Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Reason for the BryonySeries cookbook

   Introduction to Memories in the Kitchen: Bites and Nibbles from “Bryony.”

   Why a cookbook?

   Well, why NOT a cookbook?

   Even before I began submitting Bryony to agents and small presses, my kids and I talked about all the fun, additional products the novel might inspire.

   Although I’ll probably never see bendable dolls with their own line of clothing (too bad, since we could make a fortune on all those lost, little shoes) or a Simons Mansion dollhouse (I REALLY want one), the cookbook idea flourished inside me, especially after I wrote a story on what Kathy Carey did for March of Dimes..

   For two decades, this remarkable woman participated in Grundy County's March of Dimes walk. In 2000, after a friend gave birth to a premature baby, Carey increased her efforts. She assisted the district coordinator. She contacted companies for donations and sponsorships. She re-routed the local walk to increase its visibility.

   Three years ago, Carey read an advertisement for fundraising cookbooks. Although she owned no computer and had no previous cookbook experience, Carey sent for the information. She studied it closely and decided she could do it. She set a fundraising goal of $7,000 and calculated that she needed to sell 1,000 cookbooks to reach it. Carey peddled the books at local stores, craft shows and festivals until she sold them all.

   Inspired by Carey's story, I decided to create a Bryony themed cookbook and donate any profits it might make. Its recipient is Big Brothers Big Sisters of Will and Grundy Counties. In its 40-year history, the organization has matched over 15,000 at risk children from single-parent homes.

   Because Bryony's main character, Melissa Marchellis, spends part of her childhood in a single parent home, the group was a good match for the cookbook. I am humbled that Big Brothers Big Sisters of Will and Grundy Counties agreed.

   So, I scrolled through the manuscript, jotted all the food references, and began collecting recipes. I modified many of the Victorian dishes to ease preparation, but kept the original language intact. Some, such as boiled calves head, are included so readers can learn about the culinary delights of days long past.

   But enough talking. As Melissa’s younger brother Brian said during a holiday dinner, “We made all this food to eat, right?”

   Right, Brian. Happy reading and bon appétit!

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