WESTVILLE — New Leaf is cooking up a tasty fundraiser they’ve never tried before. In fact, it’s their first big fundraiser of any sort.
The support group for men is working on publishing a cookbook, from men and for men, that will be launched on International Men’s Day on November 19.
Summer student Sarah Toole has been working on the project since it was pitched in the spring by New Leaf’s executive director Cathy Grant.
The concept is simple: New Leaf is looking for recipes from men, clients, community members and influential role models from the community, to be printed in a cookbook that will be sold as a fundraiser for the program. The aim is to create a staple in kitchens throughout the community and to create a bond in families while raising funds to support New Leaf.
“We’re looking for about 150 recipes,” says Toole. “If we get more that’s great. We’re looking for a variety — anything from appetizers to desserts and any skill level as well. One of the things we’ve realized from within our group is that a lot of our guys don’t have the skills they need in the kitchen. So if we’re starting at peanut butter and jam sandwiches that’s great, going up to whatever they can build their skills up to.”
While the book is from men for men, Toole laughs, “A lot of our recipes have been coming with a guy’s name on them, but with their wife’s instructions on them. If they want to come from families that’s great; I’m not going to turn away recipes.”
So far she has received a variety of recipes. “I have one called Road Kill Stew that has a variety of meats in it — porcupine and rabbit and beef. Probably our best one is for chicken scallopini from Master Chef Michael Bonacini from Toronto.”
New Leaf has been reaching out to role models in the community to participate in this inaugural offering. So far they have submissions from Pictou East MLA Tim Houston, The Stanfields, Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy, Central Nova MP Sean Fraser, Stellarton Mayor Danny MacGillivray, PC Party leader Jamie Baillie and retired NHL hockey phenom Colin White.
They are also looking for support with sponsorships.
“We’re going to initially print 100 to 200,” Toole said. “If we need more we can always send it back to the printer.”
Organizers have also reached out to local fire departments for recipes. “I’ve sent out a challenge to see which department can send us the most recipes,” Toole smiles. If people want to contact us and challenge other businesses — we’d love to have that. And we’ll print the winner of each challenge in the cookbook.”
Cathy Grant, New Leaf executive director, says one of the organization’s main goals is shining a light on the organization and its public image and helping the men New Leaf serves.
“Some people have this automatic image that comes to their mind about who we are and what we do and the men that we work with. We want people thinking about men cooking with and for their children. So it also gives us opportunities to talk to more people and give them more accurate information about the men that we work with. To me, it just helps this program on so many different levels and it helps the men when they see the community standing with them.”
The idea for the cookbook, Grant says, came from one of the men New Leaf serves saying he had been living alone for the last few months and had been struggling in the kitchen. “So we just started gathering recipes and it just became an obvious thing.”
In this way, Grant says, the cookbook will also be useful to kids going off to university for the first time, away from Mom’s cooking.
“And there is such an array of recipes from very simple to more complex — because some of our men are amazing cooks and bakers and barbecuers.”
For those who are not experts in the kitchen, Toole says the book will help out in that regard as well.
“We are going to put a glossary of items used in the kitchen, and information like what is the difference between a skillet and a frying pan. And we also want to have a glossary of terms like what does saute mean. At the bottom of the pages we’ll put in some relationship tips and testimonials from some of our guys. And we’re hoping to put in a resource guide for some other resources within the community.”
Grant also wants to find a spot for testimonials — “stories around meaningful times cooking together and eating together.”
New Leaf is planning a fun launch of the book when they are hoping to have some of the recipes made by a local chef for tasting at a sampling party. They are also looking for name suggestions. If you have a fun title to suggest, send a message via Facebook or email it to email@example.com. The winner will receive a copy of the cookbook for free.
New Leaf’s Sarah Toole, left, and Cathy Grant, review some of the recipes that have been submitted so far for the cookbook the organization will be producing this fall. (Jardine photo)