Friday, November 26, 2010

Islanders create cookbook concept to benefit FISH, CHR

As a way to show gratitude for all the wonderful things Community Housing and Resources (CHR) and Friends in Service Here (FISH) do for the islands, a committee of island residents have joined forces to create “Sanibel’s Melting Pot,” a cookbook project to benefit CHR and FISH. 

Spearheaded by island artist CC Caldwell and island writer Sharon Corbett, Sanibel’s Melting Pot will feature hundreds of recipes submitted by island residents and guests, with 100 percent of the proceeds from sales of the cookbook going to help CHR and FISH continue their missions. 

Earlier this year, Caldwell was volunteering for FISH, she and fellow volunteer Lynn Riddlehoover were discussing Caldwell’s former career as a restaurant owner. Casually enough, Riddlehoover suggested that Caldwell should write a cookbook someday. 

The idea stuck with Caldwell, and someday can six months later when she was attending a meeting for CHR and, after running into Riddlehoover again, Caldwell decided that a cookbook might be just the right idea to help create income for two island organizations that mean so much to her, CHR and FISH. 

“They both really need the money, and the sale of the cookbooks is something that could create income for CHR and FISH for years to come,” said Caldwell.

Caldwell and Corbett then pitched the idea at a Sanibel-Captiva Zonta Club meeting and the support they received from Zonta members was overwhelming.

“They were so excited because they all had special things they liked to cook and it just grew from there,” Corbett said, noting that Zonta has already volunteered to help the cookbook committee — which consists of Caldwell, Corbett, Myra Legg and Carol Reed — draft a business plan and provide help when needed throughout the course of the cookbook’s production. 

“CC and I both live in CHR housing and we benefit from them beautifully, and FISH does a lot for everyone on the islands. We’re so grateful for both organizations, and that’s the idea behind this cookbook — to give back,” Corbett said. 

“If we take the proceeds and share them with these two organizations,” Caldwell said, “it’s a way to give to each one while, at the same time, the whole island benefits — not just one group or person. CHR and FISH are there for everybody that lives on the islands.”

Caldwell is currently searching for four sponsors that are able to pay for for the first 1,000 printed copies of the cookbook. Each sponsor will receive a space on the back cover, but will only need to pay (around $800 to $1,000) once. 

“It’s a great opportunity because it’s ongoing — sponsors don’t have to pay for the space a second or third or fourth time. They pay only once,” Caldwell said. “If the book continues into more reprintings, the four back cover sponsors will continue to have free advertising for however long the cookbook lasts.”

Though they’re still in the beginning stages of collecting recipes — Caldwell and Corbett hope to gather around 400 recipes altogether for the cookbook — the cookbook committee is hoping that their project will continue to raise money for FISH and CHR for at least the next five years.

“Right now, we’re trying to get as many recipes that are representative of Sanibel and Captiva as possible,” Corbett said.

And though the title of the project is “Sanibel’s Melting Pot,” Caldwell and Corbett said that Captivans — and visitors the islands too — are more than welcome to submit their favorite recipes for the cookbook. 

Recipes of all kinds are needed, Caldwell said, including appetizers, salads, soups, entrees and desserts.

Even Corbett — who’s a vegetarian — has some special tofu recipes to share. 

Sanibel and Captiva restaurants are also encouraged to submit recipes for their signature dishes — and to sweeten the deal, Caldwell is giving restaurant owners the opportunity to submit a short description and photograph to accompany their recipe in the publication. 

“This cookbook is a big enterprise,” Corbett said, “but with mostly volunteers helping out, we can do it. I feel that the energy that these CHR women put forth is just like money in the bank. We have some really strong women putting this together.”

“And by the way — I make the best crab cakes you ever tasted,” Caldwell said, asserting that her special recipe will definitely be included in Sanibel’s Melting Pot. 

Interested participants should submit their recipes with all the following information:

• Your name and permission to publish it along with your recipe

• Your phone number in case the committee has questions (not for publication)

• The name or title of your recipe and the number of servings

• The ingredients and amounts

• A statement about the submission (i.e. chocolaty and sweet, a family favorite)

If you have recipes you would like to submit for the cookbook and if you own a business and would like to participate or become a sponsor, contact CC Caldwell (239-220-9280 or or Sharon Corbett (239-898-8294 By JANE BRICKLEY

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