Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Timeless Treasures

What started as a quest to find a recipe for chocolate chip peanut butter cookies. Ended up taking 6 months and hundreds of hours of work. And after all that? That recipe ALMOST didn't make the cut!

Back some time around Christmas, Clinton was asking around for a recipe he remembered his grandmother making for Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. No one knew what he was talking about and no one had the recipe.

We got the recipe boxes from Clinton's Aunt Nolie and I sifted through, typed and printed them. The recipes had come from both Nolie and Clinton's grandmother. There were close to 350 of them. I printed out 4 sets of binders to have the family review and mark them, so as to narrow the field. As I passed out the last binder, we asked for pictures of the two deceased women to incorporate in the cookbook. And that's when the 3rd box was found. It had the recipe we had been looking for, among others.

In all, I typed 568 recipes. Most family members were given a chance to look through them and add to them. I took their notes and tallied the votes. And narrowed it down to 82 recipes. Their notes included changes to recipes that had happened over the years, how the recipes came to the family, Uncle George's love of Cheese Whiz pretty much indicated that any recipe with it had come from him.

Clint's cousin Jody came up and we stuffed the pages into the sheet protectors.

We used 1 1/2" binders.

I asked each family member to write a little something about their memories of both Nolie and Rose. Without giving them much to go on, they all came back mentioning unconditional love. I asked Allison of The Displaced Texan to create a few sheets incorporating those blurbs and a few pictures. I gave her very little direction, and very little time, and then bugged her with some tweaks on font size and stuff and she came up with some great pages. Those four pages are at the front of the cookbook.

Followed by the table of contents (alphabetical order) and then the recipes.

We chose two different formats for the paper (we had bought some marbled paper in various colors). One format had a header and footer graphic and the other had a watermark graphic. It worked out perfectly with the recipes for them to be on every other page, so that the longest of the recipes had the watermark, and I was able to put each recipe on one page.

In the front pocket we also included a CD with all the pictures, and all the scrapbook pages, scans of all the hand written recipes and all 568 recipes (typed, although not proof-read - so those that didn't make it into the cookbook probably have typos).

We included a final page thanking everyone for their help with this project and expressing a hope that the cookbooks would find their way into our children and grandchildren's kitchens, so that these two women would be forever remembered.

Clinton worked with a friend to create a cover, the cover includes a picture of Rose (upper left) and a picture of Nolie (lower right) and a faint background watermark of a wine bottle label featuring Rosie the Riveter. You see, Rose Wood, worked for Boeing during WWII. Her picture was featured in some history books, and they have saved the articles which explains that even though she worked as a welder, when they took her picture they thought Rosie the Riveter sounded better.

We held a lunch on Saturday to give out the cookbooks. We made several recipes from them, and everyone loved them.

This project was not that costly - I think in total we spent around $250 for 13 fully made up cookbooks (we probably could have made 16 for the same price given all the stuff we had left over.) It was not hard - typing, editing, proof-reading stuffing pages. It was time consuming - thanks to the nature of my job, I was able to type the recipes at work while I waited for other things I had going on. I spent roughly 100 hours typing, scanning, etc. I don't think I could have come up with the pages that Allison did on my own, so I'm glad that I decided to out-source that portion. And I know I wouldn't have been able to do the cover on my own - my photoshop skills are just not that great. But all in all, I think it was worth it and I hope the finished product will be useful to those who get to use it.


kbreints said...

WHAT AND AMAZING PROJECT! I bet your family was so thankful! I know that is something that I would treasure forever!!

nonsoccermom said...

Wow, that is so incredibly awesome! What an amazing keepsake.

Carol said...

Wow, what a great project...and a wonderful way to keep traditions of the family alive.

Thanks for sharing!

Allison said...

Looks like it turned out really well! Glad I could help out :)

oh, and Rosie the Riveter?? Really? That is so cool!

Valerie said...

Amazing. Thanks for saving another little piece of history. Too often that kind of thing goes undocumented.

You really should look into having it published. Rosie the Riveter would help it sell!

Aunt Becky said...

that's a true labor of love, right there.

bernthis said...

any of those for sale? no? well then could you at least send me a sample of those cookies?