Quarantine cookbook: Sudbury brothers hope their passion for cooking will help food banks
SUDBURY -- With many people increasingly restless and bored during isolation, two brothers in Sudbury, Ont. decided to use their passion to give back to the community.
Nicolas and Joel Mongeon have always been passionate about food, something they say is a true family affair.
"We do a lot of food trips and we go to different restaurants and critique them ourselves just for fun," said Joel. "It just got us closer together, me and my brother, because we do have different interests and we had pretty busy lifestyles, but I think it's a great way that we connected between one another."
So they decided to use that bond over food as a way to stay occupied during quarantine. Over the last few months, the brothers have largely taken over the cooking responsibilities in the family, preparing recipes for meals on a nightly basis.
"My brother would kind of crawl out of bed a little later, at like 11," Nicholas said. "At lunch, we'd plan out what recipes we wanted to make. So we had a little notebook."
After amalgamating a decent supply of what they call "unique" recipes, they decided to create the Virtual Quarantine Cookbook, with part of the proceeds going to food banks.
"It's kind of like a guide to teach you new things while you're at home and have the time," said Nicolas. "So there are recipes that you might not make on your regular day, on your regular weekday, but now that you're at home with your family, it's a good opportunity to learn new skills and get your hands dirty."
Dan Xilon, director of the Sudbury Food Bank, said he was excited when the brothers reached out with their idea.
"When the young brothers called me and said they wanted to put out this virtual cookbook, this quarantine cookbook, I thought 'that has got to be a typical, unique northern, Sudbury idea,'" said Xilon. "I said 'that's fabulous, I love it!'"
The cookbook is being sold as a digital copy only. With Nicolas recently moving to Montreal for work, buyers have the option of directing their funds to either the Sudbury or the Montreal Food Bank.
Xilon said this is just the latest offering in a large showing of community support.
"That has basically been the blessing of the Sudbury Food Bank through this entire thing. So many unique people doing these unique ideas - whether they be concerts, bottle drives, whatever," said Xilon. "These things that are coming to the forefront, all originating in Sudbury and being so successful in helping the food bank and I just got tickled big by the brothers' book. I looked at a couple of their recipes, (they) looked pretty tasty. I'm going to be trying them out for sure!"
The brothers said part of the fun was stepping out of their comfort zone to create unique recipes. Some of Joel's favourite offerings include pistachio dukkha and a vegan ice cream offering.
"It's a different activity to do that got me a little bit more motivated, a little bit more excited and it just got my creative juices flowing again," said Joel. "School's been done for a while and mentally I've been, not out of it, but less energy, less of a positive attitude. It just allowed me to know that I'm going to make an impact in the community."
To get a copy of the cookbook, visit their website by clicking here.