What Do You Bring to the Table?


The best cookbooks bring recipes that enrich your kitchen beyond the ingredients
By Linda Kissam “Food, Wine & Shopping Diva”

BIG BLEND RADIO INTERVIEW: Linda Kissam and Shelley Whizin discuss “What Do You Bring to the Table.” Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Podbean or SoundCloud.

The best cookbooks bring a sense of wonder and awe to the reader. They bring something new into our lives that we can share with self, family, and friends. A new recipe that “works”, in its own right, brings love joy, and fun. The greatest one’s surprise and delight with either a novel approach, a twist on doing things, or a reminder that we are on the right path to success. They tell the stories of how those dishes came to be, and enrich the act of preparing those dishes. This is one of those books…and perhaps you should sit down for the explanation.

A new hybrid cookbook, “What Do You Bring to the Table: A Savory, Sensory and Inspirational Guide to Living a Yummy Delicious Life” by Shelley Whizin brings two concepts together. Cooking, of course, with lots of yummy recipes and amazing photos. The second is “soul diving.” Soul diving is what the author uses as an analogy for life. Approach this cookbook with an open mind and heart and you can expect to have a mind-blowing interaction about life, soul diving, and how that all applies to cooking.

As background, soul diving focuses on the multifaceted dynamics present between the human and the soul. Per the author, soul diving is the art of, “… trading up old un-serving ways paving the way to adopting new ways of thinking and Being. The intention is to, “…find ways to achieve and sustain a sense of joy every day in life, maintain well-being, have calm, and instill a conscientious gratitude for what is. The art of living becomes achieved when each one feels they’re living a more exuberant, fulfilling, and meaningful life, a better sense of everyday joy in living. A LOT of fun must be added to the equation to fulfill your sense of wellbeing.”

In this refreshing and mind intensifying cookbook, the author uses food as an analogy for life. It will inspire you to reflect on what you bring to the table of your own life. Ms. Whizin explains, “Love is the key ingredient to living a happy and joyful life. Remember to bring love into everything you do.”

Think of it this way. What if cooking was more than slinging pots, pans, and forks three times a day? Have you ever thought of meditating before each meal? The author provides a “Happy Mindful Meditation” for each chapter of the book. Yup, mediate first, cook second. When you go to the market do you “ask” which vegetables want to come with you to be in your soup? The author does and it all makes perfect sense when she explains how to get in touch with your own senses to “feel” the dish you are making. Be sure to embrace the “Self-Reflection/Notes” section at the end of each chapter where you indicate how you enjoyed the preparation process, the result, and reactions from family and friends.

Honestly, this a wonderfully quirky cookbook you should try and share with like-minded friends. With chapter titles such as Preparation of Self, Getting into the Deep Dive, Change Your Thoughts, Change your Life, and Living Your Legacy, there’s a lot to swallow – so to speak. I want to stress that the recipes are excellent. Short’ish prep times, manageable ingredient lists, easy to follow directions and knock-out photos guide you to success.

Shelley Whizin, author of “What Do You Bring to the Table: A Savory, Sensory and Inspirational Guide to Living a Yummy Delicious Life” is the founder of The Soul Diving Institute in Sherman Oaks, California. She is also a philanthropist, teacher, speaker, and innovative creator of programs that elevate individuals to increase their Joy Factor© in daily life and living. She guides, coaches, and teaches individuals how to bring love, honor, and dignity into everything they do, including cooking. She uses cooking as the analogy for living a yummy delicious life, which consists of permeating one’s true essences into the preparation of the recipes. She encourages everyone to use their own instincts in cooking so the recipes become their own.

It’s quite the experience. Immerse yourself in the book, enjoy the included recipes and relish in the “yummy delicious life”. Learn more at https://www.shelleywhizin.com/products.

The Shirley Whizin Killer Hershey Chocolate Cake

Serves 8
Prep time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 35 minutes
Total time: 55 minutes

Who doesn’t love chocolate? Chocolate has been lovers’ delight for centuries. This is a foolproof recipe and was passed down from the Whizin side of the family. I’m telling you, no matter what I have done to this recipe, it always comes out DELICIOUS! You’ll see! 

You just can’t kill it!



¼ lb. butter (room temperature)
¾ cup of sugar
4 eggs (room temperature)
1 cup sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Dash of salt
1 lg can Hershey chocolate syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla


Preheat oven at 350 degrees

Cream butter and sugar

Add the eggs

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together, set aside

Add the sifted dry ingredients (on slow speed if using an electric mixer) to wet ingredients with a can of Hershey chocolate syrup, vanilla, and mix until creamy

Pour into a 9” greased and floured Pyrex dish and bake at 350 for 35 minutes.

More time may be necessary depending on how wet you want the cake.

When cool, frost with favorite icing. This will keep moist if refrigerated (Note: you cannot kill this cake, even if you burn it. I’m telling you it will taste delicious no matter what).


Linda Kissam ‘Food, Wine & Shopping Diva’ is a professional travel, food, and wine writer who specializes in easy, breezy destination stories sharing her favorite things about the places she visits. Visit www.AllInGoodTaste.info 

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About the Author:

Linda Kissam ‘Food, Wine & Shopping Diva’ is a professional travel, food, and wine writer who specializes in easy, breezy destination stories sharing her favorite things about the places she visits.

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