We were worried it would be too cold for a good turnout, but you proved us wrong (hooray!). On Sunday afternoon, Amanda weeded out a few hundred giveaway cookbooks and stacked them into categories, her daughter Addison prepared a few colorful signs to entice passerby, and Tad and Walker, her husband and son, managed to haul all the books onto the front stairs of their home on Willow Street in Brooklyn.
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We then arranged the books in neat rows like libary shelves on the stairs, leaving a very narrow path for customers to reach them.
There were sections for single subject cookbooks, vegetarian cooking, baking, chef-written, memoirs, Italian, and general cooking, plus a whole stack of Mark Bittman's books. We asked for $5 per book, all of which would be donated to Just Food, a non-profit organization that helps educate kids about healthy eating and connects local area farmers with CSA communities. Shoppers started showing up about half an hour early (we're finding this is a trend in Food52 event attendance).
Wonderfully, visitors to Willow Street brought more than just their donations; they also passed over hand-written family recipes in exchange for books like Broccoli and Other Tales of Food and Love and The Best Recipes in the World. Addison made sure everyone who wandered up was awarded a Salted Double-Chocolate Olive Oil Cookie (thanks to our test kitchen chef Josh!), and we greeted everyone from curious neighbors to those who had seen the announcement post on our site.
You brought your favorite family recipes! And peppers. And jam.
Afterwards, we counted the donations (just over $400!) that will all go to Just Food and warmed up with mugs of hot chocolate and, okay, maybe a few more cookies.
We'll be posting some of our favorite of the donated recipes over the holiday season, so check back soon. Thanks to everyone who came out!
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).