The League Pulse

The Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri: women building better communities.

Fundraisers and Must Have Cookbooks: Company’s Coming, Beyond Parsley and Above & Beyond Parsley

cookbook

Pictured: Bretta Watkins (1976–1977 League year)

Since the Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri, was founded in 1914, it has evolved into one of the oldest, largest and most effective women’s volunteer organizations in the city. For more than a century, the League has been identifying problems in our community such as illiteracy, domestic violence, health and nutrition—and engaging its members to make an impact. Inevitably, fundraising has been key to enabling the League to create committees that have made strides in helping those who struggle in our city.

As such, the League has held oodles of fundraisers through the years. Members hosted the Follies in the 20s and 30s, began managing the Thrift Shop in the 1930s, and in the 1970s started composing cookbooks.

Our first cookbook, Company’s Coming, was published in the 1974–1975 League year. Though not even originally conceived as a fundraiser, in 1980 its quality made it a permanent volume of the Culinary Collection in the Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe College.

Our second book, Beyond Parsley, was published in 1984, and just eight years later, the book had sold its 100,000th copy, thanks in part to Ladies Home Journal magazine publishing 17 recipes from the cookbook. Following this record of success, in 1992 the League published Above & Beyond Parsley (which sold out its first printing before bound books even arrived, based on the popularity of its predecessors). To reflect the changes in food trends, A&BP emphasized “food for the senses,” and it too garnered awards, superlative reviews and nationwide sales.

Numerous great consumer reviews have been published on Beyond Parsley over the years, including:

  • Karen H. Brown in 1999, “I bought this cookbook when it first came out and have always recommended it to friends who like to cook. I have confidence in the recipes because I know that each was tested by the JLKCMO cookbook committee, which is probably one reason they include such great notes. Among my favorite recipes: Cheddar Carousel, Hearts of Palm Salad with Herb Dressing, Szechwan Chicken, Sesame Asparagus, Creamy Lemon Rice, and Coffee Toffee Pie. Makes me hungry just thinking about them!”
  • Lizzy Jones in 2008, “I have no idea how my mother came across this Kansas City Junior League cookbook, but it was such a favorite of mine growing up that she had to give me my own copy when I moved away. The recipes are elegant but not overly complicated and some of my meal staples came from here. Highly recommended are the Swiss Braided Bread and the Green Beans with Pears.”
  • Busy Granning in 2016, “Really a lovely book with lots of beautiful recipes that I can hardly wait to dive into.”

Like Karen, Lizzy and Busy Granning – we won’t want to prepare our next meal without these great books! Though all three of our cookbooks are out of print, you can find them at Half Price Books (online and in stores) and on Amazon.com (don’t forget to sign up for AmazonSmile so the League benefits from your purchase!). You can also contact Sustainer Jan Rowe, who keeps a nice bunch of copies at The Red Shed, her West Bottoms vintage shop!

The cookbook fundraisers raised nearly $2 million for the League, which enabled our volunteers to make a powerful impact across the city.

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This entry was posted on February 21, 2017 by in Community Impact.
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