A cookbook? You say you want me to write... a cookbook? For 20 years I have been preparing myself to write my great novel that will enlighten the world, and you want me to write a cookbook?
Now, wait a minute! Cookbooks can espouse philosophy just as much as a novel, can't they? Maybe someone who reads this cookbook will have a sudden aha! experience and go off and change the world!
So here's Cookbook Philosophy 101. Drum roll, please........ I believe that life is always an adventure. Every day presents new opportunities to us that we can choose to ignore or explore. My philosophy is, "Explore it all!" - every experience makes my life fuller, gives me more confidence, and increases my joy and enthusiasm for more.
So how does that apply to this cookbook? I guess it applies because I've had to redefine the word "adventure" for myself. I had always thought of my adventures as being my trek to Nepal, running marathons, and snow camping in Desolation Wilderness. But I have been realizing the past few years that "adventures" can take many forms - like opening a business, or learning how to compromise in a marriage (one of my most challenging adventures!), teaching psychology, organizing a fund raiser for my favorite charity, or learning how to be a mom.
You see, I was born into this perfect little family in Seattle, where I led a very sheltered and secure life. I was afraid of everything - dogs, men, friends not liking me, challenges that I might not be able to handle - basically, I was afraid of life, especially I was afraid I might fail at life, so maybe I should just stick with the things I know (books and academic life) and let others explore the rest.
As it happened, I met some interesting people along the way who changed my outlook on life. Susan and Teedee convinced me to leave UCLA and go to school at UC Berkeley....in 1967...and sheltered Barbara became a wild hippie, a radical protester! That was probably my first real adventure into life. When I graduated, penniless, I took the first job offered to me - working for the IRS as a tax auditor for a female supervisor who was an ex-Marine sergeant! That adventure lasted a year and a half. I met a mountain man, who whisked me up to Tahoe, and taught me to backpack and cross-country ski, and to be a mountain mama! That was 25 years ago, and I'm not nearly finished with that adventure. (Tahoe, that is ; the mountain man is long gone).
When I met Marty, each of us owned our own business. We actually met at a Chamber of Commerce meeting. After we got married, we talked of opening a business together. I sold my ski and backpack shop just before our son Jake was born in 1984, and decided I would "help" Marty run his printing business. Marty decided my "help" was a little too overpowering - maybe I could find something else to do? But in 1994, when we found our beautiful property on the water, we figured it was time to work together on a business venture. This was the biggest risk either one of us had ever taken. It was scary, but, at the same time, very exciting. Another of life's adventures!
We wanted the Shore House to be the Best Little Bed and Breakfast you could find! So we set to work, remodeling, redecorating, and figuring out great ways to pamper our guests! Since Marty and I both had Jewish mothers, we immediately thought of food as the key to pampering! As I was the "cookie monster", I pulled out all my favorite cookie recipes. Marty started out as the breakfast chef, and we played around with many "experiments" until we developed what our guests seem to think is a fabulous collection of fine dining ideas for breakfast.
When I won first place in the American Bed and Breakfast contest Cook Off in 1997, everyone was stunned (most stunned was me). I thought "I am not a chef - how could I win a cooking contest?". All my friends and acquaintances began to look at me in a new light - I began to be seen as a chef, not a mountain mama, and I began to resent it. I wanted to be known as an adventurer, an outdoors woman, not as a cute little house wifey type cook. I was afraid when the newspapers came to take my picture, that they would make me wear a frilly apron.
But after a while, I started questioning myself - I started thinking about my philosophy of life and I started looking at my COOKING AS AN ADVENTURE, TOO! Since owning the Shore House, it has been a lot of fun looking through recipes, getting ideas, figuring out do we want to do a buffet or sit down breakfast, continental or full breakfast, tablecloths or no, cloth or paper napkins, fruit as a garnish or a separate course? I began to realize that we had been very creative in our decision-making for our breakfasts and baking everyday, and we did have a flair for throwing this all together, and making it a wonderful adventure for ourselves, our staff, and our guests.
So now, I consider it a joyous adventure to put down on paper all the fun recipes we have collected over the years to make cooking and eating at the Shore House another one of the great adventures of life! Please enjoy! (And watch out next year for the Great American Novel!)