I am not a food blogger. I do post recipes that I make on occasion. I should be a food blogger, from what I have seen they can make some good money just by tweeking other peoples work and some fancy pictures. I am not a photographer either. I do have a passion for the kitchen and the résumé to show I have a good idea of what I’m doing.
I grew up in the kitchen, helping mom with whatever was to be made for the day. I learned a lot watching her and grandma over the years. I served my time waiting tables; something I think everyone should have to do. It will give some perspective as to why things are not always as perfect as one would expect and just how greedy people can be. After graduation I went off to culinary school. Received my degree and started cooking in a couple small bars. From there I started in a bakery. At first it was my job to do the packaging, I then moved to cake decorator and soon after started a pastry chef apprenticeship. During this time I continued to further my education by taking pastry classes and attending conventions in Minneapolis, MN. When it was all said and done I earned my Journeyman Pastry Chef title (which means nothing in most smaller towns in Minnesota and North Dakota). I grew tired of the mandatory changes that were being imposed- the use of premade cakes and cookies, box mix cakes and bars, buckets of processed icing. I knew it was time to go. From there I started my own bakery, The Patisserie On Fourth, in downtown Bismarck, ND.
At the age of 21 I was a business owner. It was a wonderful, humbling, trying and educational experience. We can get into that later if you’re really interested. I worked an average of 60 hours a week, baking, cleaning, accounting, the whole nine yards (even had a cot set up in the office over the Christmas season and for Downtown Street Fair)When the time felt right I decided to move on again. I sold the equipment and became a cook at The Toasted Frog of Bismarck, ND. It is great fine dining, martini bar and grill. During which I continued to bake and sell at the local farmers market. As time moves us, it was again time for me to move. The last move was back to northern Minnesota with my family, to our little farm where we are today. (and began working at the local telephone company, bet ya’ didn’t see that one coming. I didn’t either, but I’m thankful for the job.)
I continue to bake for the occasional wedding cake order and things of the sort. It’s a good way to “stay in shape”. Years ago I had dreamed of writing a cookbook and just never seemed to have the time or know where to start. At the bakery the recipes were made in too large of batches to try to put those into use. Finally on the farm I have been able to do some baking. Let’s be honest I’ve been doing more baking than any one household would ever find necessary. My husband has been a good support over the years and continues to be. I set my goal of the first cookbook done in one year.
It is finally finished! One year’s worth of baking like crazy all wrapped up into one nicely bound book (or ebook if you desire). It was a long process, I learned a few things and the finished product has turned out very nice. Over 70 recipes, a combination of breads, cakes, cookies, pies and more.
In writing a cookbook, one can not simply throw some recipes on a page and call it good. Each recipe must be tried multiple times, fixed when they don’t work and tried again. Then a picture should be taken because people like pictures these days. If you forget to take a picture and the cake gets eaten, the recipe must be made yet again. Unlike a lot of recipes found on-line, the recipes you set to print should be your own, not a copy and paste job, or copy and change a couple ingredients. I understand there are only so many ways to make something like Angel Food Cake, but for the majority it should be an original. If it’s not than should be made clear too. I did put a couple in my book that were versions of something old and something borrowed, I made sure to let you know which they were. (One was an amazing cookie recipe from http://Loneprairie.net. She also turned my sketch into the graphic design for the Patisserie’s logo years earlier.)
As for what I learned through this process, well here goes…
Measuring ALL the ingredients (including vanilla extract) can be hard to remember when the habit is “just add until it looks right”.
Remembering to use a timer is another challenge. I know it’s done when I can smell it or when it looks done. That is not an acceptable form of time for some people I guess.
Disposing of the multitude of baked goods is a job all in itself. Thank God we have family, friends and coworkers that like to eat. (I still have a couple cakes and some cookies in the freezer if anyone is interested.)
I have a very hard time leaving recipes out (book two on the horizon) and not giving the endless variations. There are so many possibilities to one recipe I could very easily overwhelm the reader with them.
I am very thankful for a long napping little boy and that he was still up for taking 2 a day. (One for mama to bake, the other for mama to nap in the later months.)
If you don’t watch little boys closely while baking the kitchen can look like this… or worse.
I now wash plasticware before and after I use it. On the other hand, by age one he knew exactly what to do with a rolling pin. (and proceeded to roll cheerios into the rugs. Yay!)
I make a valiant effort to add cinnamon and vanilla to almost everything. Sometimes it stays, others… I don’t know what I was thinking.
The simple “drag and drop” software to put a book together is a whole new challenge. It also comes with reformatting everything as you go.
Self-publishing is not a very profitable way to go about book selling; after print cost, commissions and shipping, you can break just above even if your lucky. Hey, it could be a stepping stone to something bigger. I’m just thrilled to have written one of my own.
After all that I am so glad I accomplished such a feat and began book 2 while I was waiting to get this one back from printing to proof!
Versions available to date are: Softcover, Hardcover, ebook in ipad format and pfd. Click the picture above or the link below to get your copy!
Do check out http://Loneprairie.net. She really has some amazing talent to share and hire! The Lone Prairie Magazine is always a good read, her paintings are wonderful, and she does free-lance writing if your in need.