The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local news

November 11, 2012

Junior Welfare League set to celebrate, sell cookbooks

ENID, Okla. — Thirty years ago, Sherrel Jones, who was a member of Enid Junior Welfare League, had an idea to raise money for the community.

That idea, the “Stir Ups” cookbook, continues today. The cookbooks will go on sale starting Thursday. Celebrations of the cookbook’s 30th anniversary, as well as the 10th anniversary of the “Cooking by the Bootstraps” cookbook, will be held 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4-7 p.m. Thursday at JWL’s ninth annual Cookbook Marketplace at Elmstead, the home of Sherrel and Stephen Jones, 8218 N. U.S. 81, in Enid.

Live cooking demonstrations will be held during the event. The league also will sell homemade casseroles as part of the fundraising effort. The casseroles can be ordered online from the JWL website and include chicken tetrazzini, lasagna, Mexican chicken and rice, beef enchiladas and chicken enchiladas.

Laura Hatchel, Enid Junior Welfare League president, said JWL has no financial goal, but it hopes to do better than last year. Funds raised go into JWL’s core programs.

Jones said she started the idea for the cookbook and was named its editor.

“People say ‘Stir Ups’ was my fifth child,” she said. “I always thought it was my husband.”

Jones became interested in cooking when she was very young. She recalls giving a cooking demonstration when she was 9 years old. Later, as a 4-H member, she became very interested in cooking and started making her own recipes. Later, she attended cooking classes across the United States and overseas.

Starting the cookbook was a difficult and lengthy process that took several years before the book eventually was published. When the first book was being compiled, computers were not yet available; volunteers typed the recipes and tasted them several times before placing the instructions in the book. Jones said the volunteers tasted the recipes a number of times and made changes to them to make them more acceptable.

“That’s why we’ve had such a long success,” she said,“because recipes were tasted extensively, and that made a huge difference.”

Because of the tasting and work on each recipe, the book has continued selling for 30 years. Jones has not determined how many dollars it has allowed JWL to put into the community, but said it is a steady source of income.

“It’s not done with a big marketing promotion. It sells itself,” Jones said.

Originally, Gail Wynne was head of marketing for the book, and it came out on Statehood Day. This year, the promotion begins the day before Statehood Day.

It is hard for Jones to imagine the books still are selling after 30 years. People in the business of publishing cookbooks told JWL that for a cookbook to have longevity, it should have natural ingredients, not processed food. She said it should not have an overkill of recipes made with pre-made ingredients, and they kept that to a minimum.

When looking for a publisher, JWL went through many cookbooks and narrowed the field down to two publishers in Memphis, Tenn.  The husband of one of their members flew a group of JWL members to Memphis, where they visited those publishing houses. The publishers had worked with a number of Junior Welfare Leagues and told them what would work and what would not.

On the 10th anniversary of the book, JWL added some suggestions to some recipes that removed calories, or substituted low-calorie recipes. The book continued to sell well, and has been a major fundraiser for the Junior Welfare League.

“It’s taken on a life of its own,” Jones said.

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