New cookbook celebrates PEI foods, farmers and fishermen ‘flying off the shelves’
A recently launched hardcover cookbook full of recipes and stories about the fishermen and farmers of Prince Edward Island is already at the top of some book lists in Canada.
Canada’s Food Island was developed by the Food Island Partnership, the Department of Fisheries and several industry associations, including the PEI Potato Board and Lobster PEI
It was launched on September 6 at the kickoff party for PEI’s Fall Flavors festival.
“We really wanted to show the world what makes us ‘Canada’s food island’, and do something that every fisherman, farmer and processor can be proud of,” said Kaley Butler, executive editor of the book.
“We are so proud of our world-renowned food,” said Crystal MacGregor, director of communications and marketing for the Food Island Partnership, calling the cookbook “a labor of love.”
She pointed out that Prince Edward Island has most of the GDP that comes from the food economy of any province in Canada. “We provide directly and indirectly more than 20,000 jobs on the island.”
‘Eclectic’ but user-friendly mix of dishes
Canada’s Food Island features stories and over 100 recipes about the island’s most important food items and exports, including potatoes, lobster, oysters, clams, mussels, blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, and sustainably raised beef.
Butler said the team worked with island chefs, dietitians and recipe developers to come up with an “eclectic mix” of dishes — “everything from your turkey dinner or roast beef in the winter to potato chocolate cake to … Thai coconut tails.”
They wanted to make the recipes as accessible as possible so that both novice chefs and seasoned gourmets could enjoy the book.
“We’ve tried to be very user-friendly,” Butler said. “We’ve spent a lot of time discussing industries on the ‘how to’ pages because not everyone is comfortable shelling an oyster or a quahaug, or cooking a lobster at home or cooking a specific cut of beef, so we really wanted to give everyone the tools to be comfortable with our products in the kitchen.”
We all know, as islanders here, that everyone is welcome in our kitchen and everyone is seated at our table.—Crystal MacGregor, Food Island Partnership
She said they also included a photo with each recipe and kept the ingredient list as simple as possible — “things you’d have in your pantry for the most part.”
PEI Food Bank Support
MacGregor said the cookbook is truly “a Prince Edward Island love story,” highlighting the island’s authentic and exceptional fishermen, farmers, and food products.
She also loves that royalties from the book are sent to PEI food banks.
“We know there is an increasing need for food security on the island, and being Canada’s food island, we wanted to give back and put food on people’s tables,” she said.
“So when you gift yourself this beautiful book that will be treasured for years to come, you can also feel good about giving it back.”
‘Fly off the shelves’
so far, Canada’s Food Island is a big hit.
“The first printing was over 5,000 books and they’re just flying off the shelves,” MacGregor says.
“We’re delighted with how well it’s going and at this point we should be looking at a reprint right now,” Butler said. “In our early days, we were number 1 on Amazon for Canadian and seafood cookbooks and top 10 for Indigo, as well as part of Indigo’s most anticipated Canadian release list.”
In addition to sales at major retailers, some island-owned stores will also stock the book, including the Bookmark and some decor stores.
Butler and MacGregor said they hope Canada’s Food Island will prove to the rest of the country, the United States and the world that Prince Edward Island is truly a culinary destination.
“We all know, as islanders here, that everyone is welcome in our kitchen and everyone is seated at our table,” MacGregor said.