FIRST year students at Mount St Michael in Rosscarbery found a new way of reaching out to relatives during the pandemic.
Siobhán O’Neill, a home economics teacher at the school, said the children asked their grandparents, parents – their aunts and uncles too – to share their favourite dishes for inclusion in a new book called Stirring up Memories and Storing up Recipes.
The book – compiled by the 50 first year students, as well as staff of Mount St Michael – went on sale on December 18th, just in time to be given as gifts.
Siobhán confirmed that a lot of the print run has already sold out, but local shops in the Rosscarbery area still have some copies for sale.
School principal Bart Kerrisk confirmed that the initial cost was covered by the school and that any profits made from the sale of the €10 book would be donated to local charities.
When the students returned to school in September, Siobhan recalled that they were full of enthusiasm about one aspect of the summer and that was the time they had spent cooking and baking with their families.
‘It’s something that might not have happened under normal circumstances, so the idea to produce a book, to gather old recipes together, and to produce a keepsake, took root.’
The appeal of the project was not lost on Darina Allen of Ballymaloe. She agreed to write a foreword for the book, which contains 70 delicious recipes.
Darina’s enthusiasm for the project shines off the pages. ‘What a brilliant idea,’ she wrote. ‘Bravo to the teachers who picked up on the students’ enthusiasm for cooking and baking during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
‘Every family ought to have a notebook to record favourite recipes from granny, mam, aunties and uncles. How many times have we heard “I wish I had asked granny how she made that wonderful apple cake?” so don’t leave it too late and remember to tell the stories too – that’s what memories are made of …’
Siobhán told The Southern Star it was wonderful of Darina to contribute, but what was perhaps best of all was all the wonderful conversations the book generated among families.
She also confirmed that Mount St Michael’s new neighbour – TV star Peter Kelly of ‘Weddings by Franc’ fame – allowed the school the use of a snow machine and that helped to make the launch of the book even more memorable.