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‘Rock Recipes 3,’ from St. John’s based blogger with international fanbase on bookshelves now

Since 2007, Barry Parsons has gained a massive online following for his recipes, not just in his home of Newfoundland and Labrador, but in America and Europe as well. His fifth book of recipes, 'Rock Recipes 3' was published by Breakwater Books on Nov. 9. — Submitted
Since 2007, Barry Parsons has gained a massive online following for his recipes, not just in his home of Newfoundland and Labrador, but in America and Europe as well. His fifth book of recipes, 'Rock Recipes 3' was published by Breakwater Books on Nov. 9. — Submitted

Nearly every day for as long as Olivia Parsons can remember, her father Barry was in the kitchen, cooking and writing down his recipes.

“In the fall and winter when the days get shorter and the sun sets around 4:30, the dinner that we would be eating that night was being photographed because it was going to be a recipe that would go up on the blog,” she said. “I very distinctly remember my little brother with this giant gold reflector just not being able to see over it and just kind of planting it in front of him.”

Since starting in 2007, her father’s blog, called Rock Recipes, has become so popular it now reaches between 50,000 and 75,000 page views almost every day.

And in December of 2019, the blog set a personal best with 2.5 million page views that month.

Barry says, at a certain point — 2013, to be exact — he couldn’t afford to stay at his job with Memorial University anymore.

“We were making exponentially more outside of work than before,” Barry said. “It just became a no-brainer to leave all that behind and put all my eggs in this basket.”

And he can confidently say at this stage, with his fifth recipe book, “Rock Recipes 3,” fresh out of the oven as of Nov. 9, leaving his job to follow his passion was the right decision.

Barry, who lives in St. John’s, said he attributes the popularity of his blog to his philosophy of real food recipes for real people.

“Blogging from a rural location, a lot of times there’s no difference between somebody in a small-town north of Austin, Texas than there is for somebody out in Gander Bay,” he said. “They have the same challenges sometimes in terms of using regular ingredients and not having access to other things.”

His recipes are universal, rather than specific to Newfoundland and Labrador, he says.

Since "Rock Recipes 2," he’s posted many new recipes to his blog. This new book serves as a greatest hits, but there are recipes written specifically for it as well.

"The hits keep on coming," he said. "This is the best of the last five years."

And it’s still a family affair, Olivia says.

“My brother and I both work for Rock Recipes behind the scenes,” she said. “With this uptick in traffic, it’s a lot of work for Dad.”

Her brother is tall enough to see over the reflector now, but they mostly help with things like social media, newsletters and editing photos.

“Because we grew up with it, we really understand the tone and the voice,” she said.

What makes Rock Recipes popular is that, at its core, it’s a community, Olivia says.

“It really brings people together,” she said.

“Rock Recipes 3” is published by Breakwater Books and available for purchase online and in stores now.

Andrew Waterman reports on East Coast culture.

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