Today is a momentous occasion. Today is the day that, after at least five years of being in the works, the curtain opens on “The Bodhi Cookbook.” This was a project that was on my “to-do list” — a terrifying document indeed — for many years. Despite being an idea that seemed to have a lot of traction among guests (and the fact that I would spend quite a bit of time personally writing out and emailing past guests different recipes), I couldn’t seem to make the time to get the cookbook off the ground. However, a unique combination of circumstances allowed the crew here at Bodhi Surf + Yoga to fast-track the project. It’s been a great, beautiful, collaborative project that encompasses the heart and soul of Bodhi Surf + Yoga, and we couldn’t be more proud to be sharing it with you!
Enter stage left: Fanny, Bodhi Surf + Yoga’s full-time cook
In April of last year (and for the first time in our history), Bodhi Surf + Yoga hired a full-time staff member who would dedicate herself completely to the kitchen. Heretofore, that job had been mine, with the help of an auxiliary staff when I could find someone. Fanny joined our team, and immediately relieved me of a great deal of work. She took to the kitchen very quickly, learning the ways of Bodhi Surf + Yoga, and adding her own special flair. She also clicked so well with everyone on our team, that it felt as though she had been here forever.
Fanny’s own story is incredible. A single-mother of four awesome kids, Fanny works so incredibly hard to give them the best life. She has had to make the difficult decision to leave her home in the mountains during the week to come down to Costa Ballena to find work. While her life has not been very easy, Fanny is resolved to make the best of her circumstances and to take each day on with a smile. It is also apparent to all who have had the pleasure of enjoying Fanny’s cooking that she always brings her best effort forth to work. We are so happy to have her form part of this dream team.
Fanny’s impact on Bodhi Surf + Yoga and The Bodhi Cookbook
One awesome addition since Fanny joined us is the homemade, from-scratch breads and cookies she makes for surf lessons. Prior to that, we had been buying granola bars. While being healthy and organic, with their individual wrappers, they went against our internal policy of cutting down on single-use packaging. Not only were Fanny’s surf snacks crowd-pleasing and preservative-free, they also created significantly less garbage.
Fanny has been instrumental in the creation of The Bodhi Cookbook. Many of her recipes — not just her surf snacks, but also some Costa Rican favorites: Gallo Pinto, Patacones, Arroz con Pollo (o Primavera), picadillos, salads, and more — have made it into the cookbook. Fanny’s knowledge is not just her own, but that of generations before her, and we are delighted to have that perspective represented in the cookbook, as it is here in Costa Rica, where the mountains meet the sea, that this entire passion project has come to light.
Enter stage right: Sheridan, Bodhi Surf + Yoga intern and whiz kid
Sheridan Plummer came to Bodhi Surf + Yoga in October of 2019, though we were on one another’s radar for a significant time before that. As a former 1% for the Planet intern (which Bodhi Surf + Yoga is a member of), Sheridan was a wonderful candidate for an internship here with us as she innately understood what we were trying to do with our business in the impact and environmental sense. Sheridan had also worked on several farm-to-table projects and had a deep interest in both food systems and justice. In her own words, “I find food to be one of the most clear and captivating ways of connecting people to the land they are inhabiting. From planting seeds in the ground and pulling up weeds, to cooking an amazing meal and serving it to friends and family – food bridges a lot of gaps that have popped up in our modern lives.”
The woman for the job of creating The Bodhi Cookbook
Sheridan also turned out to be a real wizard with the creation of beautiful, user-friendly visual guides and informational documents. So when she volunteered to take on the cookbook project, I was delighted. In my mind, it was going to be a word document with some grainy pictures embedded so that people could get an idea. The slightly more modern equivalent of grandma’s classic recipe book with loose, hand-written, food-stained pages.
Taking on the cookbook project with a quiet determination, Sheridan asked for help when she needed it, and just toiled away, adding to it page by page. It’s a gargantuan task to get a cook to clearly recite their recipes, and in our case it was no different. Sheridan would sit there typing as Fanny was cooking, and her and I had multiple hour-long sessions where I spewed forth recipe after recipe from my memory. She translated these ramblings into understandable recipes. She worked with Hannah and Anki to get one crispy food photo after another. She sat alongside Spencer, going over the document again and again so that it was consistent, clear, and typo-free.
The last act: A global pandemic
We knew fairly early on that this coronavirus pandemic would undoubtedly affect us here in Costa Rica, though not the extent of it. We don’t have to explain the rapidly changing circumstances, lack of information, and anxiety that came next — each and every person is in the same boat right now (a novel and interesting place to be in human history). In the kerfuffle that ensued after the Costa Rican borders were shut, it became apparent that our lifeblood — the ability to run our surf and yoga camps, bodysurf retreats, and family vacations — would be cut off for an indeterminate period of time.
There was scrambling, a ton of meetings, decisions made, decisions changed, and a final, cold, hard resolution. We had just managed to get our dream team together with the arrival of Fanny and Sheridan (and we cannot overstate this fact — right now at Bodhi Surf + Yoga, we have the absolute dream team). So we decided, as a team, we would all do whatever we could to keep the dream team together, sink or float. We brainstormed ideas of what we could do to bring in some income, even small, in order to keep the ship upright and moving forward. Everyone agreed that fast-tracking the cookbook would be a great resource to provide to our network. A network which, in the days after the worst week in Bodhi Surf + Yoga’s history, had already begun to step up by purchasing future travel gift certificates or simply donating.
It’s the community; it was always the community
I sit here writing this with a decade’s-worth of Bodhi Surf + Yoga memories (yes, this year we turn 10) running through my mind. I helped co-found this company when I was a baby — 22 years old, and fresh out of university. I’ve watched it grow, change, evolve, and honestly, get better and better with each passing year. And I have realized that it’s not about the surfing, or the yoga, or the lodge, or even the beautiful, natural environment that surrounds us. It’s the sum of all of those parts, but also (and most importantly), the people who have been a part of this big, beautiful, crazy, passionate life project that is Bodhi Surf + Yoga. The community that we helped foster.
Right now, as the global community unites under the goal of combatting this virus; on a much smaller scale, the team here is united in the fight to keep Bodhi Surf + Yoga. There is a unity, a solidarity, a realization that together we are so much greater than we are apart. For us, The Bodhi Cookbook (as well as all of the other cool, collaborative projects that have and will continue to be created as we wait out this storm) is a tangible reminder of strength and resiliency. It is under the most adverse conditions that the most beautiful ideas are borne.
Thank you to everyone who has chosen to donate. We hope you enjoy the cookbook, we hope it brings you as much joy to prepare these recipes as it has for us to create them. Lastly, we hope you’ll join us down here some day, and we can share a meal together.