When we conceived the idea of this project one evening back in October 2011, we didn’t really know where it would go. We loved food, pictures of food, and our fantastic NWA community. We wanted to create something that hadn’t been done (at least not around here), and to make hunger awareness our intiative. Our region is, surprisingly to some, home to the highest childhood hunger rates in the state, and our state one of the highest in the nation.
The people of Northwest Arkansas that we would include would have a special niche in the community – those involved politically or philanthropically, artists and musicians, shop owners, chefs or “foodies”, and others who simply represent the uniqueness that our community is known for. Both of us have lived here most of our lives, so we knew many of them already, but we also got the pleasure of meeting some new and inspiring people too. Everyone was so gracious and excited about the project, and for that we owe them our infinite gratitude!
We also learned so much along the way – about the absolutely amazing individuals, about cooking and locally sourced food, and even about fundraising. There wasn’t one “shoot” that we left not feeling that we learned something, and made new friends. How rewarding is that?!
And now, the even more rewarding part is having this year-plus worth of work and dedication brought to life in the pages of this book. We like to call it a “cookbook-slash-coffee table book” because some will buy it for the amazing people featured in it – like legendary poet Miller Williams or infinitely talented painter Christina Mariotti – with the recipes as an added bonus, and some will definitely buy it for the fantastically unique regional recipes. As it turned out, a fair percentage of the recipes featured local meat or produce, like Brandon Karn’s Local Elk Burgers or the Hembree’s 3-Pot Hominy, most of which came from their Community Supported Agriculture supplier. Some even used mostly produce from their own garden like Mike Bewley and Cody Renegar. Amy Reeves Robinson wasted not by using leftovers with her Never-Again Soup.
Whatever the case, we hope that when people buy it, they realize that not only are they helping feed the hungry in their own back yard via Feed Fayetteville and Lifesource, International, but they are purchasing a little piece of history of the exceptional region of Northwest Arkansas that we call home.
Peace, Love and Food!
Rhonda and Maliah