Eat your dessert first, says local cookbook author
Lipkus looking for soulful recipes, heartwarming stories
By: Scott Hayes
| Posted: Saturday, Sep 15, 2012 06:00 am
Call it a Chicken Soup for the Soul book with apple pie in it instead.
Local resident Susan Lipkus is on the hunt for future cookbook collaborators to send in their special recipes along with touching stories about friends’ and loved ones’ struggles with serious and terminal diseases.
Lipkus said that she was inspired by her lifelong friend Sharon Dempster – “an amazing, amazing person” – who lost her fight with muscular dystrophy late last year at the age of 49.
This book, she said, would be the culmination of a long-held dream to enrich people’s lives with stories of struggles coupled with directions for rich and delicious soul food.
“Twelve years ago, I said, ‘I want to write a cookbook called Eat Your Dessert First and make it like a Chicken Soup cookbook.’ Sharon had written me a story about living with muscular dystrophy. It was a very touching story, and then she gave me her chocolate cake recipe.”
Lipkus has already had lots of interest from potential contributors, and she will be getting lots more with the help of her sister, a grief counselor at a hospital in Montréal.
“I’m sending it to anybody and everybody I know. I would do anything for Sharon just as she would for anybody else. I always said her greatest gift was her delegation. Delegation is power because you tell everyone what to do, because she couldn’t walk any more.”
Dempster’s children will contribute with their version of Sharon’s story. Lipkus just participated in a fundraising walk for Muscular Dystrophy Canada last weekend, and has since heard that that organization will feature her and her cookbook idea in an article in an upcoming newsletter.
For Lipkus’ own part, she will share a story about her late mother, who, married for almost 70 years, died eight weeks after her husband passed away.
“Her life never made sense after that. I think she died of a broken heart. I think a lot of people could identify with that. I’m hoping to remind people that every day is precious, every day is something that you should be cherishing.”
“Any story could be from somebody who is facing a challenge, an illness, how they’re dealing with it, and then their favourite recipe for dessert. The message is to eat your dessert first because by the time you get your dessert you may not be here.”
Once she has compiled 50 or more stories and recipes, she will then take the next step of approaching prospective publishers. She even plans to take her idea to the Dragon’s Den, the entrepreneurial TV show on CBC, seeking their support. Once published, she will donate 50 per cent to all of the charities and health-related foundations that get mentioned in the book.
She also hopes that this will just be the first of several editions, again just like the Chicken Soup books.
“I’m thinking big… but you have to.”
Anyone who wants more information on the project, or wants to be a contributor, can reach Lipkus either at 780-460-0371 or 780-907-2900, or via her email address at firstname.lastname@example.org.