As charity cookbooks go, Real Food for Real People is a real gem. The book is part of a fundraising drive for Moneystown National School’s building fund and was produced and published by the Parents’ Committee in this County Wicklow village. But, even though Real Food for Real People was evidentially done on a shoestring, the design quality still shines out. Illustrated mainly with children’s drawings and photos, and scattered with quotations from, amongst others, Shakespeare and Lenin, it is a simple and well laid-out book.
The recipes do not disappoint either, with Real Food for Real People gathering together a broad selection of well-loved recipes from local families, some of which have been handed down through the generations. Foreign dishes – Mrs Bittel’s Waffles, Flamiche aux Poitreaux – share space with Stuffed Marrow, Nettle Soup and Mrs Doyle’s Brown Bread. There’s also a substantial selection of biscuits (Congolais, Gigi’s Chocolate Chip Cookies), deserts (Chocolate Roulade, Ishy Gran’s Trifle) and cakes (Mary Quinn’s Currant Cake, Granny Tish’s Christmas Cake)
Along with the food, the book also includes a history of Moneystown National School by former principle Frank McGillick, making it a lovely keepsake for anyone in or connected to the community. But – and that’s what sets Real Food for Real People apart from so many other similar productions – the design and the recipes are of a high enough standard to let it stand alone, far beyond the confines of County Wicklow.
And it seems like lots of people agree. Priced at an eminently reasonable €10, the first print run sold out in about a month but the book has since been reprinted. I picked up my copy in the Alliance Française in Dublin, I’ve also seen it in Avoca Handweavers and it is also available online at www.moneystowncookbook.com for €10.00 + €2.50 P&P. A good cause and great cooking.
Real Food for Real People is published by Moneystown National School’s Parents’ Committee.