Taste some sweet Colorado creations at the Bookworm’s event for the Junior League of Denver’s new cookbook
Junior League of Denver cookbooks are a kitchen staple. They have been providing comfort and togetherness through home cooked meals since the 1970s. Now there’s a whole new set of delicious recipes ready to fill your kitchen.
The Bookworm of Edwards is hosting the Junior League of Denver for a discussion as guests sample delicious recipes from its new cookbook, “Centennial Celebrations.” “Centennial Celebrations” honors the 100th anniversary of the Junior League’s presence in Denver and is packed to the brim with flavors and recipes of the Centennial State.
Mary Beth McErlane, chair of the Centennial Celebrations cookbook project, has been eating out of Junior League cookbooks for as long as she can remember.
“My mother’s kitchen shelves have always been filled with Junior League cookbooks,” she said. “I have always loved the idea of communities and hard-working women coming together to make a collection of beloved recipes.”
Cookbooks aren’t a new type of publication for the Junior League of Denver, but Centennial Celebrations is close to their heart, as it celebrates their origins and how far they’ve come. The first league was founded in 1901 in New York City, and the Junior League of Denver was founded in 1918 as the group expanded into the West.
“In the 1970s, it was lagging behind other Leagues in raising money. A few of the other Junior Leagues had started creating cookbooks, so the JLD decided to try it out too,” McErlane said.
The members that created “Colorado Cache,” the JLD’s first cookbook released in 1978, had no idea how well it would sell. It has sold more than one million copies to date, make it one of the best-selling Junior League publications nationwide. The revenue meant more community support, an increased ability to support women, more bandwidth for additional projects and ultimately, as McErlane put it, “help more Denver residents lead better lives.”
“To date, our cookbooks are still our largest source of fundraising income, with more than nearly $7 million raised so far. Without our cookbooks, we couldn’t have executed on many of the community projects we’ve been involved in,” she said.
The mission of the JLD changes and evolves, but their current mission is aimed at increasing literacy and access to books for kids in the Denver area.
“The vision of the League’s community work is not to adopt a specific community focus and keep it forever, but rather to remain flexible in order to continually address the community’s greatest needs,” McErlane said. “The heart of our mission is training and developing the potential of women. The community work is the vehicle to accomplish the League’s mission. That’s the beauty of the JLD.”