Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Recipe Book is DONE!

I started the friends and family recipe book on January 25th 2010. The book was completed September 20, 2012. Two years and eight months is complete! Wow, what a journey this was. It started as a simple gesture to capture my mother's recipes and turned into something much greater. The recipe book now has over 240 recipes from friends and family all over the country. Some of these recipes are new ones found in cookbooks and some are recipes passed down from generation to generation.

Before this endeavor, I could barely make eggs, "cooking' meant grilled cheese and my post living at home diet turned into fast-food, and pasta. Recipes seemed hard, confusing and not worth the time. The recipe book has changed all of that.

At first it was hard; my knife wielding skills were terrible (they have advanced to mediocre) and I had no sense of the food. No sense of flavors, textures and cooking times. I could not improvise and followed directions to a T. During the recipe book I probably made over 100 calls to people asking what the heck I was suppose to do (mainly my mother). Humorous memories include the time I thought 1/2 can milk meant they sold cans of milk and not just to use the can I just opened and fill it with milk. The time I called to ask what the heck Oleo was, I thought it was some sort of Spanish Frito. It was hard to learn the ways of cooking, it took me hours to locate some of these ingredients in the grocery store. But I can say, that this project has changed all of that.

I am now very comfortable in the kitchen. I LOVE to cook! I love to try new things, new foods, follow recipes, improvise and learn from those around me. I CAN cook. My mistakes are less, my recovery time faster and my dishes more advanced. And in the mist of all that discovery, I still want to come home from a hard day and smell my mother's chili cooking on the stove, the familiar scent of her chicken nuggets baking, or the calm aroma of the banana bread. Classic recipes I have had since I was a child that will never cease to make their way into my kitchen. Christmas morning is always her Christmas Casserole and I hope it will always be. Family traditions are important and the food we eat is a big part of tradition. It reminds us that in a world of constant change and struggle, there are things that will always be there. The love of family.

I am excited to learn more. I have recently decided to learn how to can from my mom. We have started on peach jam, peaches and apple pie in a jar. There is an infinite amount of food knowledge and we can access it from every person we know, we just have to be willing to try.

Thank you to everyone for your support in this process. Thank you for giving up your recipes, taking my confused calls, eating all this food and believing that I could put together something great. Thank you to my mom Jan, my sister Ali and my boyfriend Jeff for spending countless hours editing the pages so it wasn't printed with 2 'gloves' of garlic.

This really has been an eye-opening project and I hope the recipe book provides you with inspiration and comfort.

Love, Jenna

**Email me at if you would like a PDF of the recipe book.

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