Rev. Lara Hoke prides herself on knowing her way around a tasty potluck supper.
Potlucks are a church staple, as common as the Lord’s cross in any church, and Hoke grew up going to them.
Now, as minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Andover, Hoke said she finds herself among some very serious foodies, who have answered her prayers for tasty and creative potluck.
“By far, our potlucks are the best church potlucks and I’ve been around church potlucks all my life,” said Hoke, a vegetarian who has been at the Locke Street church for four years.
Think you can compete with the selections at the Unitarian Universalist’s potlucks? Well, the congregation is encouraging you to bring on the dishes.
The church is seeking recipes from the community for a new cookbook. The only requirement is that the dishes are simple and inexpensive, which, after all, is what one might expect to find at a church potluck.
In other words, “No white truffle pasta or fried bologna casserole,” cookbook organizers wrote in their request for submissions.
“We emphasize fresh ingredients, recipes that are easy to prepare and healthy,” said cookbook committee member David Grober of Andover, who bakes bread at the Unitarian church every Sunday before service.
The name of the cookbook will be “Feeding Each Other,” and organizers say that’s the whole purpose behind the community project.
All proceeds from cookbook sales will be donated to two local food banks — Bread & Roses in Lawrence and the Merrimack Valley Food Bank.
“We are making an effort to help alleviate hunger in the greater community,” Hoke said.
Recipes must be submitted by July 1 to andovercookbook.com. Add a short story (a couple of lines) about why you like your recipe and that will be published, too. The cookbook will be available in September and will cost about $12 to $15, Grober said.
“We know everyone’s done a cookbook to raise money, i’s a fundraising standby ... but we want to create a collection of recipes that Andover folks are proud of,” Grober said. “And, everyone loves food.”
Extending a spoon The cover design for "Feeding Each Other" will featureÂ two long-handled spoons -- a reference to the often-told story about the difference between heaven and hell, Rev. Lara Hoke said. Here's the story: "In hell, row after row of tables are loaded with platters of sumptuous food, yet the people seated at the tables are pale and emaciated, moaning in hunger ... none is able to get a long-handled spoon into their mouth. "In heaven, also, row after row of tables are loaded with platters of sumptuous food. The people seated at the tables are equipped with the same spoons. But, the people are well nourished and happy, laughing and talking. "They are feeding each other ... that's the whole point of the cookbook."Â