Our journey has come full-circle. This past March, we flew across the world, with hopes of writing a cookbook to benefit at-risk young women in Cambodia.
Today, after months of recipe testing, writing, editing, photographing, graphic designing, organizing, asking questions, and looking at the same words and photographs until our eyes crossed — it’s done. And in print!
We are beyond excited to share it with you — and even more excited that all proceeds go to fund Center for Global Impact’s programs for at-risk young women in Cambodia.
For more on what it is, check out the video above or the information below. Thank you for your support of this cause!
The Cookbook: What It Is
-A cookbook to benefit the Green Mango Cafe & Bakery restaurant and culinary training program in Battambang, Cambodia, started by Center for Global Impact (CGI – a faith-based non-profit based in Greenwood, Indiana).
-A collection of 40+ recipes based on the menu of the restaurant, ranging in a variety of cuisines from Cambodian to Mexican, Italian, French, and American. A few examples:
Banana Bread French Toast
Mango Chicken Salad
Creamy Tomato Soup
Crepes with Fresh Fruit
Eggplant Parmesan Sandwich
Garlic Herb Focaccia Bread
-Extras include explanations of Cambodian-ingredients, how-to’s, information about Cambodia and the cooking school / restaurant, and photographs from our time in country.
–All proceeds go to CGI’s programs in Cambodia.
–What it’s not? An anthology of traditional Cambodian recipes, or a collection of A Couple Cooks-style recipes (though we did adapt all of them based on notes from the restaurant!).
How it Happened
-We felt called to do something to help in the fight against human trafficking and modern day slavery, specifically using our passions like writing, photography, and food.
-We got connected to Chris Alexander, President of Center for Global Impact, a non-profit that runs several trafficking prevention and care programs in Cambodia including one for job training in culinary arts. He said, “Why don’t you write a cookbook?”
From Cambodia to Indianapolis
How did this cookbook come to be? It’s been quite a journey. We:
-Traveled to Cambodia in March 2012 to spend time at Green Mango Cafe & Bakery and understand Cambodian culture. The Green Mango a full-service restaurant in Battambang, Cambodia (it’s actually gotten great reviews on Trip Advisor!). The young women there taught us some of their traditional recipes. More…
–Interviewed Resident Training Chef, Ryana DeArmond, who gave us notes on the recipes she had developed along with the founding chef, Paul Vida (a chef and culinary arts instructor here in Indianapolis!). We also asked the girls working at the restaurant at the time for their favorites.
–Developed, tested and photographed recipes based on Ryana’s notes in our own kitchen in Indianapolis. All food was shot in the comfort of our own home — except for the recipes with the green place mats, which were shot at the Green Mango Cafe! And with the exception of the photographs from a few friends (see below).
–Wrote the text and developed the graphic design for the book, which ended up being one of the most involved and difficult parts of the process.
–Organized recipe testers from our family and friends to make sure the recipes were clear, concise, and easy to follow.
How It All Came Together
–Professionally, Sonja is a project manager and technical writer, and Alex is a graphics designer (for the same small company). So, a lot of the skills we had gained from our professional background. However, this project was a stretch for us in many ways – we’d never written a complete book before. We also write this blog about food and take photos of it – which provided the other key element to cookbook writing.
-Most importantly, we had lots of help from lots of wonderfully talented people! We have been overwhelmed by the support of our community in this effort. You’ll see a few photographs from other food bloggers, including Annie from Annie’s Eats, Lindsay of Pinch of Yum, and Erin of Naturally Ella, who contributed to the cause with recipe testing and photographs. A long list of other food bloggers (including The Fig Tree), friends, and family helped with the recipe testing and editing. Center for Global Impact also did a huge amount of the leg work in terms of production.
-Special thanks also go out to our local Indianapolis printer — Moeller Printing. They did an amazing job and we couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out.
We’re just so grateful for each and every person who helped with the book, and every one of you who have been interested or excited about this journey. It means the world to us that you would want to buy it and support women in Cambodia.