50 for my 50th

This project is the result of a small book I picked up while haunting the cookware section of Dean & Deluca some twenty-odd years ago. A Kipper With My Tea is full of quirky little essays, one of which I became somewhat obsessed with. It’s titled Funeral Cookbooks. In it Alan Davidson talks about a Thai custom “whereby a person composes a small cookbook before her death, so that it can be distributed as a keepsake to the mourners attending the funeral.” Now that I thought is something that I want my family to hand out when I die.

Of course there were a few problems with this plan. For starters the women in my family seem to be very long lived so I’m not likely to depart any time soon. Two is that I really had my heart set on Carol Blinn making this for me, which would be A) somewhat pricey and B) might run into timing issues as my and Carol’s expiration date is still unknown. And three is how does one narrow down a lifetime of recipes into a small cookbook?

About a year ago while I was knitting with my friend Jessica and talking about this idea for the umpteenth time she quipped, “What use is a cookbook of your recipes to me when you’re dead? I’ll probably be dead too! It would be so much better to have your recipes now.” She was right–why wait until I kicked the bucket before sharing my favorite recipes? Instead I would write a cookbook of my fifty favorite recipes and hand it out on my fiftieth birthday.

I came up with a list of recipes, talked to Carol about publishing the book (more on that later), but being the supreme procrastinator that I am I never quite got around to actually finalizing the list of recipes, testing them or getting them all snug between the covers of a small cookbook. So here we are in 2011. I turn 50 next week so I’ve had to tweak my plans to make this happen in my fiftieth year rather than on my fiftieth birthday. I’m hoping to blog fifty recipes in fifty weeks (I’d like to squeeze in a week or two of vacation) and before my fifty-first birthday put them all together into a little book. Enjoy!

A Kipper With My Tea


Filed under 50 Recipes

11 responses to “50 for my 50th

  1. lisa

    this is great! i agree–recipes while we’re both alive seems like an excellent adjustment to the tradition. thank you for including me on this journey. can’t wait to get your posts. and a happy happy bday to you!!!

  2. Joanna


    Can’t wait for your ‘poison ivy’ recipe….

  3. shirley thompson

    What a great ,creative idea.
    Enjoy your birthday.
    Aunt Shirley

  4. Claire Whitcomb

    Go girl! This is a great idea.

  5. Dearest Cynthia,

    I kept thinking about you and your upcoming birthday. Now I understand! So if you are going to collect your favorite recipes starting now, I will send you one for a rustic apple tart that I just made. It’s from Ina Garten – and her pastry is made with butter, as usual. The recipe is a keeper. It’s to die for. And I guess we will die from all that butter. Wishing you a sweet and savory birthday!

    • I think Carol that you and I are going to have to live to be one hundred and ninety because we have so many ideas for projects that we want to do! I totally want the recipe for rustic apple tart (and thank you for sending it as I typed this response you mind reader)! I’m going to try to put together all my tried-and-true favorites from the last 50 years for this project. Then of course there will be the new recipes I come across which will be the next delicious chapter. Yum.

  6. Marisa

    What a fabulous idea!! I was just talking about that first chicken recipe you shared with me in high school – I still make it…do u remember 2 parts honey, 1 part mustard, curry….? I look forward to trying them all.


  7. Mom and Dad

    Happy birthday, darling. From Easy-Bake Oven output when you were four or five to scrumptous treats now, we’re proud of you and always ready to eat when you are cooking.


    Mom and Dad

  8. Isabelle

    Today you are half a century old mom. Happy birthday!

  9. Ellen R

    What a great idea for your birthday and for all of us! Happy blogging!

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