MADISON -- Erika Frederick never guessed the path to family and faith would be paved with peanut butter and marshmallows.
But when she capped her work on the Our Lady Queen of Peace cookbook with a cooking class for her kids and some of their friends, she found the connection. As the children dug in to mix and form "Crispy Cereal Roll-ups," she saw them learning lessons of working as a team, sharing values, and building memories.
How to get cookbooks
Order forms for the Our Lady Queen of Peace Cuisine cookbook are available online at www.qpcookbook.com
They will also be on sale at the school's 60th anniversary celebration Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 10 and 11, at Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, 401 S. Owen Dr., Madison.
"If the kids are involved in deciding what the family eats and then involved in cooking, you're all coming together," says Frederick, a Queen of Peace member whose kids attend the parish school. "That's what's important, being a family, being friends."
The connection between the gooey goodness of the treats the kids cooked up and the sense of community and values was exactly what parishioner Colleen Penwell sought when she headed a team to produce the cookbook. Named Our Lady Queen of Peace Cuisine, the cookbook is designed to celebrate food through faith, family, and friends.
"From start to finish, Our Lady Queen of Peace Cuisine represents the essence of our parish community," Penwell says. "The cookbook is about much more than food. It showcases the strong history of Queen of Peace, the unique blend of parish and school, and the bonds of family and friends."
Marking school's 60th anniversary
The threads of history in the book mark its place in the parish's celebration of the 60th anniversary of the school this fall. The community will join together to celebrate that milestone Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 10 and 11, with a festival, raffle, and commemorative Masses.
Plans for the weekend and plans for the cookbook developed side by side, as committees drew together nearly 500 recipes and sought to reconnect with the school's nearly 3,000 alumni.
The cookbook committee reviewed and tested every recipe meticulously, ensuring the final product offered people the best new ideas and time-honored favorites.
"Hundreds of people took part in the creation of Our Lady Queen of Peace Cuisine. Recipes were tested all over the country by parish friends and family. We had no idea this little cookbook would be so big in community-building."
In Frederick's cooking class to celebrate completion of the book, the bonds were clear. Her kids -- Cal, 12, and Audrey, 8 -- and their friends shared laughter as they melted, stirred, and patted. As they added ingredients and the kitchen began to smell sweet and buttery, they each took turns learning different tasks.
"I like to stir because it's fun watching the stuff get from just sitting there to getting all gooey and stuff," said Joe Culver, 10, a friend of the Fredericks'.
In the end, the kids sliced impressive pinwheels of chocolate, Rice Krispies, and "goo" that received a resounding thumbs-up from the chefs. Culver was so excited he made a batch the following day for a visit with his principal, Robert Abshire, and Queen of Peace's pastor, Msgr. Ken Fiedler.
For Frederick, the lesson will become part of the lifelong memory of her role in creating the cookbook.
"They're so eager to learn," she says. "Their cute little faces saying, 'I want to help!' It was great."