Recipe Book Spawned by Lockdown

Lockdown life spawns a recipe book

What have I been doing during our latest lockdown? Nothing too exciting, as is the point of said lockdown. Advised to stay home and socially distance ourselves from loved ones and not so loved ones alike, there is not much else to do. Grocery shopping has become an event on my calendar. Although a warm vacation would have been great, I have found other things to keep me busy. When all the local gardens are frozen solid and covered in snow, the part of my brain focusing on my landscaping/gardening business switches over to freelance writing. I have a few projects on the go in that department, specifically, a recipe book containing childhood recipes originating from my maternal grandmother at the farmhouse I have mentioned a few times.

Social Media to the Rescue

Social media, namely Facebook, has been a great tool to rekindle connections with my many cousins on that side of my family. I believe there are at least thirty of us first cousins and many more second and third cousins! This adventure is going to create quite a collaborative cookbook.

I volunteered to spearhead the project, appointing myself as chief collator, sorter, editor etc. Many of these recipes were handwritten (of course no one had any other method of transcription back in those days) by my Grandmother, back in the 1950s. Her short forms, terminology, and unique cursive writing often have me guessing.

Publishing Options for Recipe Book

So, when my eldest granddaughter is busy with her online school classes, or during any other spare time I find (who doesn’t have spare time these days??) I am typing furiously, trying to get the recipes ready for publishing.

I have chosen Lulu, a self-publishing, online platform for this recipe book where copies are only printed as they are ordered. That way I do not have to pay anything in advance, worry about deliveries, or store unsold copies. When I am done, I simply send a link to my extended family members and they can order copies as they wish.

Proceeds Donated

All proceeds from the sale of this recipe book will be donated to the Pleasant Valley Cemetery, located just down the road from the family farmhouse, where many generations of this family are laid to rest.

Family reunion at Robert Moses State Park in New York

Recently I attended a Carton family reunion at Robert Moses State Park along the St Lawrence River, near Massena in northern New York.  The reunion was a get together for the Carton clan whose descendants settled in that area two hundred years ago in 1816.

I am not a Carton, but since my father’s sister married a Carton, their three sons are my first cousins. Unfortunately, one of these brothers JERROLD CARTON, a very talented artist, passed away much too young in 2009.  These Carton cousins grew up in Massena New York, while I and my siblings grew up just across the St Lawrence River (and border) in Cornwall Ontario.

Add in these three cousins’  children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, aunts, and uncles as well as their other cousins (and there are lots of them), and you have a large clan of Carton relatives.  This extended family organizes a reunion every four years in honor of their Carton descendants.

Carton clan members and their extended families come from all over the USA and Canada. Each reunion seems to get more adventurous and detailed than the previous one.  This year’s event boasted an “amazing race” through the town of Massena, excursions into nearby cities including Montreal, tours of historic sites, fishing and boating expeditions, lots of campfires and great food including my Canadian contribution of fixings to make poutine, and even a pig exchange.

The pig exchange was established in memory of a clan member’s (my father’s sister’s husband’s mother) beloved collection of porcelain pigs, the highlight of her living room.  Her children, grandchildren, and friends added to her collection on special occasions over many years.  The pig exchange at the reunion was conducted much like a “secret Santa” operation at Christmas where every participant (everyone was instructed to bring a pig) is assigned a number.  The person with number one got to choose one of the pigs on display that participants donated to the cause.  The person with number two then could “steal” the first participant’s pig or choose another one from the donations.  The pig I had my eye on was a pink metal watering can, perfect for me considering I own a gardening business.  It changed hands several times, but (thanks to tricky strategizing by my brother and a few cousins) this little piggy came back with me to Canada and looks great on my front step at home…

pig 1

I only partook in the reunion for one day, the day they had designated as a picnic day for those of us that could only manage a short visit.  The rest of the gang, including one of my brothers, camped out in cabins for a week.  Although Facebook does help keep us in touch with each other, it was awesome to visit and reconnect with my cousins and their extended families in person, some I haven’t seen for years and some I had never met before.

What a lot of fun those Cartons are and what a great tradition!