Dear Gentle Readers,
I was asked where the recipes in Echo of Heartbreak came from. They actually are my family recipes. Mine are easy to identify. They're easy. My mother's recipes were always a mystery to us because she never wrote them down. She learned to cook from her mother, who also never wrote them down. Those two were natural born cooks and everything they made was wonderful. Cooking was a big part of their lives. They were always cooking, cleaning up after cooking, or getting things ready to cook.
I went to college. I got a full-time job teaching. I went to graduate school. I could live on coffee and protein bars. I refused to make the commitment to all that cooking stuff. I didn't get great joy from a home-cooked meal or a tidy home until later in life. Now I understand what my mother and grandmother meant when they said cooking is an art.
For Christmas 2005, I wanted to make a book of my mother's recipes for my family members while my mom was still alive and able to tell me how to make our family favorites. I added photos of all of us, big occasions and small, and made copies for everybody.
Getting the recipes out of my mother was a chore verging on torture. Even at 90, she wasn't willing to share them. It took many months. And I had to test the recipes because someones she would give them to me wrong.
So, Christmas 2005 come along and each of my family members received this very large tome of recipes, copies of my parents' wedding photos, grandparent photos and coming to Ellis Island papers, kids pictures, prom photos, wedding snaps. All the pages were in clear plastic sleeves in case they were messy cooks like me.
Did they like it? NO. They would have rather had socks! The family cookbook with mother's secret recipes and family photos and historical memorabilia was a dismal thud.
Mom died the following March. In the passing years, the cookbook has come into a slightly better light, still not the object of delight I had intended.
My family cookbook sits on the desk in the kitchen, our nuclear family photo on the cover. I enjoy looking at it and going through the pages, seeing the old photos of days gone by. And I DO make some of the recipes. Occasionally.