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Co-op City teens publish cookbook

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Teens in Building 18 in Co-op City have collected some of their parents, family members, and friends best recipes to raise money for a cultural enrichment program that may take them to Europe.

The eight young people who range in age from 14 to 18 are part of the Scholarship Incentive Awards Program founded by retired Building 18 resident Ruth Edwards, who is dedicated to working with the young people to enrich their lives.

They have just published a new cookbook called What’s Cooking: A Collection of Recipes Compiled by Kids Who Cook!. The spiral bound recipe book contains over 300 receipts gathered by program participants Tara Davis, Samantha Medina, Shaneice Silvera, Newton Salmon Jr, Matthew Salmon, Quinten Campbell, Bryce Campbell, and Anthony Purnell.

Edwards held a book signing, sale and reception with the young people on Saturday, November 26 in the building’s meeting room and lobby, located at 100 Alcott Place. The group sold half of the 330 copies that were printed. Each book, signed by all eight young authors, contained recipes by section: Appetizers and Beverages, Soups and Salads, Vegetables and Side Dishes, Main Dishes, Breads and Rolls, Desserts, Cookies and Candy, and a special section entitled “This and That.”

The books sold for $18 each, and the signing and reception, which included food, drew out people from not just building 18 but from all over Co-op City. The sale raised money for a planned European trip to Italy, England and France in July 2011.

“I think at the rate we are going, we may want to do a reprint,” Edwards said. “People are excited about it because they feel that they can give the book as Christmas gifts because they come wrapped already.”

The cookbook, which includes President Barack Obama’s chili recipe and Michelle Obama’s macaroni and cheese recipe, comes wrapped in a flower sack dish towel, with a wooden spoon in the knot of a bow. According to Edwards, the book project grew out of many different activities she had brought the children to that expose them to different cultures, provides educational opportunities, and give the young people life lessons.

SIAP was founded in 2007. SIAP has already included an international dinning series, trips to dance and theatrical performances, and lessons in manners. The group also created a book that was itself a work of art, folding out to be about 30 feet long, that was sent to the White House shortly after President Obama took office. The book included orginal artwork by all eight children, as well as suggestions to Obama on topics like domestic energy and the economy.

The latest book project further stetched the creativity of the young people. Samanthan Medina, 18, started in the program when it was first founded, and is now a student at Columbia University.

“Putting together the cookbook was a learning experience,” Medina said. “I worked with my sister-in-law to gather together recipes. I am not one to cook. Last week, though, I was able to cook one of the recipes and that excited me. I am glad that the booksigning and the reception were successful. Thebuilding has been very supportive.”

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