“My hope is that you’ll each continue to share your kitchens with your children and they with theirs. It’s in this special room that time slows down and stories and tradition flow; it’s here that the common thread that weaves us all together is spun; it’s here that each part of our family heritage comes together into a magnificent and unique feast of life.”
Jeanine Lively (my mother), Our Family Cookbook, 2004
Hello friends, I’m still here! You may be wondering what happened since my last post a year ago, when I announced the exciting news that I was deep in production of The Berkeley Bowl Cookbook. The truth is that so many MAJOR changes have happened since then, so I’m just going to use this post to share the three “big ones” with you so that I can get going again with the real purpose of this blog: food. (Disclaimer: these are listed in chronological order, not their order of importance.)
It’s finished! I’m bubbling over with excitement to announce that the release date has been set for April 17th, 2018, just in time for the bounty of spring. After almost two years of fun but grueling recipe development, writing, testing, and editing, the cookbook is now in the hands of the publishing company, Berkeley’s own Parallax Press, who are sending it to be bound and printed in time for the release date. With stunning photographs by Erin Scott, the final product has completely exceeded my wildest dreams. I can’t wait to show you some sneak peaks in the coming posts. I apologize for having to put a hold on this blog during this time — I simply couldn’t keep up with it while writing the cookbook and working full-time. But I’m back now and ready to get blogging again. I’ve missed you!
I am expecting my first child… the day after tomorrow! Thankfully, I was pretty much done with recipe development when I found myself pregnant, otherwise The Berkeley Bowl Cookbook would contain far too many recipes centered around Rice Krispies and Cheez-Its, the only things I could eat during the first few months. Instead, I was able to use that time to write the text of the book, including the history and story behind the Berkeley Bowl Market itself and its inspirational owners, Glenn and Diane Yasuda. I will definitely introduce you to this little baby when she decides to arrive, hopefully soon!
As if the previous two updates weren’t enough for 2017, by far the biggest of the events that have occurred is the passing of my mother just one month ago. Mom was the guiding light in my life, the person who taught me how to live, love, and cook. While she won’t ever meet my little girl, or see my finished and bound cookbook, she is deeply enmeshed in the spirit of both. I am grateful for the countless hours we spent shelling beans, de-spining cactus, fiddling with tempura batter proportions, and experimenting with all sorts of crazy ingredients in the process of developing the recipes for this cookbook. She brought such a spirit of exploration and fun to the kitchen, so it’s no wonder why I set out on this Berkeley Bowl Cookbook adventure. Like everything I have attempted in my life, she was beside me supporting me every step of the way, including testing almost every one of the 100 recipes in order to help make my life easier.
In these weeks following her death, I have been pouring over every card, letter, text, photo, journal entry, or piece of communication that she left behind in an attempt to cling to her a little longer. One thing that has brought me a lot of comfort is re-reading the two cookbooks that she made, which help me recognize that my mom still is and will always be a part of me. I feel so proud to follow in her footsteps, channeling this shared passion to explore, create and nurture others through food. I’d like to close this post with an excerpt from the introduction my mom wrote for the cookbook she had printed for our family (a compilation of hundreds of family recipes and many of her own invention) because it’s a reflection of who she is, her love for me and my sister, and her strong desire to pass on the tradition of bringing family together through spending time together in the kitchen and around the table.
I will remember you always and love you eternally, Mom.
“Food has always been an important part of my life. I feel most grounded with a chef’s knife in my hand, the ingredients passing through my fingers and the aromas filling the air, my brain unwinding and settling on the project at hand and the people I love to cook for.
My motivation for making this cookbook was my daughters, Catherine and Laura, and the children of my contemporaries. It is with them that I wish to share this legacy of family and food. As my daughters have matured and become more active in our kitchen, we find ourselves adding more and more of our favorites to this collection. Hopefully this will serve as a springboard and will inspire you to add more of your own family’s favorites to this growing work.
In conclusion, this family cookbook was an excuse to discover, reminisce, share and record for posterity the foods and memories that hold us together. My hope is that you’ll each continue to share your kitchens with your children and they with theirs. It’s in this special room that time slows down and stories and tradition flow; it’s here that the common thread that weaves us all together is spun; it’s here that each part of our family heritage comes together into a magnificent and unique feast of life.”