ShareThis Page
South Hills

Whitehall club whips up enthusiasm for cookbooks

| Monday, Nov. 26, 2018, 1:21 p.m.
Pittsburgh cooking legend Chris Fennimore visited Whitehall Public Library.
Stephanie Hacke | For the Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh cooking legend Chris Fennimore visited Whitehall Public Library.
Pittsburgh cooking legend Chris Fennimore visited Whitehall Public Library.
Stephanie Hacke | For the Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh cooking legend Chris Fennimore visited Whitehall Public Library.

Pittsburgh cooking legend Chris Fennimore was delighted as he walked into the Whitehall Community room earlier this fall.

The main table was lined with harvest soup, mushroom Marsala, spinach pie, milk and honey bread and coconut flan — all recipes from his latest cookbook, “Simple Pleasures,” which he co-authored with Daniel Aguera.

“It was like looking in the mirror. It was all these things that I normally make myself,” said Fennimore, creator and host of QED Cooks since the 1990s.

Fennimore was the latest celebrity guest to visit Whitehall Public Library’s Cookbook Club. The 18-member club meets once a month, and the small group has done big things, including appearing on an episode of the “Rachael Ray Show” in February.

After appearing on the show, cookbook club members wanted to “top themselves,” said Brandon Taper, the library’s adult services coordinator. Bringing in a local cooking guru such as Fennimore was a surefire way to do it.

“He’s been such a fixture of Pittsburgh,” said Taper. “I knew they’d want to have him here.”

Since their TV appearance, the club has gotten some new members. Such growth could continue, as members are quick to say Ray pinky swore she would come visit them one day.

Cheryl Priano, who has been a member of the club since its 2010 founding, coordinates the monthly cookbook and always tries to find something different. Each member reads the book and makes a recipe they then bring to the monthly meetup.

It’s a nice way to try a variety of recipes at one time, members say. They also rate the books.

“Most of us love food and love cooking,” said Betty Steele, of Baldwin Borough, a member of the club for eight years. “And we do have an awful lot of fun.”

Fennimore’s visit was a little different, as members don’t normally have the author present to try their dishes.

“I was nervous at first, but when he came in, it made me feel very much at ease,” Priano said.

For Fennimore, the event was a validation, of sorts. He’s made 100s of cookbooks, always using recipes submitted by others. His latest features personal recipes and stories.

He said club members recreated his dishes perfectly.

“It was so spot on, I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “I was like, ‘Phew, this works!’”

Fennimore enjoyed his time with the club so much, he returned to Whitehall in mid-November to speak to more than 100 people about his book.

“The other thing I realized was that I wanted to move to the South Hills and join their book club,” he said with a hearty laugh.

For more, see whitehallpubliclibrary.org/cookbook-club/

Stephanie Hacke is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me