So I’ve spent the last week or so gleaning through all of my recipe files and trying to decide which ones go into the cookbook and which ones don’t. I finally established the following criteria:
Recipes to include:
- Family favorites, like Butterballs and Golabki.
- Recipes I’ve collected since moving out of my parents’ house, like Savory Toasted Cheese, and Potato Latkes, and Broccoli-Cheese casserole.
- Recipes I’ve made up that just turned out really good, like Broccoli and Bacon, and Ham Chowder, and Apple Butter.
- Recipes I’ve re-created from historical manuscripts that are too good to only eat at SCA feasts, such as Fystes of Portingale and Digby Cakes.
- Rarities from Grandma’s recipe box, like homemade soap.
Recipes to exclude:
- Recipes I’ve had since I was fourteen and have never ever cooked, regardless of how good they sound.
- In fact, any recipe that I’ve never cooked myself, or at least eaten, should get excluded (except for the soap recipe referenced above). No matter how good they sound.
- Recipes for things I made once and wrote down but will probably never ever make again (like the eggplant ragout that takes 25 ingredients to make and two pages to describe).
Which is not to say that I won’t keep the above recipes in my collection somewhere, but that they shouldn’t be included in my “Book of Lore”.
The other thing that I’m constantly having to remind myself is that this does not have to be the one-and-only definitive version of this cookbook. I can always “publish” a new version next year with new recipes that I’ve added, or revised versions of old recipes. Heck, if I decide there’s a recipe I don’t really need to have in there after all, I can remove it from future versions.
In addition to culling through the recipes I’ve got, I’ve also decided that I need to add a “notes” section to each one, giving a little of the history of the dish and how I came to be acquainted with it, or some notes on the preparation, or some kind of little story associated with it. For instance, for the potato salad recipe, I want to write up my most striking memory of preparing the dish: being up to my elbows in a dishpan full of the stuff the night before my wedding. Because those things are all part of the “lore” that I’m trying to record.
Finally, I went out and did a little research on self-publishing costs. It looks like I can publish the book on CreateSpace for under $5/copy for perfect bound. However, I’d really rather have spiral bound (so you can open the book and have it lay flat), and for that, it looks like I’m looking at more like $8/copy from Lulu. Guess we’ll have to see how many copies I will end up needing, and how rich I’m feeling post-holidays!