Recently, I was asked about a book I had published in 2009. It didn’t take me too long to realize that that was 10 years ago. That is when all the thoughts of combining recipes with local, historical architecture starting coming forward. There’s a history there, my own personal publishing legacy that I would like to share with you. I remember taking the plunge, wondering if it was a crazy idea from a crazed artist. But the idea worked and here I am, 15 years later, still creating books of recipes and.....local historical architecture.
My first recipe book was about bed and breakfasts and Illinois wineries. I had been working with these two groups in the 1990s. At that time there were only 18 wineries in Illinois. Most of them were in Southern Ilinois, with others scattered all over the state. The winery in Nauvoo, the granddaddy of them, all was a client and I had a good working relationship with the Baxters. Baxter’s Vineyard was the oldest continuing winery in the state. They survived the Prohibition Era by selling grapes. When Prohibition was over, they went back into the wine business.
For about ten years, I was one of their wine judges for Baxters Amatuer Wine Makers Contest. There were six judges.... my wife Rita, Fred and Verna Kruse, and Randy and Arlis Bell. We would spend Friday judging the wine and Saturday exploring the countryside, staying in a bed and breakfast over the weekend. We had great fun. Sometimes we had over 100 bottles of the nicest wine in the Midwest to taste and judge. Not a bad job.
Around that same time, Rita and I, along with six other couples started a dining club. It was to be a themed potluck-type affair with food that we would prepare using recipes from other countries. We would plan a whole years’ worth of gatherings with dates, countries, and hosts. Then on the selected Saturday night we would all show up, eat wonderful meals, and enjoy wine from the selected country. What’s not to like about that?
We were all emersed in recipes from around the world. And so as I traveled around the state working on various projects, the idea of using recipes in my work sort of flowed into my brain. My research on recipe books was scant. I mentioned it to a few friends and several had the same responce, which was.......”I don’t really use the recipes in the books that much, I just like reading them!” With those words, my historical architecture recipe books were born. If folks like to buy them just to read the recipes, why not a little historical information with my drawing of architecture and.......recipes!!!!
Next story....Recipes from Illinois Bed and Breakfasts and Wineries (2006)