MOUNT WASHINGTON — If you want tried-and-true recipes worthy of feeding a hungry crowd, buy a community cookbook.
If you want a really good community cookbook, buy one 53 years in the making.
"We did it on old-fashioned type writer, and stitched it together," said Linda Pescosolido of the first edition of "Mountain Cookery," which she compiled in 1963 with her sister, Jane. "It didn't last very well, but there are a couple still in existence."
In 1963, Pescosolido was a young mother, newly married, who liked to cook, she said. She and her sister thought it would be fun to ask friends, relatives and neighbors in the town of Mount Washington to contribute their favorite recipes and sell the book at the annual Mt. Washington Church Fair. The fair, a decades-long tradition, is a once-a-year, town-wide event.
This year, the cookbook's second addition will make its debut at the fair, held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 6. Many of the original recipes are still in print, with a few new ones added, and the book itself is markedly more sturdy. With a hardcover and binding, "Mountain Cookery" can now withstand some grease stains.
The book will be available for purchase at the fair for $12 or two for $20, according to Pescosolido.
The cookbook has more than 100 recipes and is organized into easy-to-use categories: Appetizers and beverages; soups and salads; vegetables and side dishes; main dishes; breads and rolls; desserts, cookies and candies; and this and that — a catchall comprising dressings, marinades, preserves, sauces, relishes and snacks.
"There are a lot of very good recipes in the book," said Pescosolido, who returned to the project this time around with her daughter, Pamela. "Some of these are still family favorites."
There are many recipes that Pescosolido cherishes in the book, but her mother-in-law's cream cheese pie is a favorite.
"I make it for every family holiday, just about," she said of the pie with a graham cracker crust.
The cookbook is a record of the families who call the small town home — with notes on recipes, like the one for Slovenian Chicken Soup: "Violet Ramsey, the mother and grandmother who nurtured us all, made this soup with homemade Mochinc noodles ..."
"Mount Washington is a very community-minded town that has one little church that is just open in summer time," said Pescosolido who has a summer home in the community and deep family roots there. "We have this fair every year as way to keep the church going. The whole community gets together to put on this town fair, everybody contributes."
Nana's Cream Cheese Pie
Courtesy of Pam Pescosolido and "Mountain Cookery"
1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 lb. butter
1 Tbs sugar
Mix together well and press into pie plate. Freeze for 10 minutes.
12 oz. cream cheese
6 Tbs. whole milk or light cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Whip the cream cheese and then whip in eggs. Blend in vanilla, then sugar and milk/cream. Mix until well blended. Pour into chilled pie shell. Bake 325 degrees for 30-35 minutes until finger lightly touched center does not leave mark. Cool for 20 minutes then ...
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbs. sugar
Whisk all ingredients together, then spread carefully over slightly cooled pie. Be sure to spread until touching crust. Bake for 5 more minutes. Refrigerate for 4-6 hours before serving.
If you go ...
What: Mt. Washington Church Fair: Purchase cookbook, jams, homemade goods; family fun; live music and activities
Where: 116 East St., Mount Washington
When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 6