Lakeland Homemade Cookbook Offers 350 Recipes From Residents And Businesses
by James Coulter
Are you looking for a new recipe to prepare for your next meal? Have you considered making a buffalo chicken queso dip? Or broccoli salad? Or how about marinated cheese? All of these recipes and more can be found in a cookbook provided by the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce.
“Lakeland Homemade” offers more than 350 recipes, all provided by Lakeland residents, business owners, and other community members. The cookbook features recipes for main dishes, appetizers, desserts, and more.
The cookbook was released last November by the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce and compiled from submissions provided by city residents and business owners. The book was created not only to help support local businesses and organizations, but to also foster a sense of community by collecting favorite recipes from members of the community.
“It is a way to get the citizens of the community in the home in a different way as well as to create a community feel,” explained Darla Sechrest Pettaway, Chief Development Officer for the Lakeland Chamber Foundation. “It incentivizes businesses and individuals within the community.”
While Darla hasn’t tried every single recipe, she has tried many of them. Some sound weird at first such as the marinated cheese, but once you try them, you discover that they’re surprisingly better than expected, she said.
“I have tried so many of them myself and they are delicious!” she said. “One of my favorites is Mara’s Marinated Cheese. When I first heard it, I didn’t even want to look at it, but after I tried it, it was really good.”
She also tried many of the crockpot recipes. They allowed her to use her crockpot more often, as well as to prepare meals easily without having to wait over a hot stove. All she needs to do is turn the crockpot on and have it cook.
By far, her favorite recipes were the desserts. As someone with a real sweet tooth, she especially loved the Chocolate Chip Blondies.
Being able to try out so many different and new recipes from throughout the local community was one of the reasons why the Chamber decided to create the cookbook in the first place. They wanted to create something that brought the community closer together, and nothing accomplishes that goal better than food.
“One of the functions of the Chamber is to create a sense of community,” she said. “[The book] was an interesting way for our Chamber to help businesses their names in the homes of the Lakeland community.”
Kathy Guin, Volunteer Coordinator for Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine, has many recipes she collected over the years. She received many of them when she and her husband first married and she wanted to learn to cook for themselves.
One of the recipes she submitted was for Broccoli Salad. Many times, she would visit someplace, and people would ask her to bring the same food every time. Those recipes proved to be her most popular, she said.
“A lot of people are so busy they do not have time to sit in the kitchen all day,” she said. “So I wanted to make it easy for them yet [also] delicious and tasted like it took hours to make.”
As her organization works closely with the Chamber, she and her staff were approached to submit recipes. She sent an e-mail requesting recipes from her fellow staff members and volunteers, and they, in turn, submitted many recipes that were added to the cookbook.
“You can go anywhere to buy a cookbook, but when you find a cookbook in your community with recipes from people who live in their community, it is special to make it and bring home the home,” she said. “I love those cookbooks because you get it from hand it down recipes rather than those you find in magazines or on the internet.”
Julie Roggeman, Special Projects Associate for the PACE Center, submitted a recipe for buffalo chicken queso dip. When she was approached to submit recipes, she asked her staff of over 20 members to submit their own.
“We love the chamber,” she said. “They have been so wonderful for our organization. They saw they needed some recipes, and we wanted to give back to them. So we provided them recipes so they can fill up their cookbook.”
Roggeman felt that the cookbook was an opportunity to help promote a sense of community, not only by allowing people within the community to share their favorite recipes but specifically to share recipes created especially for the community.
“I know for all of us, the recipes that we submitted, it is about the families and clients [like] a meal for your family,” she said. “Whether you are having dinner or friends over, all the recipes that we submitted were about the quality time we are spending with family and friends.”
If you’re looking for something new to make for dinner, then consider purchasing this book. Not only will you find something new you’ve probably never tried before, but it will come from someone you probably know.
“I would suggest that everyone either purchase the book,” Roggeman said. “Some of our colleagues, when they submitted them, they were for recipes I haven’t even heard of, so if you are going for it, if you are tired of making the same dish, then this is a great opportunity.”
“Lakeland Homemade” is available through the Lakeland Chamber website. Each book costs $15 while supplies last. For more information, visit their website at: https://business.lakelandchamber.com/store/lakeland-homemade-cookbook