Last Friday I had the privilege of attending the opening of the new community kitchen at the rooms of the Gunnedah Branch of CWA of NSW, which had been donated by The Sebastian Foundation and Freedom Kitchens.
The Community Kitchen was named in memory of Gunnedah member Doreen Baker who collated, tested and published an entire cookbook of recipes from the community, despite being completely blind. Every person who attended the high tea, hosted by the very lovely Jules Sebastian, received a souvenir edition of the cookbook, which will never be released again. As you can imagine there was much “queuing” after the formalities, for autograph and photo opportunities.
The idea for the 48 page cookbook originated at a Branch meeting early in 1967 and every effort was made to have it published for the following Christmas. The printing costs of $6 per page were covered by advertising from local Business houses and a review at the end of September 1968 showed a profit of $1944.49 from sales, at 65 cents each, of over 3,000 copies. The profits provided a considerable contribution towards paying off the interest free loan from Head Office, borrowed to build the new Gunnedah rooms.
The Foreword for the “new” cookbook is written by Jules and Guy Sebastian and encapsulates (perhaps) why cooking has helped endear the CWA “brand” to Australians.
“Since we were kids, we’ve been taught that cooking is one of the easiest ways we can show love to our family and friends. For us, like many others, the act of sharing a meal or making food for someone is almost a form of therapy, a time to talk about the day we’ve had or have a laugh and reminisce.”
“The work that (the) Country Women’s Association does for Australian communities has always inspired us. The ladies of the CWA work tirelessly to cook, care and show love for their community.”
How true! And what better way to celebrate old and create new friendships than being able to produce fantastic food in a brand new, fully stocked kitchen named after an inspiring and dedicated member?
Thanks Jules and Guy!