The “Hen Party.” The cover of the 30th annual edition of Cooking without Mom. (Submitted)

Castlegar women launch 30th anniversary edition of cookbook

The “Hen Party” created Cooking without Mom in 1986 when their kids were striking out on their own.

A group of Castlegar-area women are launching the 30th-anniversary edition of their cookbook on Saturday.

The “Hen Party” created Cooking without Mom in 1986 when their kids were starting to strike out on their own.

“The whole idea came about because kids were starting to go to university, leaving home,” says Nadeen Elasoff, one of the Hen Party.

Originally the plan was to make up a booklet just for the children of the group members, but it happened that one of the kids was enrolled in a publishing course at Selkirk College along with John Snelgrove and Shelley Ackerman.

“And the other children said, ‘Why don’t you publish?’” explains Anne Zibin, another member of the Hen Party.

The students took the book on as a publishing project, with Ackerman illustrating the book.

The first edition was printed by Hall Printing and the women of the Hen Party collated it themselves in the basement of Hall Printing and in Zibin’s kitchen.

Two more editions of the book were produced in the Kootenays and then in 1988, Nancy Wise from Sandhill Book Marketing in Kelowna took on the book and started distributing it across Canada.

In addition to recipes, the book includes a basic grocery list, a glossary of cooking terms, lists of metric conversions and substitutions, instructions for laundry, first aid and fire prevention and a place to write down emergency numbers.

The updated, 30th-anniversary edition has been converted from imperial to metric and features 60 new recipes.

“We added new recipes because the way people, young people, in particular, eat today [compared] to 1986 is a big change,” said Zibin.

“So that’s why there’s a lot of added quesadillas and smoothies and things like that,” adds Elasoff.

The grandchildren of the Hen Party are now in their 20s and have also been using the book.

Though Cooking without Mom came about in the mid-’80s, the women of the Hen Party first started meeting in the early ’60s.

“We just started to gather in the evenings, just young moms. Our husbands went out one Wednesday, we went out the other Wednesday and just got together,” explains Zibin. “And at first we would bring our ironing and we’d bring any kind of handy work we had to do because everyone was busy and then gradually stopped the handy work and just kept visiting.”

The Hen Party has been together ever since, with a few additions and some members who have left or passed away.

“But the core group is still there,” says Zibin.

The launch of the 30th-anniversary edition of Cooking without Mom is Saturday at the Castlegar & District Public Library from 1 to 3 p.m.

There will be coffee and cookies, made from recipes in the book, and copies of Cooking without Mom will be available for sale. Members of the Hen Party will be on hand to sign books.

Cooking Without Mom is also available at the Gift Box and Kootenay Market in Castlegar, at Otter Books in Nelson and at Bear Country Kitchen in Rossland.

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The cover of the 30th annual edition of Cooking without Mom. (Submitted)

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