This summer we are having a large family reunion with relatives coming from all across North America. We have all kinds of fun activities planned including a softball tournament, a family wedding dress fashion show, which includes dresses dating back as early as 1914, and a fantastic Ukrainian dinner and old-time polka dance with music by my Uncle Julian and friends. (By the way, my Uncle Julian in the video below is self-taught, doesn’t read music and is amazing!)[youtube http://youtu.be/iuFxaEsXd3A]
I volunteered to put together our family cookbook. It’s going to be a collection of recipes from all the branches of the family tree, and some of these recipes we’ve been making for generations. Some are new and exciting, and some are old and trustworthy, sort of like the people in my family.
I’ve been collecting these recipes for weeks and re-typing them on an online cookbook printer’s website. It’s extremely time-consuming and I find myself logging on to add a recipe whenever I have a free minute or two, and then pulling my hair out a minute or two after that.
I’ve learned a few things in this
maddening exciting process.
1. It’s frustrating to the first-time maker of any recipe if the directions are vague, incorrect, or missing altogether. As my cousin pointed out to me, not everyone knows what “a moderate oven” is, and if she had to guess it would be one in the $500.00 price range.
2. There is a difference between 1 cup sifted flour and 1 cup flour, sifted. Did you realize that? I’ll bet when your great-grandmother wrote down her chocolate cake recipe, in pencil no less, that she knew that. She just never wrote it down, in pencil or otherwise.
3. Butter is NOT interchangeable with margarine. In my humble opinion, there is no planet, star, or solar system in the entire universe of universes where margarine is a viable substitute for butter. Period.
4. Sometimes recipes are over complicated. I’m all for experimenting and finding new ways to do something, but sometimes it’s OK to use the microwave to heat milk, and it’s OK to use a fork to whisk eggs. No need to buy every kitchen appliance ever made just to make mac and cheese, right?
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