Don't know what to make for dinner? Come to the book party for community cookbook Bernal Eats at Red Hill Books on Sunday, March 8th, from 11am-1pm and get some ideas from your friends and neighbors. Subtitled "A Busy Family's Survival Guide", this collection of kid-tested, family-friendly recipes and mealtime strategies comes from over 65 Bernal contributors, including restauranteurs like Brad Levy (Firefly), Rudy Mariel and Efrain Magana (Moonlight Cafe), Michael Juarez (MaggieMudd), and Aziz Benarafa (Progressive Grounds). There will be live music from OctoMutt, lots of food and readings from local writers and contributors Michele Bigley and Karen Zuercher.
Can't make it? Besides Red Hill, you can find the book at Christopher's in Potrero Hill, Alexander's in downtown San Francisco, and the Friends of the Library bookshop in Fort Mason Center. Besides being a fun, tasty, and down-to-earth resource, the book is also a fundraiser for the Bernal Heights Library. Every $15 book sold raises money for the library's much-needed renovations.
The book is the brainchild of local mom (and graphic designer) Beth Zonderman. Online parenting communities (of which Bernal, aka Maternal, Heights, has many) were obsessed with the mechanics of getting dinner on the table every day. Why not take all the info being shared, and turn it into a community cookbook? Teaming up with pal Judy Shei, another local working mom, they put the call out. "We bugged all our friends," laughs Shei, who went around with a notepad taking down recipes from neighbors, local merchants and restaurant owners. "I got the chicken adobo recipe from my neighbor, a Phillipino grandmother," Shei says. The two also peppered online communities and neighborhood bulletin boards with calls for submissions.
Starting in August, they had a manuscript ready for printing by August. It's an updated, big-city cousin to all those spiral-bound church cookbooks, with recipes, encouraging essays, and lots of pictures of happy, messy toddlers cooking and eating. And while there are a few company-worthy dishes like miso-glazed black cod with soba and braised carrots, (surprisingly easy looking), mostly it's all quick and easy and tasty-looking, without relying on processed foods or doctored-up supermarket takeout.
And even if you (or your kids) are still stuck on Annie's Cheddar Bunnies and mashed bananas, just remember: No matter how clueless you are in the kitchen, as contributor Michele Bigley writes, "Being a bad cook doesn't mean you're a bad mom."