CHINA — Move over Marjorie Standish, Maine may have a new authority on cookbooks.

Riley Coleman holds her first published book, “Riley’s Family Cookbook,” which she wrote with grandmother Holly Seaver. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

Riley Coleman, 9, of China spent her quarantine becoming a published author with “Riley’s Family Cookbook,” which is co-written by her grandmother, Holly Seaver of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The 83-page cookbook contains 30 recipes, from smoothies to turkey burgers to muffins.

“Usually adults write things,” she said, adding that it felt “pretty good” to be a published author.

The cookbook represents more than a collection of the Coleman family’s favorite recipes, it also is supporting programs Central Church runs in Haiti. Coleman’s father, Dan, is the pastor at Central Church which sends missionaries to Haiti to help with food insecurity; some of the proceeds of the cookbook’s sale will go to those missionaries and the church’s local outreach groups.

“There’s a little mission team and they go to Haiti and serve them, give them water and help them,” Coleman said. “I wanted to help them, too.”

Coleman, who said she wanted to be a chef when she grows up, said her favorite recipe is the “Create Your Own Pancakes,” which can be customized with many different toppings.


“It’s the first recipe I started cooking with,” she said. “I put on chocolate, blueberries, any type of fruit and real Maine maple syrup.”

Because Coleman cannot eat gluten, all of the recipes in the book are gluten-free.

In the pancake recipe, wheat flour is substituted with oats and almond flour. Seaver said wheat flour can be substituted back into the recipes without issue.

Seaver said the recipes are all family oriented and will please picky eaters. In the book, each recipe is reviewed by a member of the family.

“My husband and I have 10 children between us and we do foster care,” she said. “The recipes are all a big hit.”

Seaver said her favorite recipe is the first one in the book, the Cape Cod Elderberry Smoothie. Seaver said she uses elderberry syrup made by Coleman’s mother, Amanda.


Seaver said the project started when the pandemic began and she couldn’t go visit Coleman in Maine. She said it was “a good learning experience” for herself and her granddaughter, with the added bonus of helping with food insecurity locally and in Haiti.

“We started sharing letters back and forth,” Seaver said. “(We thought) we could make a cookbook up for just the family (or) we could also self-publish a cookbook on Amazon.”

“We learned about the whole process of how you put a book together,” she added. “It was fun to do it.”

Coleman said the whole process of creating the cookbook took about two months. She said her favorite part was taking the pictures of each item.

“I just want everybody to know that … it’s a hard time and things can still happen,” she said.

While the book is only being sold online for now, Seaver said she hoped to start selling copies in local farm stores, where ingredients for the recipes can also be found.

For more information on Riley’s Family Cookbook, visit

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