Many of us have felt additional stress in our lives due to the current COVID-19 situation that is going on in the world. There are many unknowns, a lot of financial concerns, and much sadness over not being able to spend time with our loved ones. With all of this going on, one Martensville resident decided to create something positive for people to escape to and share with one another. ‘The Official Quarantine Cookbook’ Facebook group saw immense popularity quickly, and throughout the past couple of months, has become a place where people from all around the world go to share recipes and connect together during this time.
Dawna Doell never imagined that the Facebook group she created mid-March would surge to over 32,000 members. Initially, the project began after the local schools were shut down and she wanted to find a project for her children. “I wanted them to learn some new skills, and one of those skills was cooking. It is great because it is part math, part chemistry, part science, part art – it has a bit of everything and you have to think outside of the box. In order to keep them engaged, I created a Facebook page where they could share recipes with friends and family. That page got shared a few times, and within days, we had 1000 members. Honestly, I couldn’t reproduce this if I tried. I think it was all timing because a lot of people are at home and looking for a place to go online that wasn’t negative and they also have more time to cook. It worked out really well, and was the perfect recipe for something great,” Doell said.
Because of the popularity that the page saw, Doell decided to create a cookbook, choosing recipes from the thousands that have been shared. The cookbooks were available via pre-order until May 25 and will be shipped out by the end of June or beginning of July. Doell noted that the cookbook will be comprised of approximately 350 recipes throughout 250 pages and will be part cookbook, part history book and part journal.
The cookbook will contain a variety of recipes, all of which were popular items within the Facebook group, with one being a two-hour bun recipe that was shared on the page early on. “I can confidently say that since that recipe was shared, there’s not a single day that has gone by where someone has not made them. The recipes in the book are ones that are tried and true, basic and delicious.” Additionally, the book will feature a section for kids with simple instructions on how to cook basic items, as well as some fun recipes for things such as slime and sidewalk chalk.
Once completed, and after all of the expenses are paid, proceeds from the book will be split 50/50 and donated between Wounded Warriors of Canada and the Canadian Mental Health Association. For those that ordered a cookbook, they will own a piece of history, as this was a one-time opportunity. “This book will not be re-printed, and there is no ability to order one now that pre-orders are done. It was a limited edition opportunity due to the charity component of it,” explained Doell.
For Doell and a collection of volunteers from around the country, this cookbook was a huge undertaking, with Doell herself putting in approximately 1000 hours of work within the last 70 days to make this project a reality. “It is an immense amount of work, and there were a couple times when I thought about pulling the pin, but I knew I needed to see it through and I think once the orders are shipped and I have a moment to think about things and let it all sink in, the magnitude of this project will actually hit me.” Recently, Doell was told that the University of Saskatchewan would be getting a copy of the cookbook to be stored within their COVID-19 archives.
Although you may not be able to order a copy of the cookbook, the Facebook page remains in place. “It is a positive space for all and we want to keep it that way, so even though you can no longer order the book, the page is a place you can go for some great recipe ideas, a supportive community of people and a positive space for your mental health.”