Powell River Public Library recently celebrated the release of Water & Wood: Recipes from a Coastal Community. The library fundraiser cookbook showcases the food and history of the Powell River region in a full-colour, 160-page book.
“This project highlights why so many of us love this community,” says cookbook editor Megan Cole. “It isn't just great recipes and mouth-watering food photography, it's also stories and profiles of people who live and work in Powell River.”
The book brings together a diverse collection of recipes, from West Coast Clams with Mexican Chorizo to Chocolate Zucchini Cake and Hazelnut Raspberry and Lemon Cheezecake.
“The recipes selected for the book were intended to highlight not only the variety of ingredients and resources found in our area, but also the variety of our community's past and present,” says Cole.
Cole, a freelance writer and avid home cook, hatched the plan for the cookbook with library board trustee Charlotte Gill. The pair were inspired by other libraries, particularly the Nelson Public Library, that have created community cookbooks as a way to fundraise for their library.
Water & Wood is divided into four sections: Oceans, Lakes and Rivers, Farms and Gardens, and Forests and Mountains.
“The reason we decided to divide the book into these four sections was to look at the landscape that is so much a part of who we are in Powell River,” says Cole. “Each specific region has provided for the people of this area in different ways. Whether it's shellfish, salmon or farm-fresh produce, the land and waters have given so much.”
Each section starts with an introduction written by local writers who offer a look into Powell River's history, including the story of the Pocahontas whiskey still on Texada Island.
The book is also peppered with profiles of some of the area's restaurant owners, farmers, brewery owners and more.
Some profiles include Sarah and Mike Salome of Coastal Cookery, Costa del Sol Latin Cuisine and Culaccino, Colin MacRae of Base Camp, André Comeau and Chris Roberts of Okeover Organic Oysters, Lisa and Mike Daniels of Windfall Farm and Heidi Jackson of Fruit and Roots Juice Bar.
“These are people we see around town. They are our friends and family, and they are the ones cooking, growing and preparing our food,” says Cole.
In addition to the book being full of local food and people, it was also printed on paper donated by Catalyst Paper Corporation.
“The mill is such an important part of Powell River, so it meant a lot to be able to print the cookbook on Catalyst paper,” says Cole. “We wanted as much of this project to be done locally as possible, using local photographers, writers and designers.”
Powell River Public Library opened in its new space in July and since then has seen a dramatic increase in use from the public. In October, in-person visits to the library were up 70 per cent over last year, with 235 new registrants this year from 72 in 2016.
Cole, who is also the teen services coordinator at the library, has seen the way the community has embraced the new space.
“It's amazing to look around the library and see how people are using the new space,” she says. “There are often days where every workspace has someone studying or working in it. We see families sitting on the floor of the children's space reading together and friends meeting to catch up over a cup of coffee from The Nook.”
Water & Wood costs $30 and profits go to support Powell River Public Library. The cookbook can be purchased at the library, the Peak office and at other participating locations.
For a full list of retailers and more information, or to order online, go to prpl.ca/explore/water-wood.