Member Spotlight: The River Road Recipes Committee

We know by now you probably know a LOT about River Road Recipes. You know we are not only the oldest community cookbook currently in print in the entire United States, but we are also the all-time #1 best-selling community cookbook in the nation! You probably know our first and most famous cookbook, River Road Recipes I: A Textbook of Louisiana Cuisine, was first published in 1959, and, against all odds, has sold over 1.4 million copies and is currently on its 80th reprint! You know that  over time, we have added three more cookbooks to our collection: River Road Recipes II: A Second HelpingRiver Road Recipes III: A Healthy Collection, and River Road Recipes IV: Warm Welcomes. You know that together, sales from our four cookbooks have generated over $3,000,000 to fund various projects in the Greater Baton Rouge Area, from the Baton Rouge Hearing and Speech Foundation (now The Emerge Center) to our partnership with Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital, to countless others.

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The 2016-2017 River Road Recipes Committee. Back row, left to right, Briana Bramlette-Sikes, Lauren De Witt, Emily Scofield, Sandy Lynch, Catherine Coxe, and Amy Vickers; middle row, left to right: Michelle Bickham, Rebecca Klar, Stephanie Heroman, Jennifer Lear, Jessica McVea, Adrien  Busekist, Georgia Shirley, Betsy Buchert, and Cheryl Payne; front row, left to right, Lisa O’Beirne Ryan, Jennifer Henry, Allison Reeves, Leacy Aycock, Kimberly Wood, and Kimberly Brewster.

What you may not have considered, however, is that this amazing legacy would not have been possible without the effective action and leadership of the women of the Junior League of Baton Rouge, and particularly, the ladies who have served on the River Road Recipes Committee since the original committee was formed in 1957. With Placement* for the 2017-2018 League year quickly approaching in April, we wanted to take the time to recognize the ladies of the 2016-2017 River Road Recipes Committee and encourage you to be a part of our committee in the upcoming League year!

* For non-JLBR members, “Placement” is the time of year, typically in April, when members choose the roles (i.e., community projects, fundraising, in-League) they will serve in for the upcoming League year. You can check out all of our current Community Projects here and check out our various Fundraisers here. In addition to Community Projects and Fundraisers, there are also many “in-League” placements that ensure the League as a whole continues to run smoothly so that we can have the most effective impact in our community.

Who We Are and What We Do

The River Road Recipes Committee consists of 20 women who together dedicate over 190 hours each month to promoting, marketing, selling, and distributing the River Road Recipes Cookbook Collection. The River Road Recipe Committee consists of various sub-committees, including the Steering Committee, the Sales and Distribution Committee, and the Marketing and Events Community.

RRR Steering Committee

Steering

2016-2017 River Road Recipes Steering Committee. Back row, left to right: Michelle Bickham, Catherine Coxe, Lauren De Witt, Rebecca Klar, Amy Vickers, Cheryl Payne; front row, left to right: Jennifer Henry, Jennifer Lear, Jessica McVea, Betsy Buchert, Georgia Shirley, Kimberly Brewster.

Our steering committee consists of our Chairman, Jessica McVea, our Treasurer, Jennifer Lear, our Marketing Events Chairman, Kimberly Brewster, and her two assistant chairmen, Jennifer Henry and Rebecca Klar, our Sales and Distribution Chairman, Michelle Bickham, and her assistant chairman, Betsy Buchert, our Sustaining Adviser, Cheryl Payne, our Editor and Data Coordinator, Jennifer Bounds, and our Blog Administrator, Lauren De Witt.

Members of the Steering Committee meet monthly, and many of us sit on a variety of other committees within the League, including the Membership Council, the Marketing and Communications Council, the Fund Development Council, and the Financial Council. Being a member of the Steering Committee is a great way to get involved in League leadership positions. It also provides opportunities to learn more about the internal organization of the League and involves interaction with women across all areas of League service.

