'Flavors of Bainbridge': It’s beautiful, and it has great taste

Rosemary Shaw, left, and Eileen Black with “Flavors of Bainbridge.” Sales from the book, which contains recipes, tidbits and snapshots of island life, benefit the Kitsap Humane Society. Find copies at locales around town.  -
Rosemary Shaw, left, and Eileen Black with “Flavors of Bainbridge.” Sales from the book, which contains recipes, tidbits and snapshots of island life, benefit the Kitsap Humane Society. Find copies at locales around town.
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Rosemary Shaw and Eileen Black want to show people the essence of Bainbridge.

“The whole idea is that you’re going to get a flavor of Bainbridge – what it’s like to work here, to play here, to cook here,” Black said. “A lot of people think that Bainbridge is just ferries. But it’s not just the water, it’s not just boats.”

Black is an island realtor and Shaw was one of her clients. They immediately hit it off when they met, even cultivating their friendship and mutual culinary interest by taking a cooking class together.

At a certain point last year, a thought started to percolate independently, a la “great minds.” For starters, one of Black’s clients invited Black to avail herself of her summer garden produce while she was on vacation.

“I came home with this bounty of Bainbridge, and I thought, what am I going to do with all this?” Black said.

That, and the fact that she’d shown homes to many clients who were about to be brand new to the island, got her thinking that it would be fun to have a small guide she could offer people. A cookbook, maybe – something that showed a slice of Bainbridge that she so valued.

Shaw, meanwhile, had joined the board of the Kitsap Humane Society. She was in a fund-raising frame of mind.

“We’re not even talking about it, and she calls me up and says, ‘How about you and I put together a cookbook?’” Black said.

The two began emailing friends and clients, and then last February held a getting-started gathering to generate buzz and get an early idea for some of the proposed recipes.

Meanwhile, they lined up Bainbridge creative talent in the form of 16-year-old photography student Chelsea Sandbloom and book designer Becky Branting.

Together, with Black and Shaw compiling – and tasting – the content and driving the process; Sandbloom capturing snapshots of island life over the summer; and Branting arranging the whole package, they came up with “Flavors of Bainbridge,” a slender volume that tastefully captures a cross-section of the island’s visual standouts, while benefiting the Kitsap Humane Society.

Within its pages, readers will find photos of gardens, docks, farms, beaches, boats, pets and trails, flanked by clever complementary recipes.

“Goat Cheese on Toast with Pine Nut Relish” sits next to the Sunrise Drive farm where friendly farm critters are always ready to greet. “Chilly Hilly Cioppino” is paired with a cyclist taking a rest on Crystal Springs Drive. “Grand Forest Trail Mix” goes next to...well, you get the picture.

Each recipe comes with a serving suggestion or a note about how it plays into Bainbridge. The only directives for recipe submissions were that the submitter should live on the island, and that the recipe should contain at least one ingredient that was created or produced on Bainbridge.

In that way, the project really was home grown.

“It’s a cookbook, but we saw it more as a lifestyle, and an outreach to the community,” Shaw said.

Shaw, in particular. is passionate about the book’s beneficiary, KHS; part of what she likes about the project is that a book about Bainbridge is also raising awareness about an organization that benefits the island.

“I believe there are many people on Bainbridge Island who don’t realize Bainbridge is in the catchment area for KHS,” she said.

Additionally, she said, many don’t realize that as a not-for-profit organization, Kitsap Humane Society relies heavily on donations – despite having “Kitsap” in its title, it’s not a county-run organization.

Something in the book is resonating – in less than two weeks on the shelves, well over half the print run of “Flavors of Bainbridge” has sold. Could be the holidays, could be winter tourists, who knows. The recipe was right.

“It was a whole synergy – love for the community, love for food and love for pets,” Black said.

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