Saturday, August 30, 2014

"For Pete's Sake!"

It all began with a guy named Peter (Pete), a girl named Diana (like the princess), and a very practical wedding gift in 1977. When my mom and dad got married, their friends - Dick and Joyce Kessenich - gave them the 1976 edition of the Betty Crocker cookbook. In the front, they wrote the inscription: "To Diana - For Pete's Sake! - Love, the Kessenichs." My mom loved to cook, and since my dad worked so hard, they figured he would need plenty of delicious home-cooked meals to keep him going strong.

Mom and Dad have been married for 37 years now, and Mom is still cooking, and Dad is still working hard and eating delicious home-cooked meals. My older brother, Andrew, and his lovely wife, Amanda, live in Ohio now with their three sons, and Amanda is a fabulous cook, so the Chandler cooking tradition continues there. My younger brother, Kevan, lives in Indiana and enjoys experimental cooking with such appliances as the "toasted sandwich maker" and blender. I have lived among international families for the past four years, so my ethnic food palette has definitely expanded, and I have recently moved back home to North Carolina for a season.

Reconnecting with my mom in the evenings has meant watching movies and finding new recipes together. We recently had a cooking theme in our entertainment - read the book, Delicious!, went to see the new movie Hundred Foot Journey, and watched the older movie, Julie and Julia... and that's where inspiration began. There is no way Mom would tackle a French cookbook, but she pulled out her old, frayed Betty Crocker cookbook, and we started perusing the pages. We found that there were a few old family favorites, but also some recipes that Mom has never done before. Some are timeless classics, and some scream "1970s homemaker."

We both like projects, Mom loves to cook, and I love to blog... so we decided to take on a fun new project together. We are going to cook through this cookbook over the next few months - not every recipe (Mom refuses to make anything that includes an "instant mix"), but definitely the highlights and a pretty thorough coverage, so as to get the full "Betty Crocker Experience." Some things will be for special occasions, but some will just be "for Pete's sake." I think we'll get Amanda involved in some of it, and probably my Grandpa Jack - who is 91 and loves to poke around the kitchen with his walker. I plan to contribute some to the cooking too, but mostly I'll be watching and blogging... not just writing what recipes we do, but the entire beautiful Chandler family experience of living, cooking, smelling, tasting, eating, and sharing these recipes.