Cooking up support to fight avoidable blindness

Written by Admin, published on July 26, 2013 Donate Today

Our 50th anniversary has brought many welcome surprises – letters filled with memories from long-time donors are one of our favourites. One surprise that has us particularly excited is from Dr. Ben Gullison’s great niece Iris Quinn, a long-time Operation Eyesight supporter.

Iris Quinn and Fred Henderson

Iris is an accomplished stage and film actor, director, voice-over artist and acting coach. And just this year, she added cookbook author to her resume. We were gratified to learn that she is donating a percentage of the proceeds of the sale of the first 1000 cookbooks to Operation Eyesight!

We sat down with Iris and her husband Fred when they were in Calgary last month for our 50th anniversary celebration and annual general meeting.

OE: Can you share a favourite memory of your great uncle?

Iris: One of my earliest memories is when Dr. Ben and [his wife] Evlyn visited from India. I was about five years old and they gave me exotic Indian jewelry. I was thrilled! I remember listening in awe to Uncle Ben’s stories from India – a place so far and different from Nova Scotia. Even then, I think I had an appreciation for who he was and what he did.

OE: So, why a cookbook?

Fred: Iris is a terrific cook! When we host dinner parties, our guests are always asking for her recipes… so there was great demand.

Iris: I’ve always wanted to write a cookbook. And I recently celebrated a milestone birthday, which always makes you a bit reflective, I think. As I thought about it, I realized I wanted to leave a legacy. So I combined the two by donating part of the proceeds to Operation Eyesight and it’s a dream come true. It feels great!

OE: Tell us a little bit about the cookbook?

Iris: I really wanted my cookbook to be suitable for both beginners and foodies, so the recipes are totally accessible to almost anyone. I think being a teacher gives me a unique perspective in laying out clear recipe instructions, so the book as a whole will lead the home chef from appetizer to dessert. I hope it will be a delicious and fun exploration! I believe in cooking just a few times a week and making your freezer your new best friend. My recipes have suggestions for re-inventing meals so that leftovers are new and exciting. I am hoping it will be a great resource for newlyweds, students, and busy working folks. I have included 200 of my favourite and most requested recipes.

OE: What’s your most requested recipe?

Fred: That would have to be Iris’ macaroon recipe. It’s the most versatile and very simple. The perfect sweet treat! (See page 192 in Salivation for the recipe.)

OE: We can’t thank you enough! How do people order the cookbook?

Iris: It’s really easy. Just go to the cookbook page on and follow the instructions. There’s even a sample recipe for goat cheese and sun-dried tomato pita crisps. Another favourite!

We’re thrilled to be the beneficiaries of this unique fundraiser. Thank you, Iris and Fred!