What inspired you to write your book?
I’ve been an avid baker and canner for many years, and I was delighted to find the handwritten notebook of recipes that my Grandma started in 1926. I wanted to honor her as well as explore new recipes so I went through the book and typed all the recipes I could salvage. I spent last Christmas experimenting with one of the fruitcake recipes. It was fantastic! I believe this cookbook has real value to offer other cooks because of the simplicity of ingredients in most of the vintage recipes. They are frugal and delicious.
About your Book:
Regain the wisdom and creativity of our ancestors who were experts at whipping up something special with tight budgets and limited supplies. You may not be able to find the “10-cent bag of marshmallows” anymore, but modern cooks can still benefit from this collection of 1920s vintage recipes collected by my late Grandmother. In 2012 I discovered her handwritten recipe notebook from 1926 and developed this cookbook.
While updating the directions for modern cooks, I maintained the vintage charm of her original notes. Generations ago people did not have a bunch of fancy ingredients, but they still came up with a variety of yummy quick breads, cakes, desserts, pies, salads, main dishes, canning recipes, and fruitcakes. This cookbook has a special emphasis on fruitcakes. I share my mood-altering experiences with her fruitcake recipes. Bakers who love the holidays should definitely add a classic Christmas fruitcake to their list. All jokes aside, fruitcake deserves a place among elite holiday desserts.
And people into urban farming and homesteading can harvest delicious value from these vintage recipes meant to use up all the dried fruit and nuts you can pick. Plus find a variety of classic uses for all the tomatoes, cucumbers, and apples you can grow with marvelous canning recipes for sauces, pickles, and chutneys.
My Grandma’s name was Edna Oldershaw Irwin and her recipes reflect the character of the food in 1920s Canada where she grew up in Chatham, Ontario. After months of effort, I’ve prepared 64 of her recipes for publication. I no longer have my Grandma, but I still have her cookbook and now you can read it too.
Cuisine Style or Food Genre
Sample Recipe or Food Advice
1/4 cup flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/8 t. salt
1/2 T. fat (lard or shortening)
1 T. milk
1 small apple
1 T. sugar
Mix first five ingredients as for tea biscuits.* Roll into thin sheet. Wipe, core, and pare apple and place on dough and fill center with mixed sugar and cinnamon. Draw dough up around apple to cover. Bake in 425 degree F oven until apple is tender.
* I did not find any directions for tea biscuits in Grandma’s notes, but I can explain how to make biscuits. Sift together the dry ingredients. Then us a pastry cutter to cut in the fat until the mix is crumbly with most pieces about the size of peas. Then stir in the milk with a fork to create a soft dough. The dough should not be overly sticky. Put the dough on a floured surface and roll into thin sheet.
This recipe can easily be scaled up to make more than one dumpling. As it is you can use it as a single serving dessert recipe.
What formats are your books in
How do you see writing a food/cookbook as different from writing other genres of books?
I have to make sure I get the technical details right. I had to draw on my personal experience in the kitchen to make the directions understandable to other people.
Advice to someone that is thinking about or currently working on a food book or cookbook
Make sure your copyediting produces consistency throughout the book in regards to abbreviations for measurements and cooking temperatures and so forth. Mix in some personal style and opinion in the book but keep the directions for the actual food focused and clear.
How did you decide how to publish your book and where is it published through:
I started publishing fiction and nonfiction in 2005. My Grandma’s Vintage Recipes is available directly at my website, at Amazon, at Smashwords, and coming soon to other retailers.
Tracy Falbe earned a journalism degree in 2000 from California State University, Chico. While living in Chico, she became very interested in urban agriculture and food preservation. She taught herself home canning and became addicted to the quality of the food and the sense of self reliance. In 2007 she was invited to give a seminar on home canning at the Chico Grange. She then later appeared as a home canning expert on the podcast More Hip Than Hippie.
Additionally from 2007 to 2009 she competed in the Silver Dollar Fair, a regional exhibition in Chico, California. She earned third, second, and first place ribbons in various baking categories including pies, cookies, cakes, and bread.
Falbe was born and raised in Michigan and has returned to her home state. She currently lives in Battle Creek where she grows food in her yard and writes novels.