Student turns love of cooking into serviceFebruary 22, 2012

It’s not too often that one can use one passion to fuel another, but Mary Schletzbaum, junior from Atchison, has done just that.

To fulfill her dream of serving in Africa, a continent she loves, Schletzbaum will be selling books about her other great love: cooking.

“I’ve always been interested and curious about the culture and society in Africa,” Schletzbaum said. “The only way to learn about the history and people of a culture is to experience it for yourself. I want to talk to the people and learn from them.”

On May 31 of this year, the Atchison senior will be leaving Kansas City and shuffling across the Atlantic to Africa, where she will spend the next nine weeks in Tanzania, traveling with Global Service Corps to Arusha. There she will be working to educate youth about HIV and AIDS as well as helping the surrounding communities establish sustainable agriculture.

Schletzbaum, who is president of the student-led Voices for Justice at Rockhurst University, which focuses on poverty and hunger, said she jumped at the chance to help better nourish people half a world away.

“The program was right down my line of interest,” she said. “This was exactly what I was looking for.”

To take this service trip, Schletzbaum was looking to raise nearly $2,500. To accomplish this goal, she decided to sell cookbooks at $25 each.

The book, titled “Cook. Eat. Live.”, contains more than 75 different recipes, which Schletzbaum either created or modified from other recipes.

“I love food,” Schletzbaum said. “I love the culture surrounded by food. For the book, I just took a lot of my old recipes, altered and compiled them.”

Although she is currently a practicing vegan, Schletzbaum said there are recipes for everyone including carnivores.

“I grew up in a steak-and-potatoes family, but now I’m a vegan,” she said. “This book kind of follows the evolution of my eating habits.”

Requests for books can be made through private messages on Facebook or to her email, schletzbaumm@hawks.rockhurst.edu. Donations can also be made via Schletzbaum’s blog at atanzaniansummer.blogspot.com

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