Couple releases cookbook to get families back into the kitchen
By Meagan McGone
BREVARD -- Stuart and Nancy Borton, owners of Yellow Dog Café in Malabar, want to bring families together in the kitchen.
So, Mr. Borton is going back to the basics by teaching first-time chefs how to scramble eggs, make grilled cheese sandwiches and boil shrimp in his new cookbook, "Old Dog New Chefs."
"This book is for first-time cooks of any age," Mr. Borton said. "The concept is that the old dog teaches the new chefs how to make things come alive in the kitchen."
A creation five years in the making, "Old Dog New Chefs" was inspired by a cooking class that Mr. Borton taught as a volunteer at St. Joseph Catholic School in Palm Bay.
"I taught cooking as an elective for students from sixth to eighth grade, and it was all about fun," Mr. Borton said. "Through this process, I started finding out what kids really wanted to learn to cook."
And when children entered Yellow Dog Café, their curiosity brought about more inspiration.
"I was surprised about some of the complex dishes that kids wanted to learn how to make," Mr. Borton said. "So I decided to put a book together, and it came out beautifully."
Featuring how-tos on concoctions as easy as pie (blueberry cream pie, to be precise) and simple instructions on how to create dishes that even some advanced chefs fear, like fudge, the book offers advice for everyone.
The Bortons said that the need for "Old Dog New Chefs" is high, as cookbooks currently lining the shelves of bookstores either cater to the experienced chef or go into too much detail for new cooks, leaving no room for creativity.
"We wrote the book without going into so much detail with our recipes," Mr. Borton said. "We emphasize to try things, to make mistakes. What you're making may not come out perfect. We don't want to make the instructions so simple that they are for babies. We wanted to challenge the first-time cook. We have a lot of faith in people."
The 162-page cookbook, also packed with tips on how to substitute ingredients and convert measurements, is not Mr. Borton's first attempt to put his decades of wisdom from the kitchen on paper.
"Yellow Dog Café Cookbook," which reveals some of the restaurant's most cherished recipes, was released in 2010 and has since sold more than 4,000 copies.
Mr. Borton said he has always dreamed of writing cookbooks, and he credits his wife for accomplishing his goal.
"Nancy is the glue that holds everything together," he said.
To accompany "Old Dog New Chefs," Mrs. Borton, along with graphic designer Scott LaFortune, created a coloring book, complete with clever depictions of the "Yellow Dog" himself. It has been a hit among children at the restaurant.
"I've been watching kids put their iPads away and color," Mrs. Borton said. "We're really bringing people back to the roots of their lives."
The books mentioned in this article can be purchased via yellowdogcafe.com or by visiting the restaurant. If bought together at Yellow Dog Café, "Old Dog New Chefs" and the accompanying coloring book cost $20 plus tax. Sold separately, "Old Dog New Chefs" is $16.98 plus tax, and "Yellow Dog Café Cookbook" is $28 plus tax.
Yellow Dog Café is located at 905 U.S. 1 in Malabar.
For more information, call (321) 956-3334.
No Bake Cookies
2 cups sugar
4 tablespoons cocoa
1 stick butter
1 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 cups quick-cooking oatmeal
1. In a heavy saucepan bring sugar, cocoa, butter, and milk to a boil.
2. Let boil for 1 minute then add peanut butter, vanilla, and oatmeal.
3. Mix well remove from heat.
4. On a sheet of waxed paper, drop mixture by the teaspoonfuls, until cooled and hardened.
5. Let set until cool and hardened.
6. Store in an air-tight container.
7. Share with friends and family.
Chef's Tip: Try making Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies for those who can't eat chocolate. Just leave out the cocoa.
Recipe excerpt from "Old Dog New Chef" by Stuart Borton