Tastes Great: Where to Buy?

Last week my wife, Fran, wanted to try out my recipe for fruit tarts (makes 65).  After they were made, she realized that she left out a couple of ingredients in the fillings (prune and apricot).  She decided that 65 cookies were way too many to try to eat despite the mistake, so she took some to the gym (where she has a dance class) and to school to share.  Despite her error, the tarts were a big hit as many people complimented her on the great taste.

One woman in particular asked about them on the following day, and Fran gave her a cookbook brochure.  On Monday the same lady asked Fran where did she buy these delicious cookies? Fran explained that she made them from the recipe, but qualified her statement with “but I forgot some of the ingredients.”  The woman was quite disappointed that she could not buy these delicious treats in town, despite having read the brochure.  When Fran told me about her conversation, I had to smile.  These cookies, along with the oatmeal raisin cookies, were my best wholesale cookies at the bakery.  Fran has decided that she will make them again soon, but will pay close attention next time to get the recipe just right!

Almost finished…Family History

I am finally finishing the family history after four years of writing on and off (more off :-p).  I wrote it for several reasons. My mother, and to some degree, my grandmother Spiegler, had scrupulously saved all of these historical artifacts: newspaper articles, letters, and photographs.  I sort of felt that even though I wanted to throw all of this stuff away, I needed to write it as a book that should be shared with other people both inside and outside of the family.

The stories are not about genealogy.  Rather, it is about my great-grandparents who started a general store in Des Plaines and how the family ran it as a department store for 90 years. The family not only ran the store but were very involved in civic and business organizations like the Elks Club, the Lions Club, and the Chamber of Commerce.  They sat on the board of directors of the town’s three banks.

In the end, the story is not about my family but about the people who worked at the store, some for a long time, the customers, and the town of Des Plaines. The story is set in the history of the whole country for almost a century.  It sort of describes an era of life in a small town.

Making Cookies with Grandma

Our granddaughters (ages 4-1/2 and 2-1/2) were visiting with us for the holidays. I had the older of the two help me make some lieblings as they are no-bake cookies and easy to make. She watched as I put the ingredients together. “Grandma, I don’t like peanut butter,” she said as I measured it out. “I don’t like raisins either.” She had no opinion about honey or tahini, but she perked up when she saw the carob powder, mistaking it for chocolate. When it was added, she smelled the aroma of the mixture saying, “Ahh! That smells so good!” We rolled the balls of cookies with Allan complimenting her on her perfect-sized balls, while “Grandma’s are too big”. We put them into the refrigerator for the night.
The next morning both girls were curious about the cookies, but Ny wanted to help distribute them, not eat them. I could barely entice her to taste it, as she reluctantly touched her tongue to the smallest of morsels. (She remembered the peanut butter and raisins.) However, her sister had no qualms about trying one of them. “Yum! Grandma, these are so good!” My thoughts exactly!

Welcome to 2018!

Happy New Year, everyone!  It is time to catch up after an almost two-month hiatus.  If you haven’t guessed by now, my wife, Fran, is the technology person in the home.  Since she was busy with music programs and preparing for various members of our family coming to visit over a three week period, there were no posts.  A lot has been going on since you last heard from me (us).

I have entered two cookbook contests: the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) in the “First Book: Julia Child Award” category, which is the first cookbook by a writer who has not previously authored or coauthored a food or beverage related book.  The second is the James Beard Book Awards.  I had originally entered Clark Street Whole Foods Baking in the “Health and Special Diets” category, but I received an email from the committee stating that they moved it to the “Baking and Desserts” category after careful review.  Both of these contests had between 300-500 submissions last year, so the competition is fierce.

But–the entry process was not without its tense moments.  It seems that the six books needed for the James Beard contest never made it to their destination according to the tracking service by the post office.  It was a good thing that Fran had been checking.  A search request was filed on November 22 and noted by the USPS.  We waited until the week before the deadline of December 15, then sent six more books by FedEx, which did make it with a few days to spare.  The post office did send an email on December 21 telling us that the package has not been recovered but every effort is being made to locate it.  Fran thinks that the books were delivered to an outfit in Michigan since “new” cookbooks were being sold on Ebay a few weeks ago–but that is her theory, not a fact (but probably true).

Until next time…