RRR Sales and Distribution Committee

Sales and Dist

2016-2017 River Road Recipes Sales & Distribution Committee. Back row, left to right, Briana Bramlette-Sikes, Emily Scofield, Catherine Coxe, Betsy Buchert; front row, left to right: Sandy Lynch, Michelle Bickham, and Stephanie Heroman.

Our Sales and Distribution Committee is responsible for overseeing our inventory, bookkeeping, purchaser orders, and printing, just to name a few! These ladies are extremely organized and work hard to ensure we are able to continue meeting the demand for our cookbooks not just locally, but nationally.

RRR Marketing and Events Committee

Mktg Events

2016-2017 River Road Recipes Marketing and Events Committee. Back row, left to right: Adrien Busekist, Rebecca Klar, Kimberly Brewster, and Kimberly Wood; front row, left to right: Jennifer Henry, Allison Reeves, Leacy Aycock, and Lisa O’Beirne Ryan.

Finally, our Marketing and Events Committee is where all the fun event planning happens. These are the ladies who plan our events like our annual Past Chairman’s Luncheon, our upcoming Tin Roof Beer Dinner at Galatoire’s Bistro, and our various Red Stick Farmers’ Market appearances throughout the year. They are the face of River Roads Recipes to the community as they also oversee our media relations, including TV, magazines, radio, and newspaper.

Why We Love It

Just like in the rest of the Junior League, some of us are wives and mothers. Some of us work full time outside the home, while others work full time in the home. Some of us love cooking, and some of us just love to eat the samples (I mean really, who can resist Fool’s Toffee?). What we all have in common, however, is that we all love being a part of this amazing legacy!

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Spinach Madeline, RRR I. Photo by Don Kadair.

“Being a part of the River Road Recipes committee has been like being part of a family. I enjoy working with such passionate woman toward the common goal of preserving an important part of our local culture and a Junior League tradition. Every holiday season my table is adorned with several recipes from the River Road Recipes collection, including sweet potato crunch, and Spinach Madeline.” – Jennifer Henry, Marketing and Events Assistant Chairman

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Sparkling Cranberry Punch, RRR I. Photo by Don Kadair.

“I love to cook and I wanted a new experience in the JLBR. So when I was asked to serve as Treasurer on RRR, I thought, why not. I have learned so much by serving on RRR … not only about cooking, and the history of why the cookbooks were written, but also about maintaining a budget for a business. My favorite RRR is the Sparkling Cranberry Punch (with a little Grey Goose) and the Bacon Cheese Spread!” – Jennifer Lear, Treasurer
Curried Chicken Salad 3

Curried Chicken Salad, RRR III. Photo by Lauren De Witt.

“Serving on the RRR Committee has enriched me in so many ways, from developing new friendships to learning new skills. As someone who didn’t grow up in Baton Rouge, it has been especially meaningful to me to connect to the community and culture by being personally involved with ensuring that this piece of living history is around and active for future generations through new developments like the RRR Blog. One of my favorite RRR recipes that I discovered while perusing recipes for the blog is the Curried Chicken Salad – it’s flavorful, filling, and healthy!” – Lauren De Witt, Blog Administrator 

Join Our Team

Looking for a new experience in the League? Want to be an integral part of a League tradition and living piece of local history? Interested in developing a wide variety of skills and helping fund the League mission? Consider joining the River Road Recipes Committee for the upcoming League year! Pre-placed positions for the River Road Recipes Committee occur in September, so be sure to update your interest indicator in Digital Cheetah if you are interested in serving as Chairman, Treasurer, Marketing and Events Chairman, or Sales and Distribution Chairman. Members of the River Road Recipes Committee will also be on hand at the upcoming Volunteer Fair in April to answer any questions you might have about being a part of this amazing Committee!

Not a Junior League member, but still want to be involved? You can help support River Road Recipes and the amazing work the Junior League of Baton Rouge does in our community by purchasing a cookbook here or making a donation to the Junior League of Baton Rouge here.

