Published DateSANBORNTON — ''She was our New Hampshire's Julia Child,'' says Milly Shaw of Lib Andrews, who was known to all as the English Muffin Queen of the Lakes Region and who shared generously both the food she created and her enthusiasm for all things dealing with the culinary arts in her weekly Cooking With Lib column which ran from 1978 to 1990 in the Laconia Citizen.
Those recipes will soon be available on a CD acording to Shaw, who says that Andrews, who lived at a 200-year-old farmhouse in town from the mid-1970s until her death in 1997, was a fabulous cook whose memory deserves to be honored.
She said that Andrews, like Julia Childs, was a well-travelled person who had cooked in many different countries, and loved to share her knowledge of different cuisines with her friends and neighbors.
Andrews was featured in Yankee Magazine in June of 1981 as a Great New England Cook and was state cookbook chair for A Taste of New Hampshire-Second Helpings.
While living in other parts of the world with her husband and "best friend," Henry, a paleobotanist, Lib shared her cooking and friendship with the Cambridge County Centre in Cambridge, England. She cooked for her husband's students in Poona, India and Arhus, Denmark, and the Botanical Staff at the National Museum in Stockholm, Sweden.
''She was a marvelous cook and was so involved in good causes in town,'' said Shaw, who said that Andrews for many years cooked at the Sanbornton Historical Society booth at Market Day, making everything from Greek cuisine, coachmen's special and Chinese egg rolls, to her famous English muffins.
''She once said that she proved that people in Sanbornton would eat something besides ham and beans,'' says Shaw, 83, a long-time member of the Sanbornton Historical Society which she helped found in 1952 and the town's postmaster for 30 years.
She says that she can recall one time when Andrews had cooked up an entire meal as a fundraiser for the Sanbornton Fire Department Relief Association.
''I gave her $100 and said it was for all that she's spent to make the meal. She took the $100 bill and gave it to the fire department,'' Shaw recalls.
Andrews started writing Cooking with Lib in 1978 after Laconia Citizen owner Alma Gallagher Smith suggested that she write a cooking column for the newspaper. She went on to write well over 600 columns over the next 12 years, providing an interesting history of each recipe along with it.
Shaw has a complete collection of all of Andrew's recipes and said that the society wanted to republish them in a large coffee table style book.
''But that would have been so large and so heavy that it wasn't practical,'' said Shaw, who said that instead the historical society worked with a California company to produce CDs of the entire 12 years of columns.
Shaw said that Megan Farkus undertook the arduous task of keyboarding all of Lib's columns into a format which could be published and that without her efforts the project would never have gotten off the ground.
Shaw wrote the following introduction:
''Lib's famous recipes, printed weekly in the Laconia Evening Citizen and the Lakes Region Trader, were used to make foods for Market Day and meals for families in need, and special fund-raiser dinners here and all over the Lakes Region. The history that accompanied each recipe was "tastefully" written by her. We honor your memory, Lib, and your good works.''
Jack Porter of the Sanbornton Historical said that the society is grateful to family of Lib Andrews and the Laconia Citizen for donation their interests in the recipe collection and to Steele Hill Resorts for their support of the project.
Milly Shaw holds a copy of the June, 1981 Yankee Magazine which featured Lib Andrews of Sanbornton as one of the great cooks of New England. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)