A recipe for getting through COVID-19

Mill Street Haven and Cooking School Owner Kathy McCarthy shared her creme brulee recipe to the community cookbook. She believes the cookbook is helping the community stick together through trying times. submitted photo

by Joe Schulz

Around this time of year, the Town Square Community Center is usually bustling with life, with activities such as bingo, workshops and retail establishments.

But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Town Square has been largely closed for weeks.

Because the community center can’t bring people together physically, Town Square President Fran Hill devised a way to bring people together through food while they stay physically apart.

Between Town Square’s commercial kitchen, cooking classes and summer farmer’s market, food is built into the organization’s DNA.

“We have a lot of foodies around here,” Hill said.

She created the Green Lake Cookbook on the Town Square website so folks could share their favorite dishes and learn more about others in the community.

“We thought it was something that could bring the community together,” Hill said. “It’s something that everybody can participate in.”

She noted anyone with a connection to Green Lake can submit a recipe, along with photos of themselves and the food they’re making.

Beyond just posting the recipe, each post features a brief profile explaining a little bit about each “celebrity chef” that submits a recipe.

“It’s an interesting way to get to know people through what they like to cook and how they like to share it with their families,” Hill said. “I think half the people who are reading it are interested in the stories about the chefs, and half the people reading are interested in the recipes.”

From the beginning, Hill noted the cookbook was always intended to share stories and recipes, because people are longing for a sense of community during these times of social distancing.

The cookbook has helped foster a sense of community. Hill said the amount of people submitting recipes has been “overwhelming,” but she intends to continue posting recipes as long as people keep submitting them.

To submit a recipe, folks need to provide a bit of background about themselves, such as their relationship to Green Lake, along with a recipe and a photo of themselves in their kitchen and a photo of the food.

“We’d like to make it into a physical book at some point, for right now it’s been really accessible to everybody online — especially with everybody being spread out right now,” Hill said. “So for now we’re just going to keep rolling with it online and as long as people keep submitting recipes, we’ll keep rolling with the cookbook.”

For those submitting recipes, the cookbook is helping to keep them connected to the community.

Mill Street Haven and Cooking School owner Kathy McCarthy shared her creme brulee recipe for the cookbook. She said the cookbook is helping the community stick together through trying times.

“Cooking always brings people together and I think having a community cookbook helps to do that when we can’t come together physically,” McCarthy said.

Boerson Farm co-owner Danielle Boerson submitted her homemade pizza recipe, which she discovered when she was in high school.

ABOVE, Shep Boerson gives his mother, Danielle, a hand with the home-made pizza in the kitchen. Below, is the Boerson’s finished productsubmitted photos

Boerson noted the cookbook is giving folks incentives to cook and to share meals, which is “definitely bringing people something positive in a time of crisis.”

“Cooking is an activity that can be almost sacred, and when people have more time to cook, it becomes more of a ritual,” she said. “It becomes more exciting, and we are more likely to sit down and look at the people in our house, versus just grabbing something on the go and scrolling through Facebook while you’re eating.”

Overall, Hill believes the cookbook is helping to bring residents something central to Town Square’s mission: Community.

“Cooking and eating together are two real bonding experiences that we can all embrace, and Town Square is all about common bonds for our community,” Hill said. “While we have lots of communities within our community center — nature enthusiasts, fitness buffs, artists, entrepreneurs, kids — eating together is something that we all love to share.”

Anyone interested in learning more about the Green Lake Cookbook can visit www.greenlaketownsquare.org/green-lake-cookbook.