Sunday, January 4, 2015

The following was written in 2009 - I was new to blogging and somehow it never got past the draft stage.  After everything in quotes, I have written "the rest of the story"  ( or maybe it's the "wrest" of the story?. . .

"OK - So I'm going to 'build' a family recipe book. (period).

I sent emails yesterday to folks whom I'm hoping will contribute.

In 1966, my parents launched an Italian Food Takeout restaurant named 'Berto's' (a nickname from my dad's New Mexico childhood) in Santa Barbara, California (Did I tell you that I NEVER abbreviate my Home State's name because I am so in love with both the place and the sounds of the name?). In any case, I don't exactly know how long Berto's was open, because I was in the process of getting married and moving to Louisiana, and when I move, I sort of dull down emotionally for an indeterminate period of time and am, therefore, more than usually disconnected with what is going on in the everyday world.

In any case, my dad, Albert(o), spent weeks leading up to the launch of the restaurant developing recipes for the delectable food they would prepare and sell. I particularly remember him trying many iterations of pizza dough - it had to be JUST SO - not too thick, not too thin, not at all doughy, and just crisp enough - and it DID turn out to be pretty great! The end result was that Daddy and Mother had some pretty fantastic tasting stuff by the time the restaurant opened. The recipes were so good, in fact, that they had to hide them from the restaurant supply salesman everytime he came.

At some point, on an afternoon when I'm sure the restaurant was not open, they sat down and hand-wrote the recipes to send to me (Mother/Bette did most of the writing), and I've had them for all these years, unsuspecting that I was the only one who had possession of them (I later discovered that this was a fallacy.)  So, I decided it was time to share them. . .

Realizing that I am Albert's daughter (the older of two) and that I have inherited his love of detail and process, you'll understand that I couldn't just sit down, type them up and email them to everyone - after all - these recipes are part of our heritage!

When you combine these recipes with those that come from the Louisiana side of the family, and a few more favorites for good measure - we could, and will, have a pretty nice collection.

Now enter my lovely Austin daughter Stacy who just happens to work at a scrapbooking store - and remembering that I have TONS of inventory leftover (as I fear many do from being direct marketing scrapbooking supplies sellers), we decided that, rather than do this digitally (which would be ever so much easier), we should use the supplies on hand and create something memorable."

It is now 2014.  The cook book has been created and distributed.  It would never have been completed without the support of my Sister Ann (who it turned out contributed stories and recipes from here Swedish heritage and Christmases past.)  Getting recipes was the easy part.  Deciding the "how" should have taken longer,  and making the decision to hand scrap book was probably the worst decision I could have made.  Decisions I made at the start that I should have not (and why I should not have):

  1. To hand scrap book (making 8 books is daunting and there were too many other things I could/should/would have been doing - Fortunately a friend gave me a premade cookbook into which one is supposed to record recipes.  It was plastic coated and very colorful - even had magnates to affix recipes to the 'frige, so I scrambled to acquire 7 more and was very lucky to do so.)
  2. That each of the recipes should be in a plastic cover so it didn't get soiled from use. (Putting the recipes in clear covers meant pockets had to be created to hold the clear covered cards.  This required "pockets" in which to put them.  At first I though we could make them (ha!) We could, but that would have required handmaking thousands!  Then I decided to use Paper CD holders - even found them in colors to go along with the empty cookbooks we ultimately used.  Although the end result is functional, it is certainly not as attractive as I had visualized when I started the project.  And I've discovered that soiled-from-someone-you-love-having-used-them-recipe-cards can be a real treasure!)
  3. Not to use an on-line publishing source.  The cookbook would have been completed faster, looked nicer, required loads less time and been infinitely more shareable with cousins who have since asked.  The future can only tell whether I will re-do the cookbook in either digital or on-line format - but it is not a priority TODAY!
One little "PS" - Many wonderful people are gifts in my family life - and I consider them, well FAMILY.  I do not use "in-law" to differentiate them as it IS to me an unnecessary descriptive addition.

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