Saturday, April 20, 2013
Why I wrote my Hard Times cookbooks
I started writing years ago as a newspaper journalist. I have written a lot of things in my time, but the hardest thing I ever personally wrote was a cookbook. And that is because it was so personal and something I wanted to do to help other people. And I wanted to help people who were struggling to feed their families, not back then, when I was trying to feed my own children, but right now, when people are trying to do the same.
I have read hundreds of cookbooks and loved to find a new one and I also have shared recipes with people all my life.
But writing something is not like writing something our on a piece of stationary and handing it to a friend. It is so much harder to write a cookbook.
But the main thing is it made me remember Hard Times something no one would willingly want to do. I can remember working in a factory one summer while I was waiting to go into a university full time that next year. I saw people tape their fingers because of blisters due to repetitive work and they went on to work with these sore hands all day, sometimes for twelve hours straight.
I have seen people go out to the cotton fields with these old gloves and the fingers were cut out of them so they could pick the cotton, a stickery bush for sure and there was blood everywhere. I know some old people who used to brag, "Well, I have sure had it hard, but I never picked cotton." I can see why they say that when I saw all that cotton being picked.
I talked to a woman who can remember hog killing season, and the neighbors helped each other out and killed the hogs, dressed them out (which means cleaning them) and then canned the meat for the winter. I myself have canned pork. Most people don't can meat nowadays, it is just too high risk and dangerous. I feel the same.
But I can things today. It matters what you have done when you start to write anything, I believe. I had a journalism teacher in high school who told us, "Write what you know."
A smart alec of the class said, "What if we don't know anything."
Back then, we thought we knew everything, but now, we have learned differently.
I wrote the Hard Times Cookbooks (two little books both together now in one at Amazon.com,) because I knew something about stretching the food dollar. I still know something about this.
So I just wrote down things I wanted to share, like I was sharing it with my daughter or son or a dear friend. Because that is what I wanted to do. I wanted to help people learn some things which might do them good.
Anyway times are not getting any better, I would think. The economy is still going bad, many people have had their hours cut, or can't find work at all.
So those Hard Times cookbooks, well, I am very glad I shared them. They are not fancy, they are plain, but they still tell the hard, plain truth about cooking.