Greetings of the season! Perhaps a few of you remember when I took advantage of this wonderful Blogher site to teach myself to write for the Internet by blogging all the recipes in my little cookbook of family favorites—all part of my larger adventure in self-publishing, which has just come to a personal party point for me because I’ve finally finished putting the rest of my literature up there on the cybershelf.
And so in keeping with this festive spirit, today I hope to enhance your holiday as well by giving away free eBook codes to anyone who might be looking for something to read, while those specifically interested in the cookbook will find it full of beginner tips that I originally put in there to make sure my kids could learn how to crank out the chow they love after I was gone.
I think it happened because I once saw my aunt so despondent when she simply could not reproduce some of things that my grandmother used to treat us with, and so one slow summer about twenty years ago I began writing the cookbook on a playful, preventative whim. Little did I know that the interesting new thing called the Internet would soon make it possible for me to also turn it into an instructive exercise in self-publishing.
And so most of these recipes are merely popular favorites modified to my taste. I usually cut the sugar and fat a little from the traditional, and I watch the salt; but it’s important for readers to remember that I’m not a nutritionist or a professional chef or especially healthy. I’m just somebody who tries to pay attention, not poison the children, and still have some fun with food.
I first learned to cook by watching Grandma whip up amazing things from scratch with no written recipe—using the kind of lard they always made right there on the farm when she was young; and then my mother put her trust in mixes, margarine, and other things that sure seemed like miracles of modern science; after which we got PBS where Julia Child insisted on practiced technique beginning with butter, ending with the finest of fresh ingredients, and enhanced all along the way with just a little bit of wine; while these days I can type in almost any substance known to man and be told by one authority that if I don’t ingest it I’m crazy to toy with something as important as my health, and then another one will tell me that I’m a fool to eat something so obviously toxic....
“What does it all mean?” one of course cries to the sky. Food-wise, confusion reigns!
For instance, during my lifetime well-meaning experts have first insisted that I eat my eggs, then implied that on second thought they’re full of cholesterol, but on the other hand they’re really high in protein and trace nutrients—so much better than filling up on carbs—but then on the other hand....
How to find balance?
Well after all these years of crazy kitchen cut-ups, I now just eat what seems good when I’m hungry; while I’ve cooked from relative scratch whenever possible from the start, since it’s those preservatives that have always been a compromise in my book and always will be. You are what you eat, and—as useful as they are, I’m sure, for certain necessities—I myself would rather not be predominantly made of things unpronounceable that frequently seem to end with the word gum.
Lucky for me, I live in the San Francisco Bay area, and the farmer’s market in the parking lot of the plaza where I teach supplies me every Saturday with astonishing produce and other pure delights that would surely make Grandma exclaim with glee rather than despair over the miracle of technology—making me hopeful that the world of modern cuisine has somehow come full circle.
Because there was a time when I thought that maybe I was part of dying breed of cooks determined to resist the dubious benefits of too-fast food, but these days I’m happily inclined to change my mind as I stand in line with my bulging bag of organic veggies. Balance restored? Let’s hope so.
And so if you’re out there wishing you could make yourself a pizza, perhaps I can help; or if you’re already throwing parties for royalty, maybe you’d still be interested in Grandma’s Chili Sauce recipe or my idea of Chocolate Pie; while here’s some free Smashwords checkout codes for all my eBooks—good until the end of the year—for those who’d care to take a peek.
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