Was there ever a community without someone—a lot of ones!—doing the cooking? Of course not, but Brookfield, as others have done in the past, has put a sampling of local culinary favorites between covers to profitable use.
“Brookfield Cooks!” is a cookbook of both range and mission.
First its mission: It’s a fund-raising effort undertaken by The Brookfield Library Foundation to raise money toward getting a new—bigger and better—library for the town. As townspeople have knows for decades, Brookfield certainly needs it.
The Brookfield Library is a busy place, continually adding to its stock and enhancing its programming for the community even though its facility is bursting at the seams.
The library, which is governed by a Board of Trustees, was built in 1973, and over the last two decades its governing board has been hoping to expand and looking for ways to make it possible.
“We have just under 10,000 square feet, and, according to the state library, given our population, we should have 25,000 square feet,” Anita Barney, its executive director, has said. “We can’t go up because the building won’t withstand it. … [and] although we own an adjacent piece of property, we can’t build there, two architects told us. There’s too much ledge there so there wouldn’t be enough parking space and the sight lines on the road would be poor.”
The site being eyed in on Pocono Road on the property where the Brookfield Municipal Center and Senior Center are located. Which, when one comes to think of it, makes sense since the library offers a variety of programs—for children, teens and adults—and makes its community room available for private functions.
The foundation has been accepting donations for a few years, but an inspired, attention-grabbing push was made last year, when a decision was made to create a cookbook, with contributions from the community at large.
“Most of us have heard that the kitchen is the heart of the home,” writes Elena Goletz, the chairman of the trustees, in a prefatory note. “It is the place where we gather to break bread and share our experiences. When families and friends gather, the kitchen is the magnet that brings us together. Our library is a magnet that brings Brookfield residents together to enjoy the myriad of activities that are offered at our library,” which she hopes “will continue to be the heart our little New England town.”
Ms. Barney quotes Henry Ward Beecher, who wrote in 1870 that “A little library, growing larger every year, is an honorable part of a man’s history,” and adds her own note, that “every great town deserves a great library.”
So, what’s between the firm covers of the spiral-bound cookbook on its glossy pages, organized by category and followed by useful cooking and pantry tips? A range of recipes, and even though chicken is a recurring ingredient, there’s always a new way to prepare it.
I’ve been collecting favorite recipes from family and friends since my teen-age years and have a large selection of cookbooks. But I look at the cookbooks as compilations of mini-stories, so it’s no wonder that once I found an interesting “note” appended to a recipe in “Brookfield Cooks!” I flipped through the pages to read all of them!
It won’t give away the surprises altogether to mention here that included with cherished family recipes, variations on old favorites and tasty enticements for picky eaters are the recipe that was the Blue Ribbon winner of The Brookfield Journal recipe contest in 1987, when the judging was held at The Silo in New Milford; the “everyday” bread of an old farm on Whisconier Hill; and the dish served at victory dinners for the Brookfield High School soccer players in 1988.
To pick up a copy of the cookbook, which costs $20, visit or contact the library.
It’s a good read, a welcome source of inspiration these cold days when we’re all more housebound, and is sure to spark some new camaraderie as well as support a truly worthwhile cause.