published Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

Junior League volunteer oversees seasonal cookbook

* Name: Ginger Birnbaum

* Position: Recipe chairwoman and donations manager

* Location: Junior League of Chattanooga

  • photo
    Staff Photo by Jake Daniels/Chattanooga Times Free Press Ginger Birnbuam shows off a platter of hors d'oeuvres at a Junior League tasting party to promote the group's new cookbook, which will be released in April.

* Giving back: Birnbaum is a full-time mom who works with a number of nonprofit organizations, including Junior League. Birnbaum is a dues-paying member who volunteers her time. For the past year, she has been working to coordinate recipes for a soon-to-be-released cookbook.

* Best part of the job: “It was really interesting because I got to deal with nearly every League member,” she said. “It was great for communication skills. And if I didn’t know my way around the kitchen before, after testing so many recipes, I know a lot more about cooking and baking. I get to do a lot of things that I never would have done. Not everyone gets to publish a cookbook.”

* Most challenging part of the job: Finding only 200 recipes out of more than 1,200 submitted to fill a seasonal cookbook. Birnbaum said she sought to find a balance between easy recipes and more difficult ones. Every recipe, she said, was tested at least three times, which often led to nights at home filled with hearty meal after hearty meal, just to make sure everything got done on time.

* Best advice: “I think it’s important to do something you feel passionate about and that you enjoy doing,” Birnbaum said. “But also something that challenges you. It’s just always nice to be able to learn something new from a position and be challenged by it. I think the only way to learn is to be challenged and overcome the challenge. It’s really important to do something that first of all you have a strength in and you know you can be good at, but also that you have fun doing and can be challenged by.”

* Getting involved: “A service-minded person would be happiest” working with Junior League, Birnbaum said.

about Holly Leber ...

Holly Leber is a reporter and columnist for the Life section. She has worked at the Times Free Press since March 2008. Holly covers “everything but the kitchen sink" when it comes to features: the arts, young adults, classical music, art, fitness, home, gardening and food. She writes the popular and sometimes-controversial column Love and Other Indoor Sports. Holly calls both New York City and Saratoga Springs, NY home. She earned a bachelor of arts ...

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