similar for her children. Some of her family recipes include instructions that had Kofoid stumped.

“They were talking about how they had the packet of yellow to mix in with the oleo,” Kofoid said.

While oleo, now known as margarine, comes with the yellow coloring, it was a product developed during the shortages and rations of World War II.

“We’ve also talked about family traditions along with the recipes,” Jackson said.

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Graves-Hume Library director Emily Kofoid (left) reviews some recipes with Nancy Jackson of Mendota. The library offers a new program, Beloved Recipe Exchange, for local cooks and diners to share some of their favorite dishes.

While the library might be a good place to start when looking for recipes and cookbooks, it’s not usually the place to go to sample some of the results.

“It was very strange to think about taking food to the library,” Jackson said. “Now I look forward to coming here and eating. It’s an interesting menu.”

Kofoid said shaking things up is another way to get the public to consider the library as a community resource.

“We’re trying to get different interests and do things that don’t cost the library,” Kofoid explained. “We don’t have a speaker or any of those costs.

“The library isn’t just about reading — it’s about community.”

The next meeting for Beloved Recipe Exchange is tentatively scheduled for 6 p.m. July 23. The theme is hors d’oeuvres. Join the fun by bringing a copy of your recipe along with a batch to share. For more information, call the library at (815) 538-5142.

Until then, bon appetit!

Tamara Abbey can be reached by calling or texting (815) 539-5200 or mendota@newstrib.com. Follow her on Twitter @NT_Mendota.

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