In the community

Cooking mishap leads to Malheur County writer’s first published book

Neighbor children snuggle up to read “Grandma’s Green Grass Soup,” by B. Dawn. (Submitted photo)

A cooking experiment gone awry more than 20 years ago gave a Malheur County woman the idea for her recently published children’s book.

“Grandma’s Green Grass Soup,” written by Brenda Goertzen under the pen name B. Dawn, is a light-hearted tale about a youngster contemplating a visit to his grandmother’s house for lunch. As his imagination runs wild, the family lunch date looms as a dreaded culinary event – but all turns out well at the end.

As they say in the movies, the tale stems from a true story.

Goertzen said when her children were little, she tried making something new – cream of asparagus soup – from scratch. Not familiar with the process, she blended up the whole asparagus spears, woody stalks and all.

As she finished up the other dinner preparations, the children sat at the table, hardly touching the masterpiece soup. She cajoled, and then even scolded them to eat their soup, but to no avail.

“When I finally sat down and took a bite, they were right. It tasted terrible – like grass. I was mortified,” she said. “We ended up ordering pizza that night.”

The incident became a lasting bit of family lore. As her four children became adults and 10 grandchildren arrived on the scene, they could always get a good-natured laugh recalling “Mom’s grass soup.”

One year, Goertzen decided to create a story about it. Illustrating it herself, she created a book through a printing service as a gift for the grandchildren. They loved it.

That made her think, “Why not really try to get it published?”

So she wrote a manuscript and submitted it to Christian Faith Publishing. The publishing house liked it, and agreed to publish her book.

Christian Faith assigned an illustrator and editing team to work with Goertzen to prepare the book for publication. She said it was quite a process, but with her final approval, the story was ready for publication in both print and digital formats.

Now the book is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, which are promoting it both online and in stores. The book retails for $13.95. 

The publication is a milestone for Goertzen.

Noting she’s always felt a special connection with children, she said, “It’s always been a dream of mine to write a children’s book.”

As for her family, “they think it’s awesome.”

Now she is working on a second children’s book, which is due out in spring 2022, also from Christian Faith Publishing.

Goertzen grew up in Idaho but has family roots in Malheur County’s farm country. She has lived in this area for 14 years, noting, “I love it here.”

She also works full time and is an avid do-it-yourselfer.

“I built two decks this year,” she said with a laugh. “I like to be busy.”

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