Twenty-five years ago I had the idea of writing a fruit cookbook for the orchard. It became a daunting project. I would work on it diligently for a time, feel overwhelmed, stick it in a box under the bed where it would stay for another year or two until I decided that I really should finish it.
I started it before I’d ever touched a computer. I still have the handwritten recipes, and then the recipes that I transferred to my first computer; a bulky laptop that ran on DOS. It was inherited from my son Matt when he upgraded.
When I retired I again returned to the book only to get frustrated and put it aside once more. Three winters ago I found myself in Portugal needing a project. I resurrected the cookbook and have worked on it the past three winters. It is nearly finished.
Making sure that measurements are correct and that recipes I’ve gathered over the years are actually as good as I remember means I’ve been doing a lot of baking. This morning I have seven different pie crusts in my refrigerator waiting to be rolled out and sampled for texture and flavor. I’ve used them all in the past but want to compare and make sure they are as I remember them. I will roll out and bake a small portion of each for tasting. The rest will go in the freezer for future pies.
This week I have Chocolate Pavlova, Blackberry Surprise, and Raspberry-Almond Bars to make. Putting together a cookbook isn’t quite like putting together a recipe. If I’m baking for the family and don’t have the right ingredient, I can substitute, or use a different sized pan, or experiment with some idea that I think will improve it. Writing it down for someone else to follow means being exact in amounts and detailed in directions.
It is time to leave the computer and get into the kitchen.