San Benito Lifestyle

Women’s Club of Hollister publishes cookbook in time for the holidays

It features treasured family recipes and new favorites.

If you’re looking for a local angle to traditional favorites like cannoli or gazpacho, or want to try something more unusual like dill pickle bread, the Women’s Club of Hollister has a new cookbook that will certainly be a treat for your taste buds.

The club actively raises money all year long with events including their “Beauty is a Strong Woman” Fashion Show, and the Flamingo Flocking Fundraiser, in which flocks of plastic flamingos invade neighborhood lawns. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has kept them from taking part in their normal activities this year.

Swirled blueberry lemon thyme cake from 'Flocking Good Recipes.' Photo courtesy of the Women's Club of Hollister.
Swirled blueberry lemon thyme cake from ‘Flocking Good Recipes.’ Photo courtesy of the Women’s Club of Hollister.

“Like every other organization in town,” said Kimberley Kimber of the Women’s Club of Hollister, “we have had to come up with other ways to make money for our projects. We have already had a fundraiser where we made and sold masks, which went quite well. But now we have put together a cookbook people can buy for the holidays. It was a fun project we could do without having to leave the house.”

The club named the book “Flocking Good Recipes,” in honor of their most popular fundraiser. Thirty members contributed around 200 recipes for the book.

“It is a decent-sized cookbook and hopefully not like every other cookbook you have seen over the years,” said Kimber. “It is very eclectic. It is not all old-time recipes, but has a mix of gourmet things as well. A lot of our members have traveled around the world so they have brought back international recipes as well. Also holiday drinks and desserts, of course.”

Kimber contributed a recipe she is proud of—her dill pickle bread.

“It sounds weird,” she said, “but if you are a fan of dill pickles, you will love it. It is a quick bread with cheese in it, very easy to make, and it is very good. It is definitely a savory bread, but we have a lot of sweet things in there too.”

Dill pickle bread. Photo courtesy of the Women's Club of Hollister.
Dill pickle bread. Photo courtesy of the Women’s Club of Hollister.

Another contributor is club member Kathy Kessler. She shared recipes that her late mother had never allowed out of the family, which means they’re being published for the first time.

“My cannoli recipe is a recipe my mom created by adapting an old recipe she got from a friend’s father,” Kessler said. “And there is the Baker’s semi-sweet German chocolate cake, which is an old, old recipe that was created by the Baker’s Chocolate brand many years ago. I used to make it for my husband—you know, young love—and that was over 43 years ago.” 

Funds raised by the cookbook are targeted toward the charities and projects the Women’s Club supports, including their Comfort and Care Backpacks program that supplies displaced women and youth with essentials for the first few days after leaving their living situations.

“We also disperse funds to high school scholarships,” Kimber said. “We also give money to Chamberlains House, Emmaus House, the Food Bank, Girls Inc—there are a lot of organizations we give to. But the money does all stay locally.”

One fun project is Laundry to Literacy, where the Women’s Club places books in local laundromats.

Marianne Miller with gazpacho soup. Photo courtesy of the Women's Club of Hollister.
Marianne Miller with gazpacho soup. Photo courtesy of the Women’s Club of Hollister.

“These are books for all ages,” Kimber said. “The kids can take a book home—they do not have to bring it back. We are constantly refilling those shelves to encourage children to read.”

The “Flocking Good Recipes” cookbook sells for $15 and is available from club members, online, or by sending a check to their post office box. They will be mailing the books and doing porch drop-offs as well. More information is on the Women’s Club of Hollister website.

The club shared a recipe for BenitoLink readers to try.

Marianne Miller’s Gazpacho


  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 4-5 slices white bread
  • ½ cup vinegar
  • ½ can stewed tomatoes
  • 6 tomatoes
  • 1 head of celery
  • 1 peeled cucumber
  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 quart of tomato juice
  • 2 cups of water

Use your largest bowl. Mince three cloves of garlic and mash against the side of the bowl. Remove the crust from four or five slices of white bread. Mash bread together with garlic and half a cup of vinegar until it forms a paste. Stir in about half a can of stewed tomatoes. Finely chop up the rest of the ingredients and add to the mixture.


BenitoLink is a nonprofit news website that reports on San Benito County. Our team is working around the clock during this time when accurate information is essential. It is expensive to produce local news and community support is what keeps the news flowing. Please consider supporting BenitoLink, San Benito County’s news.

Robert Eliason

I got my start as a photographer when my dad stuck a camera in my hand on the evening of my First Grade Open House. He taught me to observe, empathize, then finally compose the shot.  The editors at BenitoLink first approached me as a photographer. They were the ones to encourage me to write stories about things that interest me, turning me into a reporter as well.  BenitoLink is a great creative family that cares deeply about the San Benito community and I have been pleased to be a part of it.