I have decided to create a cookbook for my mom. I hope it will feature luxury paper, glossy photographs taken by my husband on his fancy camera, and my mom’s own recipes. I have sneakily been collecting her recipes every time I travel home to Croatia, and I am finally ready to begin this project. I say “sneakily,” but really, I should say “annoyingly,” since my approach has been to write down every meal my mom cooks and ask her for the recipe – and nobody knows why I have suddenly decided I need to write down the same recipe every single time she makes it.
The thing is, my mom doesn’t cook from a recipe. So what she told me was the recipe in summer 2017 may have been somewhat different in 2018. I like this relaxed attitude to cooking (I have inherited it, in fact, being pretty much unable to follow a recipe without making changes), but when I present her with the finished product, I do want to make sure I have it down, and she didn’t forget a step when she first recited it from memory/imagination. I also hope to give a copy of this to my sister, and keep one for myself. I may include a Guest Star section, with recipes from other family members, or from my own household. The cookbook that I will gift my family will be in Croatian; but since I am doing all this work anyway – cooking the meals, photographing them, combining my scribbles into easy-to-read-and-understand (ha! hopefully!) recipes; I thought I may as well make it available in English for anyone else who may be interested in Balkan food. This is the stuff a regular family (at least… well, my family) eats on the daily in Croatia.* Just an FYI: my mom was born in Bosnia, has been living in Croatia since she was a teenager, and her mother was Italian. I think all these influences are apparent her cooking.
Because both my mom and I are the kind of cooks that love to improvise, I titled this blog “Unscripted Kitchen,” because that is what most of my evenings look like: I’m in there, trying to create a meal from what I happen to have in a fridge, or I’m inspired by a picture I saw and want to recreate the meal without seeing the recipe, or I am trying to follow the recipe, but inevitably feel the need to make changes.
*Because I normally visit home in the summer, the recipes I have so far compiled are mostly “summer” recipes. I hope to even it out eventually.