Seeking to honor culinary artist and Alzheimer’s advocate, Paula Wolfert, writer and editor Emily Kaiser Thelin has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to raise $45,000 for a new biographical cookbook, UNFORGETTABLE: Bold Flavors from Paula Wolfert’s Renegade Life.
The book will tell the incredible life story of Wolfert and share her 50 most unforgettable dishes, many of them in line with her new brain-healthy diet. Thelin stated:
“Wolfert never achieved the fame of peers like Julia Child and Jacques Pépin. But her life story is too good to forget. Often working below the radar, she changed the way America eats. Known as the Queen of the Mediterranean, she wrote nine seminal books on the region over her 50-year career, publishing her latest, The Foods of Morocco, in 2009. For five decades she championed authentic regional cooking and its components—whole foods, foraged greens, meats cooked in animal fat—way ahead of their time. Her determination made her a hero to some of our most influential chefs, like Mario Batali, Yotam Ottolenghi, and Alice Waters.
“Three years ago, Wolfert was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She took on dementia the same way she researched her cookbooks: She dove into research. She discovered a study which showed how diet and other lifestyle changes could partially reverse cognitive decline in early-onset Alzheimer’s patients. She has turned to food as medicine. And she is seeing real results. Today, she says, she feels better than she has in years. And she has raced to share her new approach. The past two years, she has spoken at venues like City Arts & Lectures in San Francisco, and embraced television coverage from CBS and PBS. This spring she traveled to Washington, D.C. with the Alzheimer’s Association as an early-stage advisor, to lobby Congress.
“We want to offer her life as a model for how to live boldly with a terrible disease, and how to take on dementia with humor and compassion. We want to share her ideas for what she calls “the worriers and the warriors”: Those nervous about the possibility of a diagnosis for themselves or their loved ones, and those already bravely coping with one.”
According to the Chicago Tribute, Thelin will be working along San Francisco photography Eric Wolfinger, former art director at Ten Speed Press Toni Tajima, and author of Into the Vietnamese Andrea Nguyen.
“Paula explored and championed new ideas at the American table. Her curiosity and on-the –ground approach inspires my work, and in park makes my career possible. Plus, she is a hoot. Preserving her legacy and presenting it to others continues the culinary chain.”
“I think what Emily is doing is amazing because it’s getting peole to be aware of what’s going on. There isn’t a cure and what she’s planning to do is make people aware.”
In regards to them using Kickstarter for help, Nguygen added:
“I imagine we can place this project with a publisher, but we want to stay true to Paula’s renegade spirit and give it a go ourselves, with the help of our friends and community. In many regards, this is an unusual endeavor in meaningful, small-batch cookbook publishing. It’s been amazing how food media and our friends have come out to support Unforgettable. We want to spotlight the value of someone like Paula, add links to the culinary chain. It’s not simply a celebrity chef’s world.”
Since its launch, Unforgettable’s Kickstarter has successfully raised over $40,000. It is set to close on July 10th.
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