Bonding through a cookbook

For the past 21 years, we have provided packets of popular recipes to students, faculty, staff and alumni at their request. But about three years ago, we decided to compile the most popular recipes into a cookbook. Released in October 2013, the “Best Bites” cookbook contains the university’s most requested recipes, including Panther Chili and Beef Ole. We modified and tested recipes for home preparation, which took more than three years to complete. The cookbook is available at campus and community bookstores, and all proceeds will help maintain our program and fund special student events. It’s fun for us to reconnect with alumni. Since the cookbook was released, I’ve had so many emails saying, “I love your Panther Chili,” and, “I went 10 years ago and this is what I remember!”

Carol Fletcher
Assistant Director for Residential Dining
Northern Iowa University
Cedar Falls, IA
Idea Category: 
 
Steal This Idea

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
vote buttons pins

On every other Thursday of our four-week cycle menu, we allow K-8 students to pick the entree choices. The media center specialist for each of the participating schools sets up the list of entree items on a computer for voting, and the winning entrees are given to cafeteria managers two weeks before the upcoming month to put into production. Students really like this, as it promotes ownership of the menu.

Ideas and Innovation
chalkboard

We highlight our North Carolina products on a large chalkboard in our dining halls, and also list any produce we bring in from our own agroecology farm. It helps tell our story—positive and local.

Ideas and Innovation
raised garden beds

We have raised garden beds that residents can reserve and use to grow their own plants. Whenever a resident brings me fresh produce from their own garden, I try and incorporate it into a dish. If I do end up using it, I will display the resident’s name and what the produce was next to the dish on the menu.

Ideas and Innovation
chartwells teaching kids

Curriculum for the mobile teaching kitchen centers around a single kid-friendly recipe, using ingredients that can provide talking points for nutrition, sustainability and food origins. “The recipe is the lesson,” Saidel says. “Every ingredient is an opportunity to talk.”

Earlier this year, Saidel, Perkins and Harvey did a student demo featuring roasted chicken and white bean tacos with greens and citrus salsa. “We can say, ‘Why are we using chicken instead of beef? Why are there some beans in here?’ You can talk about plant proteins and the sustainability and health message around...

FSD Resources