Sherman Gardens Group Introduces ‘First Monday Coffee’ Menu to Masses in New Cookbook

Most of the magic that happens at Sherman Library and Gardens is available to the visiting public, but for decades a casual breakfast among site members association of volunteers, and the goodies therein, have been private – until now.

On the first Monday of every month before the Corona del Mar Botanical Garden opens, volunteers come together to enjoy the company of others, keep up to date with the news and, of course, eat.

A well-stocked buffet table stocked with casseroles and baked goods is ensured by a faithfully circulated sign-up list awarding main courses, pastries, and fruit displays to volunteer volunteers. Over the years, the table has built up quite a culinary spread.

Volunteers from the Sherman Library and Gardens gather for a Monday Monday first coffee meeting.

(Scott Smeltzer / Personal Photographer)

“It’s a bit like a klatch cafe. There is no meeting agenda, no hammer blow, ”Sherman Gardens spokesperson Beverly Morgan said of the long tradition. “They got everything set up, then they finished at 10:30 am when the garden opens. And the food is amazing.

Now, for the very first time, members are sharing their best recipes in a ‘First Monday Coffee’ cookbook which is available for purchase and will debut Thursday at Sherman Library & Gardens’ Christmas gift festival fundraising, 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Proceeds will be used to fund education programs for children in the gardens.

While volunteers help out with virtually anything that needs to be done in the garden, association members have started to prepare and serve coffee, tea and sweet rolls from the on-site Tea Garden. around 1980, a few years after the organization was created in 1975.

Banana bread and Irish apple cake are on display at a Monday November 1 first café meeting at the Sherman Library & Gardens.

Banana bread and Irish apple cake are among the many homemade Monday dishes at a first Monday coffee meeting at the Sherman Library & Gardens.

(Scott Smeltzer / Personal Photographer)

“At first it was just tea and a few baked goods and then it got bigger,” said Julie Jenkins, a Newport Beach resident, who joined the association in her first year.

The menu has expanded to include soup and other items that the volunteers have prepared and brought home. Eventually, the service moved to the cafe building and increased to two days a week.

Under the direction of a paid chef, the volunteers prepared the food and served on the tables in the Central Garden patio. But when the chef retired, so did the lunch program, depriving the garden volunteers of the friendliness they came to enjoy, said Joan Carter, a member since 1979.

Joan Carter, left, and the aprons of model Julie Jenkins with the cover of "First Monday coffee."

Joan Carter, left, and Julie Jenkins, who began volunteering at Sherman Gardens in the 1970s, model aprons with a cover for the “First Monday Coffee” cookbook.

(Scott Smeltzer / Personal Photographer)

“We didn’t have a waitress to do anymore,” recalls the Newport Beach resident. “That’s what kept the group together, so everyone was floundering. “

Then-president Dorothy Franklin (1996-98) suggested hosting a social gathering where volunteers could continue to meet regularly and bring their best foods from home. Today, First Coffee Monday celebrates its 25th anniversary.

At a recent meeting, members lined up to enjoy casseroles, breakfast pastries and quiches. A variety of baked goods, from gingerbread to brownies, attracted those looking for sweets, while fruit salads and a display of vivid pineapples provided a pop of color. About 60 volunteers and guides, seated at long tables, chatted between bites.

Sherman Gardens volunteer Karin Zenk attends a First Monday meeting at the Garden Monday.

Sherman Gardens volunteer Karin Zenk at a meeting of the First Monday Cafe in the Garden began collecting recipes from the group’s many food offerings in 2015.

(Scott Smeltzer / Personal Photographer)

“It’s the only time we’re together as a group, where we can laugh and share our friendship,” said Joanne Padour, a Newport Beach resident and food entry sheet keeper. “People are always ready to sign up. Everyone loves to share recipes, because we love food.

Member Karen Zenk said she started collecting recipes in 2015. For the “First Monday Coffee” cookbook, she solicited contributions from nearly 125 members eager to share their recipes and stories with an audience. wider.

“It kind of gives you a sense of what’s going on in their households and gives you a warm feeling of sharing,” she said Monday. “There are so many good cooks in our group.

The cookbook costs $ 24 and launches Thursday at the Sherman Gardens Volunteer Association Holiday Gift Fair, which features unique and handmade holiday items, gifts, holiday plants and freshly baked cookies. The annual event is one more way for the group to come together for a cause.

“Working in the garden, planting and preparing food, when you do things with people, that’s how your friendships grow,” Jenkins said. “I keep coming back because of the friends. “

Julie Jenkins, a Sherman Gardens volunteer since 1975, attends a "First Monday coffee" Meet.

Newport Beach resident Julie Jenkins, who began volunteering at Sherman Gardens in 1975, attends a November 1 “First Monday Coffee” meeting.

(Scott Smeltzer / Personal Photographer)

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