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“Taste of Paradise” cookbook hits the Beach

By Nathan Mayberg - Editor | Apr 1, 2021

The members of the Fort Myers Beach Community Foundation have chosen one of the ultimate paths toward giving back.

They have parted ways with some of their favorite recipes for food and drink, while enlisting the contributions of several Fort Myers Beach restaurants for their anticipated cookbook “Taste of Paradise: Favorite Flavors of Fort Myers Beach.”

The cookbook, which cost $25 and is available on the foundation’s website, was put together by the foundation to raise funds for the foundation’s philanthropic efforts including scholarships.

There are more than 90 recipes, featuring mostly appetizers, salads, soups, drinks and desserts.

Some examples include hummus, holiday punch, bite size pretzels and spicy New Orleans shrimp.

Fort Myers Beach Community Foundation co-president Kelly Smith holds up the foundation's new cookbook, featuring recipes from the community and local restaurants. There were 150 copies made for the first run./ Photo by Nathan Mayberg

Jan Fleming, a Fort Myers Beach Community Foundation member, provided her recipe to white Texas sheet cake, which she learned from her college roommate at the University of Miami (Ohio).

Kelly Smith, co-president of the Fort Myers Beach Community Foundation, provided several recipes of her own. Smith said the book was a fundraising idea the foundation came up with during the pandemic. After initially thinking of something to do virtually, she said the foundation members “wanted something we can hold.”

Her favorite is the cajun seafood bread she learned from a restaurant she once worked at in Warsaw, Indiana. Smith had to check in with the owner, Gordy Clemons, to make sure it could be shared.

Smith credited Sandy Sandness with being responsible for the design and helping to put the book together. “Sandy spent a lot of time on this,” Smith said. Smith said a lot of editing was involved. “It was very time consuming.”

There is an initial press run of 150 cookbooks, with another run expected once this batch sells out.

“We’re kind of hoping this will be one of a yearly tradition,” Smith said. The book could get updates in a new edition or the foundation may focus on a particular group of recipes for another cookbook.

Smith gave “special thanks to Rose Michie and Cindy Richardson for collecting and sorting recipes. Also, much appreciation to all the restaurants and Community Foundation ladies who submitted recipes. Thanks to the Print Shop Ink for printing and production of the cookbook.”

Truly Scrumptious Cafe and Ice Cream owner Terry Garro was among the more prolific contributors to the book.

The local hair salon One Flight Up will carry some of the books

Skye’s Restaurant at Santini Plaza will have cards for ordering the book.

For more information on the foundation or to purchase their cookbook, you can visit fmbcommunityfoundation.com. The foundation will deliver the cookbook locally and for an extra $3 will ship it outside the area. The foundation plans to have the book available for Kindle as well.

“I think we have a good, finished product,” Smith said.