Teen creates celebrity recipes cookbook to fight breast cancer

Brookie Brown, right, with Rance Adams, host of River City Live, whose Rib Pockets recipe is in the cookbook.

Brookie Brown, right, with Rance Adams, host of River City Live, whose Rib Pockets recipe is in the cookbook.

To wonder if cooking is in the genes for Miss River City Outstanding Teen Brookie Brown is like asking “Does icing go on cake?”

Along with the rest of her talents, Brown’s recently-published 136-page cookbook, “Recipes to Celebrate the Finish,” is a sweet topping for her many successes this year as she promotes and advocates for breast cancer survivors.

The proceeds from the cookbook go to the Donna Foundation, particularly to women and men who are struggling to pay for treatment while experiencing the trauma of the disease. Most of the recipes are from local celebrities and breast cancer survivors, and in memory of those who died, but several are from Brown’s maternal grandmother, Betty Hays, who died from the disease before Brown was born. 

Brown’s mother, Valerie, taught her to cook, using many of her grandmother’s recipes, and they found cooking has been a great way to connect the generations through the shared experience.

Brown explained the idea for the cookbook came as she promoted her platform of breast cancer awareness and the Donna Foundation. “I thought ‘What do we all have in common? We love to eat.’ People have been so giving and kind. All I had to do was say I was raising money for breast cancer and I got many ‘secret’ recipes from amazing people,” said Brown, a San Jose resident. 

Brookie Brown helping with a book drive at Dreams Come True.

Brookie Brown helping with a book drive at Dreams Come True.

From Dr. Susan Arnold’s “Almond Joy Cookies” to Mary Baer’s “Under the Oaks Derby Pie,” the dessert section is enticing. Mary and David Garrard’s “BBQ Pancakes” and River City Live’s Host Rance Adam’s “Rib Pockets” promise to be hearty fare, as does Olympian Shannon Miller’s “Chicken Teriyaki.”

How 17-year-old Brown found time to plan and pull together such an extensive, mouthwatering and, as she jokingly said, “not always pageant-friendly” collection while volunteering for the Donna Foundation, K9s for Warriors, Dreams Come True, and as photographer for Hope Therapy for children with disabilities; singing the National Anthem at Jumbo Shrimp games; and working three jobs (at Deerwood Country Club,  Bubbles Car Wash, and as a tech assistant at Sweet Repeats) is a testimony to her discipline, responsibility and dedication.

Stir in preparation for pageants (hopefully to win college scholarships). Fold in practicing her singing; whip in the academic side where she has maintained a 4.7 GPA at Christ Church Academy; toss in more public appearances, and spice with preparations to attend Florida State University in pre-med to major in pediatric oncology research and minor in music, then mix it all together for a recipe for success as sweet as Donna Deegan’s, “Aunt Kim’s Sweet Potato Casserole.”

Cookbooks can be ordered by contacting [email protected]


By Peggy Harrell Jennings
Resident Community News

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