ALTON – For years, customers at My Just Desserts have pondered about the recipes behind their favorite dishes, usually the owners were happy to trade, but some are well-kept secrets – until now.

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Wednesday will see the delivery of at least 200 cookbooks called “Out of the Vault Recipes.” Accompanied by sketches of historic Alton by Quincy-based artist, David Alan Badger, the cookbook will include more than 20 of the local eatery's most-requested specials. This does include two of the recipes never before released to the public – the diner's famous chicken salad and “perfect” lemon meringue pie. Current owner Yvonne Campbell worked with Rose Badasch and former owner Anne Badasch to compile a list of old and new recipes from the rotating special selection of around 100 items.

“We picked the ones our customers asked us about the most,” Campbell said. “We sat around and brainstormed about the best ones to include.”

This idea has been around three months in the making and is the brainchild of the Badasches and Campbell to better market the historic business's new ownership but old traditions. Copies of the cookbook will cost around $14.99 and will only be available within the restaurant. As many as 200 will be on sale Wednesday. More will be ordered as the needs arise.

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Outside of the vaulted recipes of “perfect meringue” and the oft-lauded chicken salad, a variety of pies, quiches and soups will also be released to the general public.

“We've traded recipes with people before, here and there,” Rose Badasch said. “We've never given out the recipe for our chicken salad or 'perfect meringue' so this will definitely be a first for that.”

Alongside the distinctly Altonian recipes are sketches done by Badger of historic homes with a line or two about the history of each one.

In the introduction to what will surely be a mainstay in Riverbend kitchens, Campbell dedicated the cookbook to her mother, her children and Ann Badasch for “trusting me enough to pass the torch and history of My Just Desserts.”

More information can be found by going to My Just Desserts, located at 31 E. Broadway in Alton. Campbell said they are taking pre-orders today. Anyone who pays for a cookbook today will be given a copy tomorrow when they arrive.

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