Thursday, May 9, 2013

Munchies, Music & Mental Health

I am not one of those people who buy birthday gifts super-early. You know the ones - they shop throughout the year and whenever they see something that is perfect for a friend or family member, they buy it and stow it away for 6 months until the actual occasion.  Nuh-uh. I clue in a couple of weeks before and look for something then.

I made an exception recently, however, because I did happen to stumble upon that perfect thing that I knew a friend of mine would love. Although I bought it for my friend, once I got it home and flipped through it, I fell in love with it for ME too, and went back and bought one for myself later.

This item is the cookbook pictured above - it's titled "Musicians, Memories & Morsels" and it was compiled by Halifax musician and music executive, Lana Grant. Not only does the book have super-cute retro graphics, yummy recipes contributed by some of the most well-known and loved Maritime musicians, but it is also a fundraiser for mental health charities.

Mental health is an issue that is close to the hearts of most, me included. I don't like to talk about it, but I struggled with depression in high school and actually attempted suicide. I still struggle with anxiety issues and people close to me also suffer from similar disorders as well as more serious ones, such as schizophrenia. I know what it's like to want help but not know how to ask for it. I know what it's like to feel alone and isolated, or like there is something "wrong" with you.

I feel like there is more and more dialogue around these issues every year and people are becoming more open to talking about it, but in general these issues do not get the attention they deserve. Many, like me, are reluctant to discuss their issues or reach out for help and even if they wish to reach out, they are unsure where to go. Overall, mental health is still considered an awkward, dark and "touchy" issue.

But this book is the opposite of that -  it is colorful, fun and creative. I like that. I applaud Lana's niece for sharing her story about living with bi-polar disorder, and I applaud Lana for putting together this book to honor that and to raise much-needed awareness and funds in a bright and open way.

I just love the names of the sections - so creative!
I haven't cooked anything from the book yet, but I hope to very soon. I can't wait! I also can't wait for my friend to open hers - I just KNOW she will love it, too!

Even if you don't care about supporting local charities, I would encourage you to run out and pick up this book as well (it's available at Chapters!!). Even if you don't care about supporting local music, you will at least appreciate the book for it's easy and tasty recipes! And, heck, even if you don't care about tasty food, it will give you something pretty to look at, and who can argue with that.

But I know none of you are so low that you don't care about helping people in your community - that's one of the great things about Halifax - people here care about each other. This book is proof of that.