It was 10 years ago this summer, that my Mom and I compiled the first edition of this cookbook. I was home from my first year of college and was stuck up at the house without much to do. I would be moving into my first apartment in a few months, and for the first time I would have my very own kitchen and would be in charge of fixing my own meals. Suddenly I realized, that I would need to collect all our family recipes to make the best use out of it. I had actually begun compiling the cookbook in high school on our old 486 computer, but it never really materialized into anything. But that summer, I picked up where I left off, this time with a little bit more capable computer, and “The Chicken and the Egg: A Family Cookbook” came into being.
The first edition contained 370 recipes, primarily from my Mom and Maternal Grandmother. It was inspired by my Mom’s own handwritten family cookbook that her mother made for her during a period of separation. Many of these recipes had been passed down through the family for generations, including one recipe brought over from Germany in 1870. To these we added favorite recipes from hand written note cards from both sides of the family, from friends, coworkers, magazine clippings, trusted sources such as Betty Crocker’s original 1950 cookbook, Pillsbury, Better Homes and Gardens, The Joy of Cooking, and many more. And occasionally original creations turned out so well they made it here too.
I made hard copies in large binders for myself, my Mom and my brothers. Since then I have only given out copies to my very closest friends. To my friend Cara, for her wedding. And to my college friends Joyce and Patricia one Christmas. I have had many requests for recipes, and I have been more than happy to give them out, but I realized it would be nice to have a central place they could go to get the recipes themselves, so I transitioned the cookbook to the internet in 2009. It was a crude website, but it did what it needed to do. But after having been introduced to a very nice web hosting site, I decided I would go all out and make a real website. Though it wasn’t planned, I began building that website in Spring/Summer of 2011, 10 years after I gathered together the first cookbook.
In this new edition, I have added stories about who and where these recipes come from and other memories attached to them. For me, collecting recipes is my way of preserving my fondest memories and my family history. Each time a recreate a dish, I remember those good times with my friends. Or I imagine my Great Grandma Calla making pies. My Grandmother told me that Grandma Calla always thought she made better pies than cakes. When I learned that, I felt an instant connection to her, though I never met her, as I have always felt the same way. Life is about change, and to be honest, I’ve never been good with change. Our lives evolve and so do the people in them, but by collecting favorite recipes from them, I hold on to a piece of them that I can keep with me always.
Since 2000, the cookbook had grown from 370 recipes to 597, and I realized that it would be a great time for a 10th Anniversary Edition to come out in print. This summer also marks the departure of my very dear friend and partner in crime in the Shacklett Lab, Delandy. She is off to pursue her dream of going to Medical School. I am so happy for her, but will miss her terribly. Trying to figure out something special as a going away gift, I decided, since all my other closest friends had a hard copy, that the very first print copy of this 10th Anniversary Cookbook should go to her.
It has been a labor of love putting this all together, but I have immensely enjoyed collecting all of these memories. Thank you to all my friends and family who have contributed. And may you enjoy them as much as we do! ~ April Ferre (Summer 2011)