School cookbook has its own story to tell

Puahue School youngsters in front of the hall, carrying a copy of ‘Around Our Table’. Picture: Leah Hoskin.

A Puahue School fundraiser aimed at boosting hall accommodation for its growing roll is back on track after literally coming unstuck at the seams.

The well-intentioned fundraiser became a story within a story after around 2000 tastefully compiled cookbooks being sold to raise money started coming unglued at the spine.

After lengthy and somewhat delicate negotiations with publishers and printers, some 90 percent of the books already sold were recalled.

That number, plus the unsold books came to almost 2000 books that ended up being reprinted at no cost to the fundraising committee.

“We just didn’t want the books out there if they weren’t perfect,” said Hayley Muller, a member of the fundraising committee attached to the school’s PTA.

“That was very important to us.  Our name is on the books, and we’ve put years of effort into this. Although the process has been quite stressful, it has worked out well. Now all we need to do is sell the remaining cookbooks.”

The story of the cookbook started around three years ago.

“Seven of us got together to see what we could do to raise funds towards either renovating or rebuilding the Puahue Community Hall. The school, which is right next door, uses it all the time, but we have outgrown it,” said Hayley.

The idea they came up with was to create a cookbook called ‘Around Our Table’, a collection of treasured recipes contributed by the Puahue School community and reflecting the shared family rituals, similarities and differences of a connected New Zealand community.

The 383-page book contains 200 recipes, all of them tried and tested, then photographed by Leah Hoskin. The team also decided to donate to charity some of the food donated for the testing of recipes.

A launch party held in 2018 and attended by sponsors, friends and family marked the arrival of ‘Around Our Table’. “After selling about 1000 books we discovered the issue with the glue used on the spine of the book,” said Hayley.

After much to’ing and fro’ing with publishers and printers, it was agreed a reprint was in order. Sales for those were no sooner underway than the COVID-19 lockdown kicked in.

That meant they couldn’t follow through with a site booked at the then-cancelled Waikato Food Show, and affected logistics around their plans to organise sales and deliveries for Mother’s Day.

“It’s taken us a long time to get to this point.  We had almost 2000 of the books reprinted, and have probably around 900 still to sell,” said Hayley.

“One they’re all sold [at $50 each], we’re aiming to make $100,000 to put towards the hall.”

Fore more details go to the school website or Facebook page, or the cookbook’s own website at www.aroundthetable.co.nz. Orders can also be directed to Hayley Muller on 027 511 2777.

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