The front, back, and binding cover of SHS and SMS’s joint cookbook. (Julie Zhu)
The front, back, and binding cover of SHS and SMS’s joint cookbook.

Julie Zhu

A Keepsake For Chefs and Food-Lovers Stuck at Home

January 28, 2021

There are many ways to bring a community together despite social distancing required during the COVID-19 pandemic, and what better way to do that than through food? The Multicultural Committee has been hard at work to accomplish precisely that.

Last November, the Multicultural Committee’s traditional Thanksgiving luncheon at the high school and middle school was canceled due to COVID-19. In a time when unity is crucial despite differences, the committee searched for an alternative to continue celebrating Scarsdale’s diverse cultures. The idea for a cookbook composed of various families’ favorite recipes was brought up and quickly approved. With support from PTA executive committees of both schools, the SHS Multicultural Committee got right to work with its counterpart at SMS.

Once the theme and requirements of the cookbook were decided and a general timeline was developed, the committee selected a cookbook publishing company that best suited their needs. Finally, the floor was open for submissions from families. An online recipe submission website called TypenSave made the process of collecting recipes from families easy and organized. Soon after this website was set up, submissions came pouring in. “We are anticipating hundreds of recipes from over a dozen cultures spanning five geographical regions represented in this book,” stated Julie Zhu and Mariko Takeda, SHS Multicultural Committee co-chairs. In response to the outpouring of support and participation, the deadline to submit recipes has been extended from January 24th to February 1st. Faculty members and administrators from both SHS and SMS are also invited to send in their unique recipes along with Scarsdale families. Great thought has been put into the design of the cookbook as well, with Beth Lambert, a member of the PTA, volunteering her expertise to design a custom cover and dividers. Zhu and Takeda expect the cookbook to be ready for orders “when spring flowers are blooming.”

To get the cookbook where it is now, the committee worked extremely hard to spread the word about the project. “The goal is to make the cookbook, titled ‘Divine Diversity – SHS & SMS Multicultural Cookbook, 2020-2021,’ a truly PTA enterprise,” explained Zhu and Takeda. They wanted to have as many parents and faculty members participate as possible. To achieve their goal, they utilized social media and informed friends in addition to sending out mass emails. The co-chairs also realized the process of submitting recipes might be confusing, and took the time to make three different kinds of guides to suit everyone’s preferences. The title of the cookbook was chosen together with the community in order to help include more people in the design process.

During a time when people are separated physically, sharing something as universal as food can help tremendously. We are reminded of how unique yet connected we can all be. “Through breaking bread together, we hope to brighten up our community spirit, break down barriers, and build stronger connections among teachers and parents, neighbors next door, and friends near and far,” concluded Zhu and Takeda.

Follow the links below to submit your own recipe before February 1st and help make the cookbook even more special:

Quick guide and submission link: 

How-to video:

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