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Ford City Library welcomes public to international cookie extravaganza

| Monday, Dec. 10, 2012, 10:47 a.m.
Louis B. Ruediger
Connie Ruffner of Ford City prepares a base for walnut filled longhorn cookies. Louis B. Ruediger | Leader Times
Louis B. Ruediger
Ford City Library assistant librarian Jillian Larko shows a tin of German nut cookies, donated for the Cookies Around the World party. A verity of ethnic cook books are on display near the front door. Louis B. Ruediger | Leader Times
Louis B. Ruediger
Cookbooks from the Ford City Library display ethnic treats from around the world. Louis B. Ruediger | Leader Times

FORD CITY — Connie Ruffner's late Aunt Dolly wasn't Czech but she sure could bake a delicious batch of Czechoslovakian nut horn cookies every Christmas.

“That's so typical of what I see around here,” said Ruffner of Ford City. “The one thing I always found the most amusing — everyone making everyone else's cookies — it doesn't matter what your nationality is.”

Ruffner, who is also not Czech, will be carrying on the tradition.

She is making that same perennial Czechoslovakian favorite from the recipe that has been in her family for generations to take to the Ford City Library for its “Cookies Around the World” Christmas cookies extravaganza.

Everyone in the community is invited to the cookie event at the library from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday. It is free to the public.

Bring some of your own cookies and share old family recipes or just drop by for the camaraderie and the treats, There will be seasonal music being played. They'll be talking about the library's plans for 2013 as well.

The library is expecting to have dozens of different cookies borrowed from cultures from all over the world.

Already on the menu: European gingerbread; Italian pizzelles; German lebkuchen; Scottish lemon shortbread cookies; Scandinavian almond cookies; German butterball cookies; and Slavic walnut frosties.

There may even be some Slovak laskonky; Hungarian palacsinta; Polish kolaczki; Italian biscotti or cannoli; Czech linecka kolecka or good old American frosted sugar or chocolate chip cookies.

“Southwestern Pennsylvania is the cookie capital of the world,” said Ruffner. “I've gone to other places and they just don't do it like here. There aren't as many cookie recipes being shared by so many different ethnic groups.”

“It starts with someone's grandmother's recipe,” she added. “You share it.”

“And the next thing you know an Irish person is making a Slovak cookie. It's wonderful.”

Ford City Library Director Anita Bowser said the cookie program replaces the library's ethnic dinner program. It had to be discontinued because of a lack of kitchen facilities, she said.

“The ethnic dinners were so popular so we anticipate this will resonate with everyone as well,” said Bowser. “We thought people would like to end the year with dessert. Bring in their recipes and cookies and share family memories and traditions. It's also a way to showcase the ethnic cookbooks we have at the library.”

Mitch Fryer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303 or mfryer@tribweb.com.

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