By Randy Arrington
LURAY, Sept. 21 — Food has always served as a way of bringing people together, from campfires in caves to big spreads on dining room tables at Thanksgiving. Additionally, due to the central role of meals around the holidays, food can also often remind us of family, and the cherished hands that prepared those special dishes.
“I think people now are craving nostalgia, you see it in so many things,” said Paula Kibler, president of the Board of Directors for Luray Downtown Initiative.
The non-profit organization that promotes downtown business hopes to feed that nostalgia craving by serving up a local, one-of-a-kind cookbook — “Delicious Memories Past and Present” — that shares special family recipes from the area, and the memories attached to them.
“Honor someone by putting a recipe in,” Kibler said. “It will make this so special…memorialize them.”
LDI will be using cookbook sales as a fundraiser, but those who wish to contribute a recipe to the culinary compilation are also asked to contribute $10. For their participation, those submitting recipes will get half their money back through a $5 discount off the purchase of the cookbook.
Along with 200 recipes, LDI also hopes to collect and publish just as many short stories (40 words or less) telling why the dish (or the cook) are special. The cookbooks will sell for $20 each and will be made available at participating downtown merchants prior to the holiday season.
“Who doesn’t like some great home cooking recipes?”
said former LDI board chairman Bill Huffman.
“Family recipes collected and published in this new LDI fundraiser cookbook will make a wonderful gift,” the marketing director for Luray Caverns continued. “This LDI project is an excellent way to support Downtown Luray and to make some tasty dishes yourself. Luray Caverns proudly supports the work of LDI as they strive to make a more vibrant downtown for locals and visitors.”
LDI plans to publish 800 copies of the 200 recipes and stories laid out on 100 pages through Morris Cook Books, who specializes in fundraising cookbooks.
The downtown organization plans to use the funds raised through the project for winter banners along Main Street, as well as the upgrade of two billboards LDI utilizes to promote Luray’s downtown on East and West Main Street.
Those wanting to submit recipes should drop them off, along with their stories (40 words or less), at the LDI office in the Visitors Center (Chamber of Commerce / Depot)), or at Valley Cork (55 E. Main St.)
“I think, especially since the pandemic, people have gotten back in their kitchens,” LDI Program Director Jackie Elliott said. “Food has become a very important element in bringing families together, and this cookbook is something that can bring families together.
“It’s also something that could be important from generation to generation.”
Keep up with Luray Downtown Initiative on Facebook.