Guy Fieri backs Ferndale Museum cookbook – Times-Standard

After Wendy Crisp Lestina retired from the Ferndale Museum in July 2021, she remained with the nonprofit, volunteering many hours to complete work on a fundraising cookbook project.

The recently released book – written and edited by Lestina and featuring celebrity chef and Ferndale native Guy Fieri – is called “Sweet Memories of Ferndale: Celebrating with Food & Love”. It presents the history of the city from the 1960s to the 1980s with first-hand accounts, many photos and many recipes.

“I created it, wrote most of it, and edited it, but the concept and the way it came together is way beyond what I could have imagined, and it ‘is a powerful book full of great stories told in many voices,’ said Lestina, who served as the museum’s media, marketing and memberships manager before retiring to focus on the hospitality business, Airbnb and Hipcamp, which she runs with her husband, John.

To celebrate the release of the new cookbook, Fieri will be on hand for a book signing on Saturday, April 9 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Ferndale Museum, 515 Shaw Ave. in Ferndale. There is no charge to attend the event, although book sales are encouraged, Lestina noted.

Humboldt County celebrity chef Guy Fieri talks to young fans during a visit to Ferndale in 2013. (Heather Shelton/The Times-Standard)

“Sweet Memories of Ferndale: Celebrating with Food & Love” costs $40 plus sales tax and can be purchased at the Ferndale Museum as well as Ring’s Drug Store, 362 Main St. in Ferndale, and online at All proceeds from cookbook sales benefit the museum, which delves into the history of Ferndale and the River Eel Valley.

Lestina’s love for Ferndale dates back to childhood. She graduated from Ferndale High School in 1961 and went to college at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. After a long career in the magazine business that took her to Los Angeles and New York, she returned to the Victorian Village in 1993 after the death of her aunt, Hazel Waldner, who, with her husband George, had been an editor /publisher of the Ferndale Enterprise for 55 years.

“I inherited the Waldners’ house west of Ferndale,” Lestina said.

In 1994, Lestina sold a book to Putnam, now Penguin, and earned enough money to take a year off.

“I spent the year as a volunteer writing a cookbook, ‘Old Favorites from Ferndale: The Museum Cookbook.’ The cookbook covered the decades of the 1930s, 40s and 50s in the Eel River Valley, taking stories from the Enterprise and adding recipes from the people named in the stories.The book is still in print and sold at the museum. In the introduction to the new cookbook, I refer to this older cookbook as the prequel to the current cookbook.

Wendy Crisp Lestina was head of media, marketing and memberships at the Ferndale Museum before retiring in 2021. She recently wrote and edited a cookbook as a fundraiser for the non-profit museum. (Courtesy of Wendy Crisp Lestina)

The more than 300 pages “Sweet Memories of Ferndale: Celebrating with Food & Love” feature recipes ranging from prayer breakfast burritos, foolproof fudge and beer bean danish cookies, tamale pie and Gaga’s Turkey Stuffing; historical accounts by people such as Helen Vatcher, Lynn McCulloch, Don Andersen, Nadene Bass, Dayton Titus, Pete Giacomini, Earl Ambrosini Jr., Diane Renner and Susan Diehl McCarthy and a wealth of vintage photographs of places and people in the eel Valley of the river.

Fieri striker launches cookbook content.

“Guy Fieri’s dad, Jim Ferry, called me – we’re good acquaintances – and said if I didn’t have anyone else in mind and if I thought it was appropriate, Guy would like to write the preface to the book. I would never have had the nerve to ask him. Of course, I was very happy. It would be a great success for the museum.

In the front, Fieri says her hometown of Ferndale had a “huge impact” on her life.

“Some of my earliest food memories come from our great city, and I truly believe that without being raised in such a fun, awesome, and unique community, I wouldn’t have the same perspective on food that I have today. “, said Fieri. said.

For more information on the Ferndale Museum, go to

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