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COVID cookbook: Okanagan College publish pandemic era recipes

Image Credit: SUBMITTED: Roen Janyk

It started with a conversation among Okanagan College library staff about keeping students engaged during the pandemic, and ultimately ended with the publication of a 120-page COVID cookbook.

What We Cooked: A Compilation of Recipes During COVID Times has just been published by Okanagan College and features more than 80 recipes submitted by people throughout the Okanagan Valley.

The recipes give an insight into what everyone from professional chefs to politicians were cooking during the pandemic.

Okanagan College library chair Roen Janyk said the idea was born in the early days of the pandemic when discussing how to keep the community engaged.

"Something that came up really early in our discussion was all the different things that everyone was cooking all the time," Janyk said. "We thought wouldn't it be great if we could just compile some of the things that people are cooking into a cookbook as a sort of a memory of this time."

A request for recipes went out and submissions came flooding back, from the humorous to the complex.

An English student submitted "Chicken Soup for the Starving Student’s Self-Isolated Soul" writing the recipe in story form. Another submission reads, "Even in lockdown you’ll never feel desserted with these immuni-treats nearby."

There is a vegetarian and vegan section, recipes for staples like banana bread and butternut squash soup, and more complex recipes from professional chefs at the college's culinary arts program. The cookbook also features the popular COVID favourite, sourdough bread.

With cafes and restaurants closed in the earlier days of the pandemic, those who ate out a lot were forced into cooking at home while grocery stores saw shortages of everything from yeast to canning jars.

Along with needing something to do indoors, Janyk also thinks people wanted to test themselves.

"I think that's why sourdough bread really caught on," she said. "It was a bit challenging and people needed something to challenge themselves to do because they were stuck at home."

Cooking was also something people could do together virtually, before sharing photos of their successes, and failures, with each other on social media.

Ultimately the cookbook was about connecting people during isolation.

"It really brought together a community of people... which is what it was intended to do," she said. "So I think we're pretty happy with the result."

What We Cooked: A Compilation of Recipes During COVID Times is available for purchase from Kelowna's Mosaic Books either online or in the store. It costs $20. All proceeds go to the student food bank program.

For more information and to purchase the cookbook go here.

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