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United Way Holiday Recipe Swap

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The Holiday Recipe Swap stems from a rich tradition in the United States–one that draws its origins from The White House. Perhaps it’s no surprise that the first recipe swapper was none other than first lady Dolley Madison–a legendary lady known in particular for her lavish social gatherings.

In her blog The Recipe Exchange, presidential historian Feather Schwartz Foster explores the origins of this time-honored social occasion.

“(For Dolley Madison), part of her outreach program was to write to the distaff member of important political (and other) families across the country – many of whom she had never met. These women considered it an honor to be contacted by Mrs. M. and hoped their prized recipe might be included in the next White House dinner,” she wrote. “In exchange, Dolley was delighted to send one of her recipes – very possibly for “ice cream,” a new delicacy that might make her correspondent a queen of society in her own home town.” (https://featherfoster.wordpress.com/2019/11/04/dolley-madison-the-recipe-swap/)

Through the years, the recipe swap has become a cherished part of many holiday traditions, as family cooks gather to exchange their favorite recipes for festive dinners, desserts, and party foods. Yet the swap, like many traditions, has all but come to a standstill in the wake of changing global conditions.

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This year in Hernando County, United Way of Hernando County is bringing back the sunshine–and the good eats–that come as part and parcel of the Recipe Swap experience–safely, online.

“Do you have a cherished family recipe? Are you looking to try something new and want to share it with others? Did you find the perfect recipe on Pinterest?” reads the recipe swap page of the United Way of Hernando County website (https://www.unitedwayhernando.org/recipe-swap). “Then share your favorite Thanksgiving & Christmas recipes with those who are planning for the Holidays and who could potentially be downscaling their season due to social distancing and taking precautions due to COVID-19.”

Launched during United Way of Hernando County’s 5 Days of Caring, the United Way Recipe Swap encourages participants to “Give thanks and give back by sharing a recipe!”

To participate in the swap, simply visit the project page and submit information regarding your favorite recipe–listing the type of recipe (appetizer, main dish, side dish, sauce/gravy, or dessert), as well as its name, servings, cook time, ingredients, and instructions. You also may submit a photo of the prepared recipe and will be asked to give permission to allow United Way of Hernando County to share my recipe with the community–via social media, website, newspaper, and any media outlet. 

United Way of Hernando officials felt that now was the time to reintroduce the recipe swap to the holiday tradition–safely and virtually.

“The idea behind the Recipe Swap is for community members to share their beloved Thanksgiving & Christmas recipes with those who could potentially be downscaling their season due to social distancing and taking precautions due to COVID-19,” explained Dominique Holmes, Community Outreach Director of United Way of Hernando County.

This recipe swap is geared toward the preparation of scaled-down holiday feasts, Holmes explains.

“This project is intended for residents who usually visit their families for the Holidays and are planning to host a small gathering instead,” she said. “The Recipe Swap is designed to bring people together by cooking or sharing simple and delicious recipes. Residents can make them on their own or with a small group of friends or family. Serving sizes of course vary and all are welcome.”

And given the range of recipes offered through the swap, they could very well form the makings of a robust, delicious holiday feast.

“On the Recipe Swap form, we’re accepting all types of recipes,” said Holmes. “Appetizers, main Holiday dishes, all the sides and fixings, a secret sauce or gravy recipe, yummy desserts, and even beverage recipes.”

And served up with every Recipe Swap dish, is a hearty serving of sunshine.

“By simply sharing a recipe, you can help local families prepare for the Holidays in such an uncertain time,” said Holmes. “2020 has proven to be a year of change so what better way to change your annual Holiday menu and add a new dish.” 

Send your good news notices to Hernando Sun community reporter Megan Hussey at [email protected]. Show us your Sunshine!


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