Andre du Brocï¿½s Recipe for Fundraising: Make a Batch of Cookies ï¿½ 175 Times
March 31, 2011
by John Long
For this cover of Camp, we feature the cookies of Andre du Broc. We wrote about his cookie project in last yearï¿½s April issue. His goal is to bake all 175 cookie recipes from the book Martha Stewartï¿½s Cookies: The Very Best Treats to Bake and to Share. It was a way to raise money for AIDS, based in part on the movie Julie & Julia, in which the central character sets out to cook every recipe in Julia Childï¿½s book Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
Du Broc is a writer at Hallmark Cards in Kansas City, where he has worked for six years. He moved to Kansas City from New York to join his partner, Dan Briardy.
ï¿½I work in a group called ï¿½The Collaboratory,ï¿½ and itï¿½s an idea exchange at Hallmark. Itï¿½s a conglomeration of about 13 writers. We write cards, but we also write books. We conceptualize things a lot. Someone might have a doohickey and think, ï¿½Isnï¿½t that cool, and China can make like 40,000 of them and how do we make this into a product?ï¿½ and weï¿½ll help conceptualize what that product might look like or sound like,ï¿½ he said.
Since our article last year, du Broc has made a lot of progress toward his goal ï¿½ he has about 56 or 57 more recipes to go. He hopes to have all of them completed by September 2011.
The first worst recipe, he said, was Key Lime Bars. ï¿½Either I got bad limes or the recipe was just bad. These were just so bitter and so tart they were unservable. And the last thing that was made is called a Financier, which is like a little French tea cake, and it had so many steps, because itï¿½s Martha. Marthaï¿½s version of S&M is to write a cookie book. And you go through all of these steps and they look beautiful and they just donï¿½t taste like anything and itï¿½s like ï¿½why did I go through all of that?ï¿½ï¿½ he said, laughing.
Du Broc said that most of the recipes have been very good. He brings the cookies to share with Hallmark employees or Briardy takes some to his job at Nord-strom, or he shares cookies with people who have donated to his AIDS Walk fund.
Knowing what he knows now, would he have done anything differently? He said, with a laugh, ï¿½I would have looked at the book a little more carefully.ï¿½
He has posted the results of each recipe on his blog, http://www.toomanycookies.wordpress.com.
ï¿½I had never started a blog. I had never read a blog. I think that was the thing I found probably the most challenging ï¿½ because Iï¿½m a writer,ï¿½ he said. ï¿½I have a tendency to write everything three times before I would ever publish it, because my nameï¿½s on it and I want the writing to be good and interesting and compelling. Well, doing that 175 times, always starting with the cookie and letting the cookie lead to a story and lead to a narrative, thatï¿½s hard. But thatï¿½s been a really terrific exercise.ï¿½
He said he has met many fascinating people from across the globe because of the blog.
ï¿½I used to be in Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus. I was a circus clown and went to clown college. And I left because of the homophobia and particularly how they treated the animals. I just couldnï¿½t take it. And for the first time, 18 years later, I wrote about this, and it never occurred to me that anybody would be terribly interested in it. And then PETA contacted me and asked if I would guest-blog for them. And then their vice president is Dan Matthews, who is very gay and a contributing writer to The Advocate, contacted me and asked if I would guest blog in The Advocate and so I did. And then I got a phone call from this girl out in Orange County, in Anaheim, Calif., that was trying to get the City Council to pass a ban on exotic animal performances within the city limits. So she had PETA fly me out to basically get up and read my story in front of the City Council in Anaheim, all because of this little blog. It was cool.ï¿½
Surpassing his goal, he has raised more than $5,000 for AIDS Walk 2011 through Facebook and his AIDS Walk FirstGiving page. He is not sure what heï¿½ll do for AIDS Walk after he finishes the cookie project. ï¿½The next challenge, if I do one, needs to involve a personal trainer,ï¿½ he said, laughing.
To find out more about Andre du Broc, to read his blog and to contribute to his AIDS Walk fundraising page, visit http://www.toomanycookies.wordpress.com.