Cooking up Playcentre funds
Five women with nine children between them, 59 recipes, 100 pages, 500 copies, six months and a labour of love.
It’s Our Village Pantry, a book of tried-and-true family recipes lovingly collated and beautifully put together by a team of parents at Taupo¯ Family Playcentre.
Launched last Friday at sponsor Chef’s Complements, the book has been produced as a fundraising project, with proceeds going towards educational resources.
The project came about after a parent brought a similar book to a Playcentre session.
Clare Stewart, one of the members of the project team, says those at the session thought they could do something similar to provide a book of good family food that looked stylish, but had recipes that were tried and true.
“We probably didn’t really realise what we were getting ourselves into and it grew from there.”
The five-woman team that ran the book project all had complementary skills, from running businesses to graphic design and photography and product management.
They kicked off by defining what they wanted, then coming up with recipe guidelines. Playcentre members, grandparents and family and friends supplied recipes from their collections and family archives and the team kept collecting until they had come up with a suitable cross section of tasty treats and family meals.
Every recipe is accompanied by a photograph, and organising and holding the photo shoots was the most labour-intensive part. Childcare had to be organised, all the styling elements for each picture dreamed up and secured, the food prepared, props organised and the photographs taken.
Team photographer Judy Deighton says the project was a huge learning curve for everyone.
“None of us have been editors or book creators and I hadn’t done food photography . . . it was a bit scary but we nailed it and we’re really proud.”
She says what made it work was being organised, having a timeline and sticking to it and everybody playing their part.
“Our shoot days were 12-hour days . . . we would all commit to it and nobody would say ‘I have to go soon’. We had the kids sorted and we got it done.”
Playcentre members prepared the food each shoot day and got it to the team and a lot of juggling of childcare went on to get everything completed.
Possibly the most enjoyable part was that the team personally tested all the recipes, either by making them or by people bringing them in to be sampled, although the styling was also a highlight.
“The styling was very addictive,” confesses Clare. “I said to the girls every time we had a shoot coming up we would be looking at each other’s pantries or we would be shopping and see something that would be good in a photo.”
The look the team was going for was classy, clean and modern with easy to cook recipes they hope will be popular with the community.
“We didn’t want to just target mums of young kids at Playcentre, we wanted to bring it out in time for Christmas . . . at $25 we thought it would be a great Christmas present for grandparents.”
The book’s sections are baking, anytime (lunch meals, smoothies and the like), dinner, dessert and pantry essentials such as aioli, jam and chutney, and while there’s plenty of nutritious home cooking, there’s also a few treats.
The printing was the most expensive aspect and they were grateful for the support of Chef’s Complements with the cost.
■ Our Village Pantry can be bought for $25 at Chef’s Complements and through the Facebook page Our Village Pantry, and posted for an extra cost of $5.
The creative team behind the Our Village Pantry fundraising cookbook. From left: Sarah Fraser, Odette Arthurs, Jem Gregory, Clare Stewart and Judy Deighton.