A cookbook library helps a person who can't read teach her grandson to cook.
The first time I spoke with C, she had just lost her husband a few days before. Grief poured out of her as she talked about how she tried to explain to her six-year-old grandson that she couldn't go get him back from the hospital. We talked about the foods they like. We talked about spirits visiting to say goodbye to little boys. We talked and talked. I brought some food and didn't hear from C for a few weeks.
One day she called and asked when I was coming next. "Tomorrow." Oh, that's good she told me. She got some corn for her grandson and boiled it up. He ate 3 bowls of it. She said she wanted to try to get him some more. I said I would bring her some corn tomorrow. I said that I would.
"What about thanksgiving?" I asked. Do you like any special foods? We're going to have pumpkins to make pie. She said she didn't read that well to follow recipes, so she never learned to make a pie.
Her grandson likes to come out to the mobile market when he is home. He was suspended from school recently because he brought an orange water gun to school in his pocket. The school has a strict policy against guns. He had to stay home from school all week with his granny and great granny for a week. He came out that week and chose his favorite fruits and asked to operate the automatic rear gate.
C said she was teaching him to cook. "I can't read, but I would love to get him one of those books with the pictures that show you how to cook." He's learning to read in Kindergarten, but he needs picture books to be able to follow along.
We have those in the cookbook library, so I brought one by the next week. She said she would let him learn to make some of the things in it. She taught him to chop up the carrots fine and microwave them. "I don't want him to burn down the house," she explained. She taught him to steam the cabbage and then add a little butter and salt.
The cookbook library is one of the ways in which we make healthy foods more accessible, giving people access to a wide variety of tested recipes in English and Spanish language books. We keep a selection of children's books on hand to. We accept donations of cookbooks that feature healthy cooking, working with fresh foods, and cooking on a budget.