I am in the throws of bringing a new baby to life and it feels odd. Those of you who read this know that I have finally started something I have talked about for years. Fifteen years ago it was first in the form of a cookbook, compiling all those recipes I took from my mom and then all the others that I collected from a plethora of sources and experiences. I wanted to compile it and then give it to my children as they embarked on their life journey. Somehow though, it was always more than just about the passing on of recipes. I wanted to include the stories; the memories, some of mine, some of my mother’s, and even some of theirs. I wanted to chronicle life; average, normal, wonderful life in the traditions and flavors of the food passed down and passed on.
Over the years, I assembled it all into two large binders (I need a third and fourth now). Recipes put into protective plastic sheets that could be wiped off cause we all know I am a messy cook! I talked about putting it all together into something that resembled a clever homemade cookbook, but life just always got away from me. I was busy being a mom (adding to the already large quantity of recipes) so the idea sat in the proofer for a few years.
When I met Hawley in 2008, I started to pull the batch of ideas out to knead and shape. I remember clearly the day I first came to visit her in Milwaukee. She was making lunch for Tom, Bill and I and she pulled out her recipes. Here came several large black three-ring binders with all the recipes in plastic sheets to protect them. I laughed. We really were sisters separated at birth! I knew she was an essential key ingredient. You see, she too had collected and kept all of her recipes as well, and had wonderful insights and stories to tell about each one of them. That is our key ingredient. It hasn’t ever been just about the food. The food was, is, and will always be, the vehicle to the memory, the tradition, and the experience with those that we want to share with.
|Hawley, Jenni, Tom and Bill|
Only a few years ago did I realize that my mother showed her love for us by sharing her passion with us. She loved food. Not just the eating of the food, but the preparation, the exploration, and the skill. She loved gardening, growing her own food. She knew where it came from. She loved processing her own food. Can I tell you the number of quarts of tomatoes I personally canned prior to the age of 17! Or the chickens plucked and dressed; or the zucchini and tomatoes, the strawberry freezer jam, peach freezer jam, peach/blueberry pie mix, corn, beans, and so on and so on. She made bread every week until we were mostly out of the house and she was forever collecting recipes and then changing them. It was her passion. We share our passions with those we love and she certainly shared hers with her family and countless others.
|Hawley and Jenni|
The Plucky Housewives has now been born. It’s a tiny little infant that is growing quickly. As any new mother, its scary. It is our passion and it does bring joy to our lives. We are telling our stories and memories, making good food and to top it all off, Tom gets to fulfill his passion for photography by volunteering his services as our food photographer. Everything you see has been made by us and photographed by Tom. So, when you are in the neighborhood (especially on a Friday through a Monday, stop by. We have PLENTY of food to share!