I never expected to be a book author but now I am one! Here's how it happened:
Last fall I took a class to learn InDesign, a page layout program. This is the kind of program that graphic designers use to lay out pages for printing or for use on the web. I already knew QuarkXPress. It used to be the gold standard for page layout and design but Adobe made so many improvement to InDesign that it's now the program to know and use. I also know Pagemaker, but it is no longer supported and print shops don't want to see Pagemaker files. It was fun learning the new program, but a lot of work, and it was only the first of a number of classes to learn different aspects of the program. I'm hoping to take the second section starting next month...that's the one where we produce a book.
I guess I'm sometimes impatient because I couldn't wait until August to create a book. When I visited my Mom a year ago May, I noticed that the family cookbook that I had put together many years ago was in tatters. I offered to make her another one. The old version was simply a series of recipes typewritten and 'illustrated' with cutouts of black and white drawings from our childhood times. Now I have the skills to create a cookbook that is professional in layout and illustrated with full color photos. All that time learning how to photograph food for this blog paid off. If you look at the first letter of the last name of the author and spell it out you'll understand my blogging name, too.
My siblings will be getting copies as early Christmas gifts, but I found out when I showed off the cookbook at the gym that friends, acquaintances, and even total strangers are willing to buy this collection of mid-century recipes. If you would like a copy for yourself, here is the link to Blurb, the company that publishes the book. They make it easy to buy one copy or as many as you want, and they ship it right to you.
Since it was originally planned to just be a family book, having it for sale has me a bit bemused. I'm not going to get rich selling this cookbook, but it does feel good to be able to share good memories and classic recipes that have stood the test of time. Will the food of my childhood appeal to you? I do hope so! There are lots of basic recipes for things like Fried Chicken (cooked on the stove top and finished in the oven for crispy skin), Mac and Cheese, Chocolate Cake and many more comfort food classics. There are also Southern recipes like Hush Puppies, Ambrosia, Hoppin' John, Lane Cake and Carolina Cole Slaw. There is even a wonderful recipe for my Aunt May's Soda Bread (Irish) and for Cabbage Rolls in Tomato Sauce and Beef Stroganoff (Northern European), plus that all-time favorite Tuna Noodle Casserole. In truth most of these recipes don't reflect the way I cook now, but it is fun to make them now and then and savor the comfortable feelings and memories they bring.
To give you an idea of the kind of recipes that are in the book, let me give you one. Most of the recipe give specific amounts and serving but a few, like this one, are open-ended. This is one of my favorites and a big favorite of my Dad's. If you have had creamed corn out of the can, you are in for a big surprise. This dish is nothing like that kind of corn.
Do take the time to try this recipe if you are living where corn is in season now. If you use a small amount of bacon grease to keep it from sticking in the pan it is even tastier...but then almost anything tastes better with bacon. If that doesn't appeal to you, use a non-stick pan. A little corn oil or cooking spray will keep the mass moving as it thickens.
I would love to hear back from you about your take on this recipe, or on any of the recipes in the book.
Husk fresh corn (Silver Queen, a sweet white variety, became a favorite in later years). Slit kernels with a sharp knife, top to bottom. Scrape the pulp and juice from the kernels (Dad got a gadget in recent years that does the scraping; before that he used the back of the knife. Both work to scrape out as much pulp and juice as possible).
Allow about 1 large ear of corn per person, with an extra ear if you are serving more than four people.