Our Store Food Co-op Cookbook – “A Cooperative Conconction”

Thanks to Tony Ricci and Rita Snyder, Spring Creek Homesteading is working on a reprint of the cookbook produced by the members of the Our Store Food Co-op, which was active in State College in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Daryl Sinn, a member of the “Our Store” Co-op at that time, is active in the current group working to form a new food co-op: Friends and Farmers.

The printers at Kopease have copied the original (loaned by Rita after a referral by Tony) and are creating a master copy to produce new books. I’m not sure yet whether the cookbooks will be sold as a fundraiser, or given out to new members of the Friends & Farmers Cooperative as a new member benefit, or some combination. Stay tune for details; in the meantime, here’s a preview:

Cookbook Cover, Designed by Becky Smith

Cookbook Table of Contents (p. 1 of 2)

From the Introduction:

This “Cooperative Concoction” of recipes has been assembled by the members of Our Store Food Co-op, in State College Pennsylvania, as a way of sharing the best of what good food means to us.

Our Store Food Co-op, Inc., is itself a cooperative concoction of sorts – a mixture of people, ideas and energies that have grown, changed and struggled together for over 15 years. Begun as an order-in-advance buying club in a variety of garages and basements, “Our Store” is now a member-owned and member-operated cooperative food store in downtown State College.

The basic premise of “Our Store” is that something as essential as food should not be sold for profit, that by eliminating the middleman and doing the work of ordering, packaging and selling ourselves, we can obtain food that is cheaper and often more wholesome than that in the supermarkets. In many cases, the foods we offer are simply not available in chainstores.

Being a co-op is not always easy. Membership roles rise and fall, the store overhead seems to continually rise, and the work that it takes to keep everything running smoothly is never finished. And yet it all seems to be worth it. “Our Store” carries on – providing good food at reasonable prices, and providing an opportunity for people to work together to meet their own needs.

In our “Cooperative Concoction” are recipes chosen by members as their personal favorites, or as good examples of how to use some of the more unusual ingredients sold at “Our Store.” There are recipes for the likes of bulgar, tempeh, tahini, tofu and soy grits (all nutritious, inexpensive additions to the typical American diet), but there are also reipes for breads, main dishes and desserts that will satisfy the most traditional of tastes.

On the whole, most of the recipes in this book use less white sugar, white flour and meat than other cookbooks, reflecting the concern of “Our Store” members for a simple, wholesome diet. Whole foods are stressed throughout. For those unfamiliar with some of the ingredients, a glossary is provided at the rear of the book.

It is the search for good wholesome food that brings the people of Our Store together. We hope the recipes in this book will extend what has become a network of satisfied bellies and smiling faces.

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