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Delish! Whitehall library's Cookbook Club to be featured on Rachael Ray show

| Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, 11:00 p.m.
Members of the Whitehall Public Library's Cookbook Club participate in a Skype call during a taping of 'The Rachael Ray Show' in which the library was featured. The show will air Feb. 23, 2018.
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Members of the Whitehall Public Library's Cookbook Club participate in a Skype call during a taping of 'The Rachael Ray Show' in which the library was featured. The show will air Feb. 23, 2018.
Cheryl Priano, a member of the Whitehall Public Library's Cookbook Club, was flown to New York City for a taping of 'The Rachael Ray Show' in which the library's club was featured. The show will air Feb. 23, 2018.
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Cheryl Priano, a member of the Whitehall Public Library's Cookbook Club, was flown to New York City for a taping of 'The Rachael Ray Show' in which the library's club was featured. The show will air Feb. 23, 2018.

The hottest restaurant in town might just be a local library.

That comes as no surprise to members of the Whitehall Public Library's Cookbook Club, who will be featured on the Feb. 23 episode of Rachael Ray.

Following an email inquiry about the group, producers of the daytime talk show visited the tiny library at 100 Borough Park Drive and filmed an impromptu cookbook club discussion about Ray's latest book, “Everyone Is Italian on Sunday.”

The 15-person club went about its usual business, which consists of chewing the fat while enjoying a feast assembled using recipes in the month's featured cookbook. When bellies are full, members evaluate the title, judging its recipes, ease of use, layout and design.

“It's one thing to check out a cookbook and make one or two recipes yourself, but this club allows you to taste almost 20 dishes in the span of 90 minutes,” says Brandon Taper, Whitehall's adult services coordinator. “And the cleanup is much easier.”

Taper, who admits to having zero culinary skills, helps the organization by setting pretty tables and keeping the atmosphere light and friendly. During the film crew's visit, folks “talked chop” for more than three hours inside the library-turned-bistro.

The three-minute segment, which is part of an episode spotlighting cookbook clubs around the country, will air at 11 a.m. Feb. 23 on WPXI in Pittsburgh.

The library plans to have a catered watch party for staff and the foodie forum participants.

One of those members, Cheryl Priano, was flown to New York City for the taping while other members Skyped from Whitehall.

Ray chatted with the club about her love for Pittsburgh (especially Primanti Bros. sandwiches, of course), her personal favorite recipes and plans for a new book.

“With all of the arrangements that were made for me — the dressing room, hair and makeup, communication with the kind and thoughtful producers of the show — I was taken care of and made to feel at ease,” says Priano, who has been a member of the club since its formation in 2010 and leads the selection of cookbooks and recipes. “It was an experience that I will never forget and I was so proud and honored to be able to represent our wonderful library.”

Kristy Locklin is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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