Monday, December 27, 2010

Every time an old person dies it is as if a library has burnt down.
— African proverb

I first heard this quote used in relation to Alzheimer disease a few weeks ago, and it has stuck with me since. It captures one aspect of the disease — certain priceless history, lost forever. But unfortunately Alzheimer's is so much worse than that. I've come to realize this as I've watched my grandmother live with it for the past few years.

But rather than dwell on sad thoughts this holiday season, I preserved a tiny part of what is left of a library of recipes, both classic and contemporary, in cookbook form to give as gifts to family members. And, I am not alone in this — lots of cooks are being remembered through their recipes. (For once a New York Times trend I can get behind.)

I loved the idea of making a cookbook of my grandmother's handwritten recipes from the minute I thought of it, and luckily I found software that made the process incredibly simple. 

The book was made with my scanner (of course) and the Blurb Bookify™ online bookmaking tool — the best and most affordable system I've used. (And that means a lot coming from a publishing geek who has put together more than her share of photobooks over the years.) I haven't found another product with the level of functionality or user-friendly interface that Blurb offers, and the print quality of the finished books is excellent.

Let me know what you think of the book, and if you decide to make one of your own.




Sunday, December 12, 2010

This week at the grocery store...

I got the the uncomfortable feeling that Galen Weston has been reading my diary.

You see, the new President's Choice™ holiday line is out and they really hit it out of the park. The highlights:

Vodka beet smoked salmon: The flavor is really subtle, so think of it as good smoked salmon in a vibrant magenta hue. More style than substance for sure, but I love novelty.

Macarons!: these are sold in the freezer section and should be kept frozen until 20 minutes before they are ready to serve. (Macarons have a shelf life of about 2 days, so this is brilliant and necessary. Fresh macarons all year long!) If you like macarons you wont be disappointed by these — they taste pretty authentic. My favourite flavours are the vanilla and the mocha.

The standout of the holiday line is the Red Velvet cheesecake. It's a hollowed out red velvet cake sitting atop a chocolate wafer crumb crust, filled with New York-style cheese cake and topped with cream cheese icing. I know it sounds like there's a lot going on, but trust me, it works. And the deceptively small looking cake can feed an army.

Before you think I've started vying for a shot at being the next PC spokesman, (which would be fruitless, because they'll never dump Galen) I'll try to balance this post with a not so favorable PC review.

It's a word of caution really: Just because you can make cheese souffles from a bag of frozen pellets...

...doesn't mean it's a good idea. (Give the PC Dine-In Tonight Emmental Cheese SoufflĂ©™ a pass.)

Yes, it's been a long hard few weeks of eating packaged food. I'm eager to get back to cooking.