Member Spotlight: Dining with Our President, Kathy Victorian

Every Friday evening, my family has what we call a “special night.” I pick up our three year old daughter from daycare; we get “freats” (we are still working on that “tr” phonetic combo) – usually our favorite Talenti gelato to share and a nice bottle of Malbec for Mommy and Daddy; then we pick out a movie to watch as a family. One of her favorite  movies for nights like these is Disney’s The Princess and the Frog. At the beginning of the movie, Tiana’s dad, James, makes the following observation while helping his daughter make the perfect pot of gumbo: “You know the thing about good food? It brings folks together from all walks of life. It warms them right up and it puts little smiles on their faces.” I could not agree more!

Kathy Victorian, President of the Junior League of Baton Rouge, also knows that there is truly something special about sharing a meal with loved ones. Growing up, Kathy remembers fondly the meals she shared with her family. “My mom was an amazing cook, and I remember vividly her preparing a home cooked meal for us every day, but she made Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas magical in our home with her cooking.” Today, Kathy continues this tradition with her own family. “I LOVE to cook,” she says, “because cooking a meal is one of the most personal things I can do for someone. I’m literally providing plated ‘love’ made with my own hands and creativity – even if I’m following a recipe, I picked the recipe and planned the meal!

Kathy Victorian

Kathy Victorian, Junior League of Baton Rouge President 2016-2017

Like most of us, the typical weeknight dinner at Kathy’s house varies, depending on how busy everyone is. “The typical weeknight can consist of take out or a sit down dinner with my husband, Michael, but Sunday after church, my cooking skills are on display at Chateau Victorian!” One of Kathy and Michael’s favorite River Road Recipes is the Chicken Stew found on page 195 of River Road Recipes III – A Healthy Collection. Another favorite from RRR III is the Creamy Risotto, featured below. “I had never prepared homemade risotto until I got my hands on RRR III, and when I turned to the recipe, I found my elegant comfort food. Needless to say, I prepare this dish often.”

Kathy with friends enjoying a casual evening dinner at home.

(Left to right) Kimberly LaMotte, Kathy Victorian, Elisha Browder, and Brunetta Adams enjoying a Memorial Day Weekend cookout and surprise birthday party for Elisha! “Food always brings me and my loved ones together,” says Kathy. “Friends plus Family plus Food equals FUN!”

In addition to cooking at home, Kathy enjoys eating out. While she has several favorite Baton Rouge restaurants, Mansurs on the Boulevard takes the cake. “If I had to pick one,” Kathy says, “it would be Mansurs on the Boulevard simply because of their fantastic staff, and every meal I’ve eaten there has been Ahhhhhh-Mazing!” Whether dining out or trying a new recipe from the River Road Recipes collection like Kathy, or even just sharing store bought “freats” with your loved ones on the couch like my family, there are so many opportunities in the Red Stick to enjoy some “plated love” and create lasting memories with both friends and family alike.

Creamy Risotto, RRR III p. 132

This Creamy Risotto, as Kathy says, makes for an elegant comfort food that works well as a side or as the main dish!

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tub margarine
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1 cup arborio rice or medium grain rice
  • 3 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 3 1/2 cups defatted chicken stock, less salt
  • 1/3 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon saffron (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • Black pepper for seasoning
Aborio is an Italian short grain rice and can typically be found at most grocery stores on the grain aisle. Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Aborio rice is an Italian short grain rice and can typically be found at most grocery stores on the grain aisle. Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Heat oil and margarine. Sauté vegetables for five minutes. Add rice and stir for 30 seconds. Add wine and stir for one minute. Add stock, cheese, and spices. Simmer until the rice is tender but slightly firm to bite and the mixture is creamy, about 25 minutes. Season with pepper. Serve with extra Parmesan cheese if desired.

Creamy Risotto. Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Creamy Risotto. Photo by Lauren De Witt.

This recipe has 208 calories, 6.4 grams of fat, and 511 milligrams of sodium per serving, which is over 5 grams less fat compared to the original! You can take the nutritional benefits a step further by omitting the olive oil and margarine and simply sautéing the vegetables in the chicken broth to save an additional 3.7 grams of fat and 33 calories per serving. Try using a sodium-free broth to cut additional sodium.