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9-year-old Maine chef makes cookbook to help those in need

Some of the proceeds Riley gets from her cookbook sales will be used to help hungry Mainers in her community and will also help with her dad's Haiti mission

CHINA, Maine — Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many families in Maine and around the world are struggling. A 9-year-old from China, Maine, thought of a way to help out those in need. Riley Coleman created a cookbook that includes her favorite smoothies, breakfast, lunch, dinner items, and desserts.

Riley's grandmother lives in Cape Cod, Massachusetts but was determined to help the project along.

Riley's fundraising inspiration?..."My dad is actually a pastor, and so every year there's a missions team and they go down to Haiti and serve them, give them clean water, and stuff and so I wanted to be a part of that too and I wanted to give some of the money to them and also to people in Maine who don't have a lot of things."

80 percent of the proceeds Riley gets from the sale of her cookbook will be used to help hungry Mainers in her community and will also help out with her father's Haiti mission. Riley will keep the other 20 percent to fundraise and make her second family cookbook.

Credit: Dan Coleman

The 9-year-old's cookbook is $10 if you download the Kindle edition, and $20 if you want to buy a hard copy through Amazon.

Almond flour chocolate chip pancakes are the very first recipe Riley nailed. From there, both her mother and her grandmother have been teaching her great family recipes that she shares in her cookbook.

"I didn't really know what cooking was, so I started to do it with my mom," Coleman said.

Coleman tells NEWS CENTER Maine she wants to be a chef when she grows up. She called the book 'Riley's Family Cookbook' because there is a review from a member of the family in each of the recipes.

"It's an opportunity to gather a lot of people, 'cause a lot of people like making treats," she said.

In the beginning, when the pandemic started back in March, Riley and her grandmother exchanged recipes through the mail but then they decided to do them together through a video call. 

"When COVID hit, we knew we couldn't go up from the Cape to Maine to visit her, so I said why don't we write letters back and forth and we can share recipes," said Holly Seaver, Riley's grandmother. "Every time I go up to visit Riley, cooking is always part of the visit."

All of the best recipes are compiled in a family cookbook that they both worked hard on creating since March. The book is called: 'Riley's Family Cookbook," a recipe book that is doing more than bonding families.

"We started communicating through Facetime, we would have meetings once a week to talk about the book," Seaver said.

"I wanted to put all the recipes I knew, into one book so I could share them with everyone," Coleman said. "And then her church does a community outreach who are feeding people through all of this, and so a large part of the proceeds go to that," Seaver said.

Credit: Holly Seaver

Most of the recipes in the cookbook are gluten-free. "I am gluten-free, and so I have to eat everything gluten-free so I was thinking there are other people who are gluten-free too, so they can make these recipes and it would be good for them," Coleman said.

Riley said if you are not gluten-free you can substitute the flour to the one you like or use.

Seaver adds the recipe book is a way to show how kids can also help a neighbor or someone in need, during difficult times.

"Every time the book is sold, somebody gets a meal, some family gets help, some family gets fed, and that is really important to us," Seaver said. "The other important thing is Riley wanted to show, what a 9-year-old could do during a pandemic, even kids."

If you would like to support Riley's mission to help others in need in her community and in Haiti you can purchase a copy of her cookbook here.


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