Members of the local historical society came to me recently to ask about making a cookbook to help support an old pioneer cemetery the group oversees. The request of these polite ladies seemed a bit odd to me; so many of our customers are lively churches, schools, civic groups, and individuals wishing to preserve their family recipes and traditions.
The group wants to make a cookbook and sell it to help support the old pioneer cemetery, which is run entirely by volunteers and has not been actively used since 1939. The more I thought about the idea, the more I liked it. I surmised that the only thing they needed was a little encouragement, and a copy of my Matilda’s Fantastic Cookbook Software.
Their dilemma, they said, was that most of the 600 people whose names appear on an unconfirmed burial list for the old pioneer cemetery have no next of kin named (few tombstones remain due to vandalism). Even genealogical research hasn’t unearthed (forgive the pun) many leads regarding relatives who may still live nearby.
Here are some of the approaches I gave them to consider:
- Contact those relatives that are known and ask for a recipe from each of them. Although you won’t have a complete set of recipes from every family, there most likely will be enough recipes to group into a chapter. You can also add biographical information, if available, about the contributor and his/her buried relative. This would make the old pioneer cemetery cookbook relevant, interesting, and serve a greater educational purpose that might make people want to buy it.
- Contact the local newspaper and ask the editor to run an article about the old pioneer cemetery requesting information from the community about relatives who may be buried there. They may also be interested in contributing a recipe or making a donation once they are in contact.
- Contact local businesses and members of the Chamber of Commerce and ask them for one recipe. You will also ask them to allow you put flyers in their businesses to sell the cookbook when it becomes available. This approach for the old pioneer cemetery cookbook may also include biographical information and photos promoting their businesses (soft advertisement). Many may agree to be recipe contributors and cash donors to help with the printing costs of the old pioneer cemetery cookbook.
- Ask members of the society to contribute recipes, and make the cookbook less about the cemetery and more about the Society. Important local historical events might be included on the pages, along with photos of the early days. This could broaden the appeal of the cookbook and make it possible to sell more copies.
After our talk (over a spot of tea, of course), the little ladies of the local historical society thanked me for my ideas, bought a copy of my Matilda’s Fantastic Cookbook Software, and invited me to take a free self-guided walking tour of the old pioneer cemetery on one of their open house days.
That was nice of them. I do hope they proceed with their goal for creating a cookbook for their old pioneer cemetery as a means to fundraising. I just hope they call it “Crypt-o-grahams.” TeeHee.