Taste of Millvale well attended by community
Taste of Millvale attendees shared a sense of camaraderie while sampling recipes at a community table in Grant Avenue Pocket Park.
Millvale Mayor Brian Spoales encouraged guests to introduce themselves to their neighbors at the free May 5 event, in which residents and chefs from local businesses offered “tastes” of their favorite dishes.
“We just wanted to celebrate the overall sense of community,” said Caitlin Driscoll, spokeswoman for Leadership Development Initiative (LDI) class XXV, a group of young professionals responsible for the event celebrating Millvale's 150th birthday.
For $10, visitors could purchase cookbooks featuring residents' recipes, with proceeds benefitting the Millvale Community Library. All 125 books sold out, but people will soon have the opportunity to borrow and purchase them from the library, as well as at popuppittsburgh.com/about-taste-of-millvale.
In addition to recipes, the book contains anecdotes about the submissions and Millvale historical facts.
“When they asked for recipes, two recipes came to mind because they asked for stories: these apricot cookies and my zucchini squares from my best friend of 50 years' mother,” said Tina Walker, Millvale Community Development Corp. board member. She explained that the recipe for her mum's apricot cookies, which she offered that day, came from her Hungarian aunt, who relied on her “good, old-fashioned baking instincts” rather than measurements.
A year prior to her mother's death, they baked the cookies together, so Walker could measure the ingredients and “make sure the recipe was true-to-form to pass down to future generations.”
“Now, you can pass the recipe onto someone you love,” according to her cookbook passage.
“Oh my gosh. This is so good. It's my second piece,” Millvale resident Erma Cook said, while munching on of Walker's cookies. “This (Taste of Millvale) is so nice. When something's going on, I come out.”
Guests found chickpea salad sandwiches and Moroccan mint tea at the Tupelo Honey Teas booth. Shop employee Bryonna Beeson said Taste of Millvale offered guests the chance to try the vegan sandwiches that they might normally avoid.
Josey Buriak of Lawrenceville considered the sandwiches one of her favorite finds. Her friend Nancy Kralik, also of Lawrenceville, liked the cotton candy, which she hadn't eaten since childhood.
At the Gardens of Millvale booth, Denise Rudar, Gardens co-chairwoman, and Reserve resident Duncan MacDiarmid discussed the nettle tea samples Rudar distributed, which she claimed could provide natural allergy relief.
“It's a very obnoxious weed but a very great thing,” she said.
Halfway into the three-hour event, Rolling Pepperoni and Bar 3 — two of 10 “taste” options — ran out of samples. Upon entering the festival, guests received six tickets that they could exchange in return for food.
“The turnout today is way more than what we expected,” said Katt Schuler, Rolling Pepperoni owner, who noted that she saw “new and “different” faces at the event.
Tim Murdoch persuaded his sons Wylie, 6, and Mac, 4, to attend the event by promising them that a face painter would be present. Other entertainment included raffles, chalk drawing and music.
At one point, the crowd sang “Happy Birthday” to Millvale and ate birthday cake. Later, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald issued a Taste of Millvale proclamation.
According to Driscoll, LDI is a nine-month program for “high-potential emerging leaders” throughout Pittsburgh. Taste of Millvale was a PopUp! Pittsburgh project, modeled after Cleveland's Pop Up City concept to “revitalize up and coming neighborhoods by developing a temporary initiative to bring together and entertain residents of that area and bring together visitors and outsiders and work with the business community, as well,” she said.
Driscoll said the goal was for LDI to initiate Taste of Millvale so that the community can sustain it as a future event.
Huntington Bank presented Taste of Millvale in partnership with Neighborhood Allies.
Erica Cebzanov is a Tribune-Review contributor.