Growing up with your friends and peers, it's never quite clear which path we all will end up taking in our lives. Oftentimes we lose track of some of these people as we get older (though Facebook makes that harder to do these days). One of my childhood friends from as far back as my Girl Scout days recently reconnected with me over social media and, as a writer myself, I was excited to learn that she had aspirations to write a cookbook. Ali Rakowski, health coach and soon-to-be author, is now taking to Kickstarter to fund her very first Paleo soup-based cookbook. I took the opportunity to sit down with Ali and find out more about her own path to this amazing project.
A.J.: How did you first get into healthy eating and cooking?
Ali: I have always loved the idea of cooking since I was a little girl. My mom almost always cooked a homemade dinner, and I eagerly sat at the kitchen island on my favorite stool watching her every move. I was (and still am) a big klutz, so I typically was only allowed to help with boring tasks like setting the table. Luckily, I observed carefully and finally started to do some creative cooking in dorm rooms in college, and then really expanded my cooking capabilities after college when I had a real kitchen.
A.J.: Tell me a little bit about your project, Bowls of Love?
Ali: Bowls of Love is a seasonal soup cookbook that will feature around 50 original Paleo recipes. Paleo, for those who aren't familiar, is a modern adaptation of the diet of Paleolithic humans (sometimes referred to as "The Caveman Diet"). The Paleo diet includes grass-fed pasture-raised meats, wild fish, eggs, fruits, vegetables, nuts and unprocessed oils; it excludes grains, dairy, legumes, soy, refined sugar and processed food. While this book is perfect for any grain/gluten-free, lactose intolerant, experienced Paleo eater or anyone looking for fresh and easy nutritious recipes, it is much more than a collection of recipes. Bowls of Love highlights my philosophy that cooking is the most pure and simple way to share love. There is no easier (or better) way to nourish the people in your life than by feeding them a healthy, beautiful, delicious meal. Feeding the people in my life is always a celebration, a promotion of good health, a gesture of appreciation and generosity and most importantly a gateway to conversation. All relationships are built and sustained through communication, and sharing a meal every day with the ones that you love acts as the perfect catalyst.
A.J.: Why did you want to focus your cookbook on soups?
Ali: I have always loved cooking soups and I got especially hooked on the process while working remotely for two years. Being away from my great coworkers was not an easy task, so I made myself busy with a new hobby of cooking Paleo recipes. I would wake up early and chop all the veggies and then let my soup simmer on the stove all day while I was working. A fresh bowl of steamy, hot soup was the perfect end to any day when I was cold, sick, tired or just needing some TLC.
A.J.: You're collecting bowls for this project. How did this idea arise?
Ali: When talking to my best friend Mallory about the book, she helped me come up with the idea of asking all my favorite people for a bowl. I reached out to family, friends and loved ones and asked them to send me a bowl - any shape, size or design that they wanted. I am now dedicating each recipe in the book to one person and the recipe will be photographed in the bowl from that person. The entire experience of requesting the bowls, hearing responses and then receiving the bowls in the mail has been incredible beyond words. I seem to be getting a mystery package in the mail almost every day - bowls have come from France, Germany, New York, Florida, Nashville and loads of places in between. Every single bowl is a reminder of the love and support that I have in my life, and now I have the opportunity to share this positive energy with the world through my cookbook.
A.J.: What do you hope to get out of your Kickstarter campaign for Bowls of Love?
Ali: I am absolutely thrilled to have my project on Kickstarter. I have backed crowdfunding projects before, and I think it is a fantastic way for creative projects and businesses to come to life with the help of people everywhere. Along with being a cookbook writer, I am a health coach, so I am incredibly passionate about helping other people achieve a holistic sense of health and wellness. My hope is that the Kickstarter campaign will encourage people to recognize the importance of nourishment, both for themselves and others. If this campaign helps one person start cooking who otherwise wouldn't, I will consider it a success. Selfishly, I also think that launching my project on Kickstarter will be an amazing opportunity to connect and reconnect with people past and present in my life that are interested in going on this journey with me.
A.J.: Are you offering any donor goodies?
Ali: Of course! There will be everything from recipe postcards and signed copies of the cookbook, to private cooking lessons and cooking parties! The rewards will vary greatly so everyone who is interested will have the opportunity to participate.
A.J.: Is there anything else you'd like potential donors to know?
Ali: I want the donors to know that their assistance with funding this cookbook will help fulfill a longtime dream of mine and will help ensure that hundreds or thousands (or millions!) of people will have more knowledge around how to cook and eat healthy while enjoying their food and not breaking the bank. Whether you are Paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free or just a plain old regular eater that wants something new and interesting to serve on the table, this book is for you. There is so much love and excitement exploding out of this venture and nothing but good things can from that!
If you're interested in participating in the Bowls of Love Kickstarter campaign, learn more about it here.
Follow A.J. Walkley on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AJWalkley