BEST FOOD PODCAST James Beard Awards, Webby Awards

This episode is available in Stitcher Premium.

Sign up for Stitcher Premium:  
  • - Get special access to our back catalog (hundreds of episodes!)
  • - Hear our new shows commercial free
  • - Listen to tons of other Stitcher Premium exclusives
  • - Support our work in the process
  Use promo code SPORKFUL for $5 off the annual plan. Sign up today and thank you!

Can The Library Of Congress Cooking Club Rise Again?

Posted by

Dec 04, 2017

This week's episode of The Sporkful podcast is up! Listen through the player, Stitcher, or Apple Podcasts. (And please subscribe!)

The Library of Congress is the biggest library in the world. It has 500,000 food books alone. If you lined up ALL its books on one shelf, that shelf would be 838 miles long!

And as you might guess, a library with that many books needs A LOT of librarians. At the Library of Congress, there are experts in just about every region, culture, and period of history you can think of.

That means that when the library's cooking club was formed in 1949, it brought together foods from all over the world.

"The cooking club developed from this simple club into something very elaborate," says librarian Laverne Page, who's been at the Library of Congress, and in the cooking club, for more than 40 years.

For decades, the club was an institution at the library. But then, it started losing members. By the 2000s it was just about dead.

Now Laverne is trying to bring back the cooking club, with help from another longtime member and partner in crime -- database specialist Shirley Loo, who's been at the library for 50 years. (Yes -- Laverne and Shirley!)


Today on The Sporkful, we’ll travel to DC to learn about the past, and future, of the Library of Congress cooking club, a group that we think seems quintessentially librarian. Plus, Dan attends the group's holiday luncheon, and favors members with some librarian jokes.

And if you want the recipe for "Tomato Surprise," the dish Shirley describes in the show, here it is:


This week's episode of The Sporkful podcast is up! Listen through the player, Stitcher, or Apple Podcasts. (And please subscribe!)

Connect with me on TwitterInstagram and Facebook!

Today's sponsors:

  • Go to and use the code SPORK to save $5 on a one-year subscription (and get an exclusive tote bag!)
  • Go to and get a free 11x14 canvas (just pay shipping), using promo code SPORKFUL
  • Go to and get 10% off one order of $2500 or less, using the promo code SPORKFUL10 (case sensitive)
  • Go to for spice facts and recipes

Interstitial music in this episode from Black Label Music:

- "When You're Away" by Kenneth J. Brahmstedt

- "Comin' For A Change" by Stephen Sullivan

- "Mouse Song" by Kenneth J. Brahmstedt

- "Fresh Air" by Erick Anderson

- "Dreamin'" by Erick Anderson

Photos: FlickrCC/Gwyn Lowe; courtesy of Shirley Loo and Laverne Page

Filed under //                 

comments powered by Disqus