I knew co-chairing The Bathurst St. Kitchen's recipe review committee was going to be an adventure, I just didn't know what kind. As it turns out, it was many types of experiences rolled into one. Busy, for sure, as hundreds of recipes from all over our diverse community came rolling in. Fascinating too, as co-chair Carolyn Cohen, our marvelous committee and I explored the culinary nooks and crannies of a community we thought we already knew. Yes there were familiar (and delicious) recipes for dishes like brisket and madelbroit, but we also learned how to make Barbadian coconut bread and Iraqi matbucha. The thorough modernity of some of the dishes was exciting, as well - think fish taco and beet gravlax - reminding us that the food Jews like to eat isn't always traditional Jewish food. Perhaps most of all, working closely with these vibrant recipes and their accompanying stories felt like a tremendous privilege. We encountered a kaleidoscope of voices and flavours, sparking memories, passionate debates and quirky points of connection. (Shout out to my new friend who shares my adoration of herring and scotch for brunch.)
But truly, the fun is just beginning. As we turn this book over to you, our community, it takes on a life of its own. Try the recipes, talk about them, let us know if you have thoughts or suggestions. Discover what this collection of dishes, personal stories, historical bits and archival photos triggers in you. It might be a sense of nostalgia, a feeling of pride or - almost certainly - tremendous hunger. Maybe even all of the above.
Like I said, it's an adventure.
Bonny Reichert is a regular contributor to The Globe and Mail's Life and Style sections.