Blogger: Wendy Lawton
Location: Books & Such Central Valley Office
Yesterday Janet talked about the importance of infusing your personality into your writing– even if we’re talking about cookbooks. I couldn’t agree more.
The cookbook I can’t do without at Christmastime is a three-ring binder that my mother made for us during the last decade of her life. It has all the family favorites along with bits of wit and wisdom. She even took photos of some of her creations, like our much-anticipated annual gingerbread house. Mom had a word processor and used her two finger method to type all this out for her children and grandchildren. To say we treasure this cookbook is an understatement.
I’ve taken one of the recipes from the book to share with you. It’s the recipe for Rocky Road Candy. My mother inherited this recipe from her mother-in-law, my grandmother. As a young woman in the early decades of the last century she was a chocolate dipper at Blum’s in San Francisco. Fancy chocolate dippers are the ones who dip the chocolates creating the distinctive swirl on the top that tells exactly what filling is inside. (Did you know you don’t have to bite your chocolate to find out? You simply read the chocolate swirl on the top of a fine candy.) My grandmother never lost her enthusiasm for making candy. Every Christmas she made Rocky Road. When she was gone, my mother took over. Each person in the family would get a tin of Rocky Road at Christmas. It didn’t hurt that by that time Keith and I owned a thirty acre almond orchard. We upped the almond quantity in the recipe. This is the second Christmas my mother’s been gone and it’s the second Christmas I’ve made the Rocky Road. We’ve simplified it over the years (no longer making our own chocolate) but it still tastes as good.
Here’s what you need for a 9 x 13 pan of Rocky Road:
- 5- 4.25 Oz. Hersheys Milk Chocolate bars
- 5- 4.25 Oz. Hersheys Chocolate & Almond bars
- A handful of chopped almonds
- A bag of marshmallows
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler stirring occasionally. Make sure not to overcook. You want the chocolate shiny and silky.
Line the baking dish with parchment or waxed paper. One by one dip the marshmallows into the melted chocolate and place close together on the waxed paper.
When the pan is filled sprinkle the extra almonds over the top, shaking the pan gently to work them into the crevices.
Pour the remaining melted chocolate over the top of the marshmallows, using a spatula to spread it. Shake the pan once more to make sure the chocolate seeps into all the crevices. Let cool. Refrigerate for a couple of hours to help set before cutting.
Cut into squares, cutting through the middle of each marshmallow. If you have an electric knife, it makes the job easier.
Store in a cool place.
So what does this have to do with writing or the business of being an agent? Nothing. And Everything. My mother created a book for us that will never be seen outside the family but it is a book that speaks to who we are and how we lived. Not all books are meant to be published.
In our quest to be published we have to remember to do the kind of writing that won’t be published but may mean far more than our books. Maybe it’s creating a scrapbook, keeping a journal, maintaining a Baby Book, writing Christmas letters, writing an article for the church newsletter, creating lessons for a Sunday School class, writing letters to elderly family members or… or… or…
What things have you written that will never be published?