“When you cook, just put your whole heart and love into the recipe that you’re doing, and people will enjoy it,” Charlotte Goins, volunteer at West Philadelphia Senior Community Center, believes. Charlotte, along with members, staff, and friends of the WPSCC put their whole heart and love into the recipes they shared for the center’s first ever cookbook.

For Charlotte, cooking, and using recipes, has been a way of life since her childhood. “We were raised on a farm and did a lot of cooking. And making recipes was one of the number one things we did,” Charlotte remembers. Cooking remained part of her life. She worked as the head cook at a daycare center where she invented many children-friendly recipes while trying new things with old recipes. “I always cook,” she says. “I still do. I cook dinner every day. We don’t eat out a lot.”

When you cook, just put your whole heart and love into the recipe that you’re doing, and people will enjoy it!

Charlotte G., Volunteer at LCFS’ West Philadelphia Senior Community Center

Putting a new twist on an old recipe, or using a recipe that she discovered while traveling, delights and challenges Charlotte. While vacationing in Alaska, she tried, and loved, smoked salmon dip “They kept serving this dip. I kept eating it. I thought, ‘this is really great; this will be great for someone who’s having a party,” Charlotte shares. “When I came back, I got the ingredients. It cost me $25. I said, ‘I can make this cheaper than that.’ I think I got it down to $10 or $12 now.” Her smoked salmon dip quickly became popular at parties.

The cookbook also includes her tantalizing slush punch recipe. Charlotte introduced the drink at her niece’s wedding. “The recipe that you have there in the cookbook is just for a small crowd, but I did it for 200 people at my granddaughter’s 16th birthday party, and we ran out!” Charlotte says. “I had so many bottles of ginger ale,” she adds. “Once you make the ice, once you have that ice flavor, and you keep pouring that ginger ale over top until it all goes. It keeps it cold and the flavor is very good!”

Food brings people together and creates new memories. With this cookbook, Charlotte, and all the members, staff, and friends who contributed, hope that these recipes become ones readers cherish in their own homes now—and for generations to come.

Watch Charlotte make her beloved Chicken Salad!