By Lynn Broughton, Founder Taste Detours & GAC Member
Like many businesses, Taste Detours ground to a halt by mid-March. Food became everyone’s obsession in these early pandemic days. If we weren’t trying to find it, we were seeking to make it. Stress baking, quarantine baking — that need for calm could be satisfied by following step-by-step instructions. This notion of a virtual cookbook sprang to mind for several reasons: What else was Taste Detours to do? Boxed food delivery services weren’t what we did. The restaurants and food purveyors were facing severe losses, and fast, so there was an urgency to help keep our local, independent food friends top of mind while attempting to remain relevant ourselves. Something for free was a nice thought in this time of panic too. Ultimately any idea needed to be true to the mission of the company; thus Little Bites:Tastes from Isolation Cookbook was born.
Cover page Little Bites: Tastes from Isolation by Jenna Kessler
Since the inception of Taste Detours, I’ve wanted to share a love for our region by pointing out the links between our rural food heritage and the growers and makers of today. All of Taste Detours’ experiences harness the power of locally flavoured storytelling. Celebrating our heritage in this way allows us to tell the stories of the people and the places we visit through their food and drink. Our aim is to facilitate connections between these taste makers and their use of the surrounding agriculture. Connections between each other too, by simply slowing down and breaking bread together as humans do all over the world. Doing so within this crisis seemed particularly poignant — reaching out to each other online and through food amidst the pandemic fear and confusion.
There was the added benefit of drawing together strangers. New connections were made. One such kindred spirit is the book’s illustrator, Jenna Kessler, who I’m so lucky to have partnered with on this project,
“I was so pleased when Lynn Broughton from Taste Detours asked me to design and illustrate Little Bites: Tastes from Isolation because the project fuses together so many of my interests. For many years I worked in Organic Agriculture for others as a hired hand, and for several years renting land and running an Organic market garden and selling my produce through farmers markets and a Community Supported Agriculture program. I also raised livestock for meat sales, eggs, and made preserves and value-added products to sell locally. So, I already had the love and passion for local food, and know that being in the food business is a labour of love. I really liked the concept of “Little Bites” and the idea of partnering with local businesses. I also adore illustrating food and plants (botany as my all-time favourite), so I jumped at the opportunity to partner with Taste Detours in this way. I really hope people enjoy this cookbook and all of the connections it has inspired, and I hope we can continue to support our local food businesses as a way to preserve our agricultural heritage and work towards building a sustainable food network.”
Lynn Broughton by Jenna Kessler
We imagined something like the community cookbooks of yore, where people sought new ways to connect and swap recipes. There were few requirements for the book. I simply requested a recipe to represent the business, plus a bit about themselves. The result is beautiful. Varying cuisines and traditions are represented, no elaborate equipment required, and all ingredients relatively available — these recipes are accessible. There are no meticulously styled photos, and the recipes took on a heartfelt and personal approach to documenting life as it was in that particular COVID-spring. Of course, not all of our partner businesses had the capacity to respond to this idea, busy as they were with simply surviving.
Through this #IsoCookbook, we’ve attempted to continue a conversation similar to one we’d be having together across a table on our tours. We gain a bit of insight into who these people are, and why they chose a particular recipe to represent themselves. This is our chance to hear their stories.
To download these recipes (and soon the entire book), visit tastedetours.ca. We hope to turn this free downloadable book into a print edition.
Lynn Broughton, Founder