By Darren Lum
Bringing together the Highlands East community through food is at the foundation of a new cook book being led by the Central Food Network.
This cook book is expected to be a celebration of the community and will include a collection of recipes that reflect the Highlands East community and the people that live, work and play there.
For this to work CFN, whose mission statement is “to assist the community and partners share food resources and create opportunities to help those living in poverty,” is asking for recipes from individuals, who are year-round and seasonal residents, businesses such as restaurants, and local groups such as lake associations, or recreational clubs.
Tina Jackson, executive director, Central Food Network said she hopes this initiative will help.
“Food is always the way to bring people together. Even when we physically can’t be. It’s one of those things that draws people together and in many respects it’s an equalizer. We all need to eat. We all cook and we thought this was a good way to celebrate community and to give people something to do while they’re safely being at home,” she said. “If we can turn it into a fundraiser as well to be able to help purchase more food for the food bank to give out to people that’s a win. A win-win.”
Gail Gotter, a CFN volunteer for four year, is spearheading this effort.
She is accepting the recipes and said the idea came from another cook book she bought, which was started from friends of hers, who created the book as a fundraiser after she moved to the Highlands East area five years ago.
Up to five recipes will be used in the cook book from each individual, business or group, but more submissions will be accepted so Gotter can go through them. It’s ideal if the recipe includes ingredients that can be acquired locally in the community.
What she liked a lot about the cook book that she is basing the CFN one on was how the recipes were approachable.
“As I’m looking through there’s nothing out of the ordinary in a lot of the recipes. That’s what I like about it and that’s why I purchased it. I think it will be good for people up here. Especially when they see their name attached to the recipe and the information,” she said. “I think it will make people feel really good.”
The example cookbook is 100 pages, measuring 5’ x 8’, spiral-ringed bound (allows to be folded flat in half) with a glossy cover and back, which is water resistant, and includes 171 recipes, hints and information on related cooking aspects such as spices. She believes matching the recipe tally of 171 is a reasonable goal for the community with this CFN cook book, which is expected to be printed by Gateway Rasmussen, The Cookbook Printer.
Although there won’t be colour pictures of what each recipe makes in the cook book, there will be colourful dividers for sections such as appetizers, soups, meatless mains in the cook book.
Jackson said a cover has not been decided, but could be an opportunity for local artists to submit ideas.
Gotter adds this recipe book could also be a reference tool for people, who have asked about what the community kitchen has cooked in the past so they can cook it at home.
She said she loves to volunteer because she is able and it’s what everyone does in the community.
“The people here are just fabulous. If you ever need anything, no matter who they are or what’s their background. People are there to help. If I can do something to help in my own little menial way that’s what I enjoy doing,” she said.
This is a first recipe book for the organization, but could spur on other similar efforts in the coming years, Jackson intimated.
“We’ll see how it goes and certainly we’re very excited about this. I’m hoping it will turn into something that we can do a second round of it,” she said.
The cookbook is open to more than just individuals.
“We’re definitely encouraging local businesses to submit recipes. If we can highlight local groups and businesses we’d love to be able to do that,” she said.
Joanne Vanier, treasurer of the Wilberforce Agricultural Fair, said this provides multiple benefits from fundraising to giving a centralized focus for people.
She said submitting recipes is important on behalf of the fair and helps to keep their event active after a year out of the limelight.
“It just seemed like a great idea for the community. There’s so many little groups right now that are struggling to get noticed. For instance, the Wilberforce Agricultural Fair. We didn’t have a fair last year and we’re just talking about what we possibly can do this year so putting in some recipes is a way to say, ‘Hey, we’re still here’ and support the Food Network at the same time,” she said.
Vanier, who is also long-time booster of geocaching in the area, said recipes will be coming on behalf of Tupper T. Turtle, who is the mascot of Geocaching Capital of Canada GeoTour.
Searching through Google for recipes is a ubiquitous action for most, but knowing the people who provided a recipe is important aspect to this endeavour.
“Having something that is submitted by people you know or organizations you know that’s what makes this special,” Vanier said. “You can’t get that on Google.”
Send recipes to email@example.com or use this form to submit (https://forms.gle/CouhE2i8XdGNes5q8). If emailing, be sure to include your name (and any business or group info, if applicable) as you want it to appear in the cookbook, and the recipe(s) either in the body of the email or attached as a Word document.
For more email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 705-448-2285.