Needle Tart

If I'm not knitting or sewing something, I must be cooking something!

Saturday, April 03, 2010

The Cookbook

Sorry to be away so long, let's just say I'm in the Slough of Despond and leave it at that.

Now, on to The Cookbook. Over the last 30 or so years I have cooked a lot of meals: Seders, Break Fasts, Passover ("Please don't let me starve, Mom" Week), tea after services (called an Oneg which I think is Hebrew for sweet), and the regular day-to-day meals. Even though The Husband (he's retired, it was cook or clean something, he choose cooking) is doing the day-to-day stuff now, I still do most of the baking and all the special meals.
You may remember that we have a lot of cookbooks. A thousand or so at last count. How, you may ask, do I remember where the recipe I want is? Glad you asked. The following is an explanation of the method that has worked for me over the last 30 years, you might call it my life's work. At the side here, you can see two black binders. I used to have only one, but that one sort of fell apart and The Husband suggested that I use binders with metal corners. The thinner one has all the Jewish holiday recipes, like Passover granola, Carrot soup, Passover chocolate cake roll, Challah and so forth. The thicker one has any recipe that has been deemed "binder worthy". When the boys were young I used to tell them, "If there is a fire (spit,spit,spit) don't grab Lego, don't grab quilts, don't grab yarn, GRAB THE COOKBOOK!! Everything else is replaceable."

Now you may say to yourself, the cookbook is replaceable, too. Not so fast sparky. Here you see the original photocopy of my Passover granola recipe. It is actually taped to a new page because it has been used so much. You can see the handwritten reminders and "adjustments" I have added over the years. This year I made five (count 'em) five different types of granola based on this start. Chocolate granola (Still needs work, not chocolaty enough), Hawaiian Granola (this was the only type for many years, then I got bored), Olive oil granola (not good with milk, bu The Husband wants to try it with yogurt), Persian granola (pomegranate juice in the sauce and cherries and apricots for the fruit) and New England granola (ES's favorite and one I really like, dried cranberries, dried blueberries, dried pears, and Maple sugar in the sauce). Now, if I lost the cookbook, I'm not sure I could reproduce all that. Save the cookbook.
So, just how does all this work? I start with the clippings The Husband and I save and file them according to type, breads, desserts, dinners, meatless, sauces, drinks, and so on. If the recipe is in a magazine we either cut up the magazine and proceed to the file or put in a post-it flag and come back to the recipe later (same with cookbook recipes). On days when I am bored with all the recipes in the binder, I troll through the files and look for something interesting. If the recipe makes it into the cookbook, we tape in a clipped recipe or photocopy the magazine or cookbook and then add them to The Cookbook. (and sometimes I am inspired by the recipe to try to change it up a little. I just made White Chocolate Semifreddo. Not bad, but oo, oo, What if I used Chambord in place of the Amaretto and Semi sweet chocolate in place of the white chocolate? Something to try.....)
Well, I was going to add a picture to show you my files, but apparently blogger needs a nap.
I write on the copy or the page with the recipe where it came from, and any family notes, like :
"Grandma Roberts used to make these for Sam"
"Birthday cake for Bonnie"
"Grandma Esther made this for Passover"
"Reesie insists I rename these Reesie's muffins"
So this is not just some ole cookbook. It's my inspiration, my memories and really good meals ahead. What's the one thing you would save in a fire? (Assuming all people and animals were safe)
PS Mom used to say, "It's a really good cookbook if you can suck the pages and get an idea of how the recipe tastes."



Anonymous YSS said...

While I know this might seem like an unbelievably huge (and expensive) task, I'd recommend you make at least one photocopied version at some point, at the very least to store in a second location. It wouldn't always be up to date, necessarily, but at least you'd have a version if, G-d forbid, something happened to the original.

PS: I loved all the granola you sent me! One thing, though, the olive oil granola was a little too salty for me, but I'm not sure why that was.

8:30 PM  
Blogger NeedleTart said...

The olive oil granola specifically calls for extra salt. Something about the sweet/salt ratio. I guess that's why TH says it should be eaten with yogurt.

7:49 AM  
Anonymous YSS said...

Perhaps...I mean, it was still delicious, even if I did find it a little too salty! :)

5:20 PM  
Anonymous Holly said...

Or - for less than the cost of photo copies - scan the whole thing - page by page into a PDF.

DvDs are cheap - make a couple of copies. Turn them into presents for friends and families.

(now don't ask me if I am that organized....

2:24 AM  
Blogger Amy Lane said...

Dude... that's an AWESOME cookbook-- and a lovely story... (I. Must. Pirate. That. Idea... I will... I swear... it's coming... I'm gonna have a character DO that...)

And I loved the (spit spit spit)... yup... we knock on wood... superstition keeps you sane!

1:19 PM  

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