The topic at the next Waterloo Region Social Media Breakfast (Nov. 23 at the Kitchener Market) is community. The panelists are all local community builders and each brings a unique perspective to the idea. This is the third breakfast I will attend, and although I enjoyed the first two, I haven’t yet met as many people as I’d like to. After the presentation I think I need to be forced into a personal meet and greet (perhaps some small-group mingling) or I may forever flee to the safety of my computer. So that’s something for the organizers to think about: enforced community.
All this talk about community got me thinking about Edna Staebler, the author and subject of a few of our books. A well-known writer from Kitchener-Waterloo, Edna certainly understood about community. Everyone who ever met her became her friend and many became regular visitors at her (later) home on Sunfish lake. When she was preparing to write the famous Food That Really Schmecks cookbook, she moved in with a Mennonite family so that she could absorb their culture and become part of the community. Those relationships endured for the rest of her life. The cookbook is filled with stories of family and friends and almost every recipe talks about how she first experienced the food, and who she was with.
A few years ago, when WLU Press was publishing Edna’s diaries, she granted us the rights to the first cookbook, which had long been out of print, with the stipulation that it would always be “in print.” Although it sold thousands and thousands the first time around in the late 1960s and ’70s, we’ve had great success with this edition, mainly because the next generation wants their own copy, not having been able to pry it away from their mothers’ kitchens.
I can’t help thinking that if Edna was alive today she’d have over a thousand friends on Facebook and as many followers on Twitter, and she’d faithfully follow back. In that spirit, WLU Press will donate two copies of Food That Really Schmecks at the next Social Media Breakfast for the door prizes. If you’re in Waterloo Region and you haven’t already registered, perhaps you should.