Longbranch Improvement Club members, from left, Sharon Gearhart, Barbara Van Bogart and Barbara Floyd, were spotted cooking at the club’s recent pancake breakfast. The three are part of a committee putting a public recipe book together. Photo by Karen Lovett, KP News

Longbranch Improvement Club (LIC) has long benefited from numerous superb volunteer cooks who serve up wonderful meals for the public. Many are famous for potluck specialties that have become popular local favorites.

Longtime LIC member Peg Bingham is well-known for delectable sweets including sticky buns, apple crisp, baklava and almond delight –– an English toffee that rivals a famous Northwest name brand.

Bingham began baking at age 8. She said her mother taught her to make lemon meringue pie, her father’s favorite. After baking a lemon pie every day for five days, her father asked her mother to teach her how to make another kind of pie. Over the years, she modified and perfected family recipes, baking a dessert every day for her daughter and two sons. Now she is in charge of the LIC kitchen, where products of her baking ability are frequently tasted.

Many people have tried to get Bingham to divulge her prized recipes, which until now she has been unwilling to share.

Bingham said there are lots of good cooks in the LIC organization.

“People kept asking why LIC didn’t have a cookbook. I agreed to put my recipes in as soon as they’d do one,” she said.

Bingham asked Barbara Floyd to head the six-member committee, including Bingham, Barb Doat, Sharon Gearhart, Connie Hildahl, Karen Johnson and Barb Van Bogart. All members are volunteers donating time and effort to the successful production of this book.

“I thought it would be fun. It will be more than a cookbook,” Floyd said.

The book will have hardcovers on the front and back, and at the beginning of each of eight sections will feature a watercolor of a historical location on the Key Peninsula.

Local artist Melissa Haumerson, who grew up on the KP, will do the paintings. The background history for each location will be included by local historian Connie Hildahl.

Members are hoping to get 100 recipes a month until the May 31 deadline, or until the goal of 350 recipes is reached. They said they have more than 100 so far and are hopeful that donors explain the background behind the recipe accompanying the submission.

“This is a community event, but we want it to be as expansive as possible involving the entire Key Peninsula and beyond. We welcome good recipes from outside the area,” Van Bogart said.

She will be taking a few recipes from a cookbook published by Longbranch Community Church in 1973.

As a LIC member for 73 years, Del Leaf has been providing potluck participants plenty of opportunities to sample his corn pudding, the most requested recipe from the organization. His famous culinary delight has already been submitted.

All recipes will be tested and proofed. Gearhart and Doat will be spearheading the testing phase.

The book will include a history of the LIC prepared by historian Lynn Larson.

Submitters’ names will be printed with the recipe and the index will be itemized by contributor as well as by category.

Printing will be done by the cookbook division of Morris Publishing in Nebraska. The book will have a hardcover with three-ring binding and is expected to be in print sometime this fall.

Proceeds from book sales will benefit the LIC.

The Name the Cookbook Contest has an April 1 deadline. The winner will receive a gift basket filled with all kinds of goodies. May 31 is the deadline to submit favorite recipes to be included into what promises to be an exceptional cookbook.

Send recipes or cookbook names to P.O. Box 345, Lakebay, WA 98349. For information contact Barbara Floyd at recipesforlic@nullyahoo.com or 884-3796.

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