Even though many of us look online for recipes, there’s something about an old favorite shared from friends and family. Community cookbooks have long been a staple of fundraising and community-building efforts of social groups and religious organizations throughout the US, and these cookbooks become snapshots of a cultural moment. The Van Vorst Park Community Association is seeking recipes from neighbors as it puts together its own cookbook as a way to celebrate the neighborhood — the deadline for submissions is Tuesday, January 31st. Read on to learn more about the cookbook and how to get involved.
About the Van Vorst Park Community Association
Van Vorst Park is the site of a farmer’s market and it’s frequently used as a backdrop for movies and TV shows, but it’s also a neighborhood where families live and community is formed. The park itself is on both the National Register of Historical Places and the New Jersey Register of Historical Places, and it’s one of the oldest parts of Jersey City, predating the Civil War.
Ceci deLeon, a Van Vorst Park neighbor and active volunteer said that “The Van Vorst Neighborhood Association (VVPA) is the oldest neighborhood association in Jersey City and it was founded in 1975. We have been continually active since then, building our community, keeping residents informed, and advocating for positive change that improves the quality of life for our neighborhood and Jersey City as a whole.”
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“Throughout the years we have hosted a variety of community activities and opportunities for neighbors to meet neighbors and build community,” she said, “such as The Meetball Dinner, Dinners in the Park, Movies in the Park, Dances at the Barrow Mansion.”
The group hosts monthly meetings at the Barrow Mansion, located at 83 Wayne Street on the third Tuesday of the month at 7PM and via Zoom. All are welcome. Neighbors can also visit the VVPA’s website.
About the Cookbook
Rebecca Missel, Vice President of the VVCA said, “Few things bring people together like food. By sharing our favorite recipes with neighbors, we’re sharing a bit of ourselves. It’s a glimpse into our families, our friends and cherished memories around the table. Food is a powerful way of creating community and we hope this will inspire people from the Van Vorst Park neighborhood to share a bit of themselves.” The VVCA has published one other cookbook in 1980, to the group’s knowledge. No one could put their hands on a copy, but perhaps an HG reader has a copy in their bookshelves.
The cookbook will be available in both bound and digital versions. The cost of the cookbook is TBD, but the group hopes to keep it at or around $20. “Funds generated from the cookbook will go toward community building activities,” Rebecca said.
A flyer for the cookbook states that the purpose of the cookbook is that: “We want to give people the opportunity to come together and share themselves + meet neighbors and cultures via food! The published cookbook will help raise funds for the Van Vorst Community Association.”
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The same form encourages shy chefs to submit their creations. “You don’t need to be a gourmet chef to be part of the first Van Vorst Community Cookbook! We’re collecting recipes for neighbors to share with neighbors. Whether it’s your recipe signature stoop sangria, your grandmother’s all-day Sunday sauce, or your quick-and-easy weeknight sheet pan dinner- just fill out this form to tell us more about it.” The deadline for submission is January 31st.
Neighbors can fill out this form online or email the VVPA at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.