The Local Colors Artists' Cooperative at 121 Main Street, Gloucester, now in its 25th year, is excited to offer a new type of event: a book signing featuring John Verlinden and his newly published Nuevo Cuban cook book To Cook Is to Love, a unique work of art which is equal parts memoir and cookbook. The members of Local Colors will be sponsoring his book signing for one evening only, Saturday, July 12 , from 5 to 9 pm. John will give a brief presentation at 7 pm and will be offering a tasty Cuban treat and refreshments from his book from 7 to 9 pm which is open and free to the public.
Chef Johnny, as he is also known, has been a long time supporter of Local Colors going back 24 years when he was first introduced to the artists and their art by a then new member, Kathy Bucholska, currently a jewelry and mixed media artist. During these years as the idea for his book was forming, John and his husband, Oz, established a non-profit organization that brought humanitarian aid to libraries, hospitals, community centers, elderly meal programs and schools serving children with disabilities to Cuba. Many members of Local Colors supported these efforts through art contributions to their annual silent auction fundraiser.
"We are so thrilled to offer this event on Cape Ann that supports the arts in a different way," says Kathy Bucholska. "The book entertains and inspires as well as offers 180 healthy recipes that are part Cuban and part American. To me, what makes the book really special is Aida's story of her life in Cuba and later as a single immigrant mother and the food that sustained her family. It is so compelling that I couldn't put the book down."
The instant readers open To Cook Is to Love, they find themselves transported straight to Mami Aida’s home, where she welcomes them like old friends for a delicious dinner, shares her sought after cooking secrets, and tells captivating stories of her remarkable past. To Cook Is to Love is a multigenerational cultural tapestry of Cuban history, life, food, wine, and music told through the heartwarming experiences of Mami Aida who immigrated to the United States and raised her family.
"I'm delighted to have an opportunity to bring To Cook Is to Love to Cape Ann, because it remains the heart of New England's fishing industry", says John. "Despite the distance and differences, Cape Ann and the Caribbean have had a long and profound relationship going back to Colonial times. Sailing vessels from New England brought dried and salted cod to the islands for trade. Cod from New England has been an important ingredient in Cuban cooking for hundreds of years."
To Cook Is to Love isn’t just a collection of delicious, healthy, Nuevo Cuban recipes. It includes a beautifully crafted collection of pre-revolutionary Cuban memorabilia, vintage family photographs and original illustrations that all help tell Mami Aida’s challenging, compelling and inspiring story. Readers will not want to leave Mami Aida’s table until they’ve heard her entire story and tasted every dish! For those who can't make the July 12th date, To Cook Is to Love will be available at the Toad Hall bookstore in Rockport.
Aside from the continuously changing array of art, the featured artists at Local Colors during the book signing are Kate Webster with her bead jewelry and knitwear in soft, pretty colors, inspired by sandy beaches, warm water, sea glass and summer flowers and Virginia Townsend with her new line of dinnerware (now available in a Wedgewood blue) featuring sperm whale and codfish designs so reflective of Cape Ann.