Saving Orphaned Chimpanzees. One Recipe at a Time.

How Saving Pan Was Born

We were looking for a way to help spread the word about the bushmeat crisis as well as raise funds to help orphaned chimpanzees. Creating a cookbook that required no meat at all, and selling copies of it to raise money for chimps, seemed like a good first step. Plus, creating a cookbook sounded like fun!

This cookbook, filled with delicious vegetarian recipes from top chefs as well as our own family kitchens, was three years in the making. We started working on it in 6th grade and finished at the end of 8th grade, we learned many life skills in the process. We started by writing to chefs, food activists and primatologists and asked if they would contribute a vegetarian recipe to our cookbook. Then we spent hours cooking in the kitchen on Friday nights, testing the recipes and eating together. In our final year we worked on planning and writing the book, from the introduction to the headnotes. Then we worked with a photographer on food styling and food photography. Through it all we learned the importance of teamwork, cooperation, research and advocacy. Plus we were introduced to ingredients and dishes we had never tasted before.

You might be wondering, why did we name the book Saving Pan? It turns out, “pan” has several different meanings that all relate to our project: 

• A broad, shallow, and open container for cooking 

• The genus name for the two species of apes 

known as chimpanzees 

• A character in a popular children’s story about 

lost childhood

The first one, a cooking pan, has an obvious connection to the cookbook. Number two, the genus name for chimps, has an obvious connection to the chimps we’re hoping to help. But the connection to the third definition, a reference to Peter Pan, might not be so clear. Well, think of it this way: Peter Pan was an orphaned child, similar to the orphaned chimps in Africa. It’s our biggest hope that they can go on to thrive as well as he did. 

-The Grant Park Chapter of Roots & Shoots:

Brooke, Charlotte, Emma, Hannah, Lily, Maeve, Martha, Matisse, Maya, McKenzie C, McKenzie T, Ruby, Talia, and Willa