Books of Love: Healing by Cooking

Stiff binding cracks when you open it to smooth, clean pages covered in black pepper letters and vivid photos of food you can almost smell.

Or, crispy pages spotted from spilled sauces have bindings so loose they automatically open to the most beloved recipe.

Cookbooks are time capsules and food anthropologies, gifts that mark momentous occasions and connect you to places, people, and time.

Interabang Books reported an increase in cookbook sales in 2020, as restaurants closed and people dined at home.

With food festivals and chef-driven fundraisers still on ice, two nonprofits have published cookbooks as proxies for in-person fundraisers and tools to connect home cooks to a cause.

Ronald McDonald House’s Come to the Table collects 40 recipes provided by well-known and up-and-coming chefs covering everything from seafood to salad and pasta to pastry.  The book commemorates 40 years of the “House that Love Built” in Dallas. Get it at Interabang.

Chefs like Jeramie Robinson, executive chef at Thompson Hotel, and Nikky Phinyawatana of Asian Mint embrace the Ronald McDonald House mission to create a supportive, home-like environment for families during their child’s medical crisis.

“I’m a dad of two daughters,” Robinson said, “and knowing its mission of supporting children in need of care and proper resources to stay healthy is the main reason I chose to be part of this cookbook.”

Cooking at Home Through the Seasons: A Collection of Recipes Created by Dallas’ Top Chefs from Their Homes to Yours benefits the Dallas 24 Hour Club and its mission to provide safe, sober transitional living for homeless men and women.

The hope is that this will help offset revenue lost by not having the annual Dallas All-Star Chef Classic this year. Honorary chef co-chairs are Sharon Van Meter of Beckley 1115 and Junior Borges, executive chef of Meridian.

Loved and respected chefs such as Janice Provost of Parigi and Matt Balke from Encina added to this beautifully curated selection of recipes.

To help novice cooks master the recipes, the LeCroy Center at Dallas College has filmed seven cooking segments featuring participating chefs preparing the recipe featured in the cookbook. This incredible partnership allows Dallas College to showcase its Culinary, Pastry, and Hospitality Program, which offers Dallas 24 Hour Club’s residents career training in culinary arts. This book is available at dallas24hourclub.org.

Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

With these cookbooks, Ronald McDonald House of Dallas and Dallas 24-Hour Club hope to heal broken hearts and souls. With their recipes, chefs offer inspiration, love, and the knowledge that there is almost nothing healthier than sharing a meal with those you love. Buy a book or two and consider donating: The need is greater than ever.

Follow Kersten Rettig, a Park Cities-based writer with more than 30 years’ experience in food and beverage marketing and public relations, On Instagram @KerstenEats.

Kersten Rettig

Kersten Rettig has represented some of world's best known brands in her 30+ years in marketing and PR, including Montblanc, Rosewood Hotels, Highland Park Village and Taco Bell. As a former restaurant owner, she knows the business and has a deep affection for the hospitality industry. She is a Park Cities resident and a happy wife, mom of three and dogmother. Follow her @KerstenEats.

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