State College teenager Madeline Krentzman launched a project last year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting food insecurity that she saw in her community. Now, nearly 10 months after the State High junior first began Bake with Love, Krentzman’s hard work is paying off with the launch of the initiative’s first fundraiser, the “Bake with Love” cookbook.
“I started working on the project in May of last year,” Krentzman says. “We were amidst the COVID-19 pandemic… and it really was coming from a place of gratitude. I felt really thankful for everything that I had in this really difficult situation and I knew there were a lot of people in my community that did not have that same situation. I was able to combine my love of baking and food with another one of my passions, helping the community. I made this project as a result of that.”
The “Bake with Love” cookbook features nearly 90 baking recipes sourced from Krentzman’s family, friends and community members and will be available for sale in the coming weeks.
“It is an entirely baking-oriented cookbook. It’s pretty much all sweet recipes,” Krentzman says. “The recipes come from a very wide range of cultures and traditions. It’s a very diverse spread. There’s Jewish, Muslim, Armenian, Russian, Indian, Italian, Colombian, Polish, Swedish… The list goes on. It was really important to me to have an all-encompassing cookbook with lots of recipe diversity.”
The recipes are accompanied by photos, stories, anecdotes and traditions. Krentzman hopes to sell at least 500 cookbooks and all proceeds from the project benefit the YMCA of Centre County’s anti-hunger program.
“I knew when I started this that I wanted to do something with food insecurity. It was important to me that the money stayed local,” Krentzman says. “Originally, I was thinking of doing something with a program like No Kid Hungry, but they [address] the greatest national needs and my goal is to have the greatest impact in my community.
“I loved what the YMCA was doing. I really like how they were adapting with the ever-changing environment we’re in… They were able to support our community throughout this whole pandemic really effectively.”
She adds, “The proceeds [from the cookbook] are going to a wonderful organization. It’s really helping to address a super-prominent need that… people are not aware of. Hunger and food insecurity is an issue that goes unaddressed in most situations.”
Krentzman explains the “Bake with Love” cookbook is only “part one” of the greater Bake with Love Project and she’s hoping to plan more fundraisers as time goes on.
“I would really love to do Zoom baking classes and start making a few recipes out of the cookbook,” she says. “I would also like to do some form of a food drive; with COVID, that can be kind of difficult, so maybe that’s a little later down the line, but I see this really staying prominent even into the future.”
Over the long process of putting together the cookbook, Krentzman says she made many of the included recipes. Her favorites include a chocolate strawberry tart recipe that came from her grandmother’s close friend, as well as another dish with a highly personal personal connection.
“There’s also a recipe in here for Jewish noodle pudding,” she says. “It’s a very traditional Jewish brunch dish that my mom submitted that’s just a very special family recipe. It’s always been one of my favorites.”
The “Bake with Love” cookbook will be available for purchase online at www.bakewithlove.org, and at The Makery, 209 W. Calder Way, and The Cheese Shoppe, 234 E. Calder Way, in downtown State College. For those who purchase the “Bake with Love” cookbook online, shipping is available, though Krentzman is also considering offering pick-up and delivery options for local shoppers.