Collecting and Refining the Recipes for My Book

Last week, I wrote about how Float House Family Favourites came to be published. It began as a small Christmas gift version and I knew there were a lot more recipes I could include. Recipes I’d used my whole life.

When Alberta school children were sent home for the last two months of the school year in 2020 to learn remotely, my three grandchildren responded well. They sat at their home computers for school which lasted from 9 am to noon. Once school was completed they were free to do other things around their farm. They regularly participated in preparing part of the family meals. For at least four months they were guided by their parents as they learned to cook. Many times they would use my biscuit mix recipe as a base for other recipes or for making pancakes.

When COVID-19 hit us all, it eliminated many of my social responsibilities and community events. When I completed work on my friend Margaret’s Finding Freedom book, I started assembling my other every-day recipes. It was fun sorting through a lifetime collection and those of others in our family.

Early on I came to realize the book should use both imperial and metric measures. I had created a completely metric foods text when I was teaching that won recognition as the first Canadian metric text book. What I didn’t know, was which type of measurement should be listed first. I needed to find the best format.

That’s when I appealed to a team of professional cooks and recipe book writers I’d met at a writer’s conference in Ontario. These professionals called, The Cooking Ladies, offered advice from their experience, which put me on the right path. We decided putting metric first, followed by imperial measurements, was best. A writer friend in Vancouver contributed valuable recipe testing.

Once the format was decided it was easier to choose which recipes and photographs to include. Finally, the big day came when I had the manuscript ready to present to my book designer. It was a very busy time for her and it felt like a very long wait for the first proof to be ready.

Eventually the big day arrived; I reviewed the proof, made a few changes and once completed, ordered 52 copies from Island Blue. For the next two weeks I supplied friends who really wanted copies and others whom I wanted to have them.

I could see how quickly my stock was disappearing so I ordered up another print run. However, I ordered too soon. My professional reviewer alerted me to some mistakes in ingredient measures. The only thing I could do at that stage was prepare a page of corrections to insert at the beginning of the book. So, I have made the corrections this way and also sent corrections to my designer. The next print run will be correct.

Should you like to obtain a copy of Float House Family Favourites, you can find it at Melinda’s Biscotti & Coffee House in North Saanich. You can also purchase it from my website www.myrtlesiebert.com for $22.00 (delivered locally) Copies are also available from my daughter in Langley, my son in Nanaimo and a friend in Campbell River. Contact me for more information.