Friends launch ‘Shared Flavors’ cookbook at Long Grove party
Rosy Hugener (holding book) published a cookbook "Shared Flavors" with the help of friends, who celebrated at a book-release party Jan. 9 in Long Grove. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 18, 2013 6:03AM
LONG GROVE — It is one thing to share your family’s recipes with friends. It is another thing entirely to believe your cooking style is worthy of a cookbook, putting your directions on the market for the world to critique.
A Long Grove-based group of friends took that step last week.
“It was exciting, because we put a lot of time and effort into it,” said Geri Sorenson, one of the 27 cooks who contributed to “Shared Flavors: A Group of Friends Sharing Their Favorite Recipes.”
“I was confident, because I knew that what I was putting out in the book has been tested,” said another writer, Mary Pacchini.
“By the toughest critics, your family,” added Lyn Crosby.
“Who hold back nothing, when making comments,” Pacchini said.
The collection of cooks, their families and friends gathered Jan. 9 in the Long Grove home of another contributor, Vicky Caputo, for a book-release (and sampling) party. Each woman filled a chapter with her own creations, and the final product includes Mexican, Mediterranean, German and Jewish offers, along with sections on fondues and holiday specialties.
Accordingly, as the party went on, Caputo’s tables overflowed with dishes full of baklava sitting next to dishes of tacos, while pots of chocolate and three-cheese-rum fondues loomed above.
Author Rosy Hugener doubles as the “Shared Flavors” publisher: Using her background in the publishing industry, she founded her Shared Pen imprint three years ago with her husband, Carl. She said that by February of 2012, she wanted to put a cookbook on her to-do list.
“People are always asking me for my guacamole recipe,” Hugener said. “Little by little, we started getting the book.”
She turned to her circle of friends.
“We were in this neighborhood, all walking, exercising,” recalled Pacchini. “We just started talking about recipes, and how often we exchange things, and how beneficial that’s been, especially last minute. Rosy was with us, and she said ‘Why don’t we put our recipes together?’ That’s how it started, on a walk.”
The group grew out of Long Grove to include women from around Chicagoland, including a pair of restaurant owners. Eva Pleuhs, a native of Germany who fell in love with a variety of international flavors, contributed her Mediterranean creations because she favors that area’s light, herb-addled recipes over her homeland’s heavy use of meats and starches.
Of course, for a European, “international” food also means American fare. Pleuhs said she loves hamburgers and french fries, but rarely eats them. She said she visits farmers markets throughout the growing seasons, always looking for anything new to try.
“I bought the ingredients, without knowing what I’d make out of them,” she said.
Sorenson and fellow fonduer Holly Bates said they knew what they would offer when they received invitations to “Shared Flavors.” For the past 12 years, the longtime friends’ families have celebrated New Year’s Eves together, with all types of fondues.
“It was a time when you could get together with your family and talk,” Bates said. “It’s a dining experience. It’s a tradition we had when we were young, that we’ve carried on to our kids.”
Having already sold about 500 copies in print and digital, Hugener is mulling a “Shared Flavors” update in 2014. Her friends said they would be glad to help again.
“She’s like the Energizer bunny,” Sorenson said. “She’s already thinking about what’s next.”