It all started in a library. I was doing some work back in the corner because it was quieter than my office and I always got more done. I was chatting with one of my friends, a former football player who was starting a non-profit, and browsing the cookbook section. I have an obsession with cookbooks. I check them out, take them home, and moon over them like a kid moons over his favorite comic book. Yes, I have a problem.
But back to the story. My friend was trying to come up with some fundraising ideas, so when I got off the phone with him, I figured I’d take a look to see what other sports figures or teams had written cookbooks. There weren’t any. Not one. But Coolio has a cookbook. Why knew?
Keep in mind we are in Lincoln, Nebraska, so it’s not a big shock that they didn’t carry any sports-related cookbooks. I figured when I started searching the internet, I’d find hundreds of them. Guess what? I didn’t. About all I could find was actually in the kitchen of one of my good friends, who used to work for the Dallas Cowboys. They’d put out a few cookbooks back then, but mostly for friends and families of the players.
I wondered why no one had been doing this. It seemed like such a great idea. Who wouldn’t want to see their favorite former athlete as he is now, with his family, dressed in an apron, perhaps covered with flour? It makes them so human, so accessible. And then the other part fell into place: if we could do this, and if people would buy it…why couldn’t we use it to help people? After all, most of these guys were connected to a charity. Whether they had started a foundation (like my friend), were a spokesperson for a charity or just appeared at their fundraisers, these guys already knew the value of giving back to their community.
That’s when Big Red Recipes was born. I threw the idea around for a while until one of my friends told me if I didn’t follow through with it, she’d kill me (I have great friends). So I jumped in. I found a sponsor (thank you, Tony Caputo at Markel BMW for believing in my vision!) and then I found a former Husker who reached out to a bunch of his friends and told them to get involved (thank you, Blake Lawrence!). And now, 44 players and many charities later, we are getting ready to wrap up what has been a dream of mine now for over a year.
I’m so excited you’re all on this journey with me. I can’t wait to release the book and begin raising funds for all the wonderful organizations involved. Go big red!
Angela Woltman, Big Red Recipes