Tuesday, December 11, 2007

On the Topic of Cookbooks

Cookbooks. I love to buy them, read them, even take pictures of them. But now there is something new on the horizon: the prospect of making a cookbook.

So yesterday, while browsing through some of my favorite blogs, I happened across this post on 101 Cookbooks talking about how to create your own cookbook. As it happens this is something I have been thinking about for a few years, and the project has become increasingly ambitious as I have discovered websites like Blurb, and now Tastebook, that allow you to put together a pretty snazzy-looking product. My plan has been to create a cookbook out of my Grandmother Walker's collection of recipes. There is a battered notebook in which all of her favorite recipes were written down, or clipped and pasted. I've only gotten a glimpse of the notebook's contents a couple of times, but as I recall her famous lasagna is in there, as is the recipe for African bobotie clipped from the New York Times sometime back in the 1970s, along with countless other dishes. My Aunt Diti and Uncle Bill in Tennessee have the notebook and treat it with reverence, but I'm willing to bet that a nice fresh copy (with no pages falling out, and in entirely legible script) would be well-received by all the members of the family who remember Grandmother's tasty (and quite gourmet) cooking. Then Aunt Diti and Uncle Bill can add the original book to the treasure trove of family heirlooms my grandmother left behind (like the fragment of rope used by some Texas bandits to kidnap and tie up Great-great Grandpa Uriah Lott).

The question is, when will I have a chance to copy all those recipes and get started on this project? Naturally the recipes will have to be cooked (for testing purposes). Photos of the dishes will have to be taken (for cookbook aesthetics). Anecdotes from family members may need to be gathered (for that personal touch). And that's only the first of the cookbooks I would love to make. The second will be "Serbian Recipes from the Govedarica Kitchens"--recipes from my other grandmother and great aunts! I had better get moving. I'm thinking I need to make a visit to Tennessee...

4 comments:

amy said...

How exciting!!! I think this is a fantastic idea, and I can't wait to see the final product! It will be a treasured family heirloom for the whole family this way! Also, I am available and willing for any kind of recipe taste testing! And, you can blog about the process on here...!

Ashkon said...

This will be the talk of the family.

Chelly said...

I think it's a great idea. I took all the old negatives and pictures and slides and had them all digitized to work on a scrapbook somewhat like this. There are lots of templates to use to make your recipe pages too. You could then have it printed on Shutterfly (that's where I get my books done). It's a great gift and a truly unique way of remembering.

Addie said...

I LOVE the idea of your cookbook. I know Diti and Bill will be delighted by a visit down in Tennessee and they may hold the original cookbook hostage just to get you to visit them since you bring such great joy and energy everywhere you go. The lasagna is my favorite! And then top it off with desert: Knock 'em dead pie. That was another favorite. I only hope to be there when you are trying out some of the recipes and photographing them... I'll be happy to be your taste tester!