Readers checked out 58,512 books from East Aldine’s High Meadows Branch Library last year.
Unfortunately, a cookbook featuring the best recipes for the best food in the neighborhood was not among them.
Staff at the library have been trying to convince patrons to submit their favorite family food recipes for a local cookbook as part of the annual celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15).
So far, not a single tamale recipe, not one enchilada special sauce, not a single slice of tres leches cake has been submitted.
With all the fabulous cooks (and restaurants) in East Aldine, bragging rights are up for grabs.
Who makes the best tacos? Enchiladas? Chimichangas?
Which public official – Harris County Commissioner Adrian Garcia or State Rep. Armando Walle, say – grills the best fajitas? Or, perhaps a certain member of Congress, Rep. Sylvia Garcia, is better at smoking hot skirt steaks?
The people want to know.
Jennifer Nandlal, senior adult program specialist at the High Meadows branch of the Harris County Public Library system, is at a loss to explain why the residents of East Aldine haven’t been submitting their recipes to the library.
“We’ve done community outreach, we had it in the newspaper,” Nandlal said. “We will be bringing recipe cards to National Night Out (Oct. 4). And we hope to hear from some of those public officials who are willing to share their best recipes with us.”
“It’s strange, because one of the best parts of working in East Aldine is eating out here,” Nandlal said. “There are just so many good cooks and places to go out to eat.”
Nandlal speculated that one reason people haven’t responded is post-pandemic inertia.
“Even though the library is back up and running 100 percent, there’s this sense of ‘Are we back to normal, please?’ and that might be a factor,” she said.
“I know I am going to submit a dish that is one of my mom’s recipes. It’s Caribbean-themed chicken and rice dish,” she said.
The library hopes to host a postpublication party, featuring some of its patrons’ best methods of cooking. The Harris County library system is funding publication costs, she said.
“We want to have different sections, for beverages, appetizers, entrees and desserts,” she said. “Although we had hoped to have it as part of Hispanic Heritage month, we may be looking at Christmas.”
The library is starting a new “lunch and learn” program on Fridays at noon, featuring food from local restaurants and cafes. One of the first programs will feature the healthy, tasty treats from local favorite Café Guadalupe.
“We can always get the restaurants to contribute their best recipes,” Nandlal said.
The lunch and learn program requires participants to register in advance. The form is online at the High Meadows library,https:// www.hcpl.net/branch/high-meadowsbranch- library.
— By Anne Marie Kilday