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Peters Township Public Library takes patrons on culinary world tour

| Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, 9:02 p.m.
Jasmine Goldband
Pier Lee (left), director of the Peters Township Library, and Shuping Liu will be the guest chefs at the next Peters Township Public Library Cooking Club Taste the World meeting. Lee is holding stir fried chicken with fresh mushrooms, and Liu is holding Chinese pork dumplings. Jasmine Goldband | Tribune-Review

Peters Township Public Library is reaching out to community members through their minds and stomachs.

The library's cooking club introduced a “Taste the World” series this year, featuring guest chefs who teach making authentic dishes from countries around the world. The group's first session on Thai food was held in January. Another one focusing on Chinese cuisine is slated for Feb. 7.

“I'd been thinking about the library's role in society being different than just books,” said Pier Lee, library director and one of February's featured chefs. “It's more like a social place now, and we can enjoy culture together.”

The program is perfect for Peters, with its diverse population, she said.

“It is a melting pot in this area,” she said.

Cooking Club members have met once a month for the past two years at the library to share knowledge about cuisine, discuss cooking trends and share food samples.

The new series features recipes as well as on-site demonstrations and tastings. Other library resources, such as travel books and DVDs, complement the program.

Upcoming programs will feature Irish, Eastern European, Polish and Latin America cuisine. Library staff are accepting suggestions for other countries.

Lee's “Taste of Chinese” event will coincide with the Chinese New Year celebration, which begins on Feb. 10. The evening will include a hands-on cooking demonstration and a display of Chinese costumes.

Lee, who grew up in Hong Kong, plans to prepare mo-ku-chi-pien, or stir-fried chicken with fresh mushrooms. Registration for that event is closed, but the library will be accepting sign-ups for its March program in mid-February.

Jennifer Garrett, 46, of Peters, said while she's always loved to cook, the program has helped her learn tips and techniques she never would have considered otherwise.

“Nobody is a professional cook in any way,” she said of the group. “We're just a bunch of home cooks. But everybody has their own style of cooking. You can learn a lot.”

Garrett plans to teach a class based on her Irish heritage for the “Taste the World” series.

“You always pick up a few little things you didn't know,” she said of the club. “It's kind of nice that we can interact and learn from each other.”

Rachel Weaver is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7948 or rweaver@tribweb.com.

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