Two days ago, the New York Times had a great article about a concept that was completely new to me up to that point: Community Cookbooks. These are basically recipes donated by various people, ideally easy to cook, and collected into a single volume together with things like stories, poetry, pictures, etc. Originally used in order to raise funds or to spread political views they have been around for quite some time.
One early community cookbook that became popular in the United States was “A Poetical Cookbook” by Maria J. Moss, published in 1864 to raise money for injured Union soldiers during the Civil War.
The idea seems to have a little revival right now, and I certainly see the appeal. Now that I’ve been at home for more than 7 weeks, the lunch options are way past the point of not being repetitive. At the same time, I don’t want to have to shop for expensive ingredients and/or expensive kitchen utilities just to prepare the latest and greatest foodblog/instagram recipe.
I imagine a community cookbook feeling like the good old recipe drawer at my parents' home full of traditional meals mixed with the content of a non-food blog, zine, or, for instance, travel stories. If this sounds interesting to you, make sure to checkout the New York Times article or one from 2012 at NPR!
I’ve also found a couple of other examples that sound interesting to me:
- The Portland Farmers Market offers a cookbook with recipes from local chefs and farmers.
- The Greek Orthodox Church in Portland also has a Greek cooking called “Flavor It Greek!" book funding various charitable projects in the area.
- In Gisingen in the Austrian state of Vorarlberg a community cookbook was created in order to support the local church.
The whole idea is so intriguing to me that I’ve now bought an Affinity Publisher license (OK, I wanted to do that anyway but this just gave me the last push) and will now talk with parents and close friends if they’d be OK to send me their favourite recipes to be shared with everyone who’s participating. Sure, it’s not a real community cookbook and I don’t intend to sell it in order to collect donations but it’s a start. And if nothing else, I will have some fun playing around with Affinity Publisher and create some slightly better looking PDFs/ePubs 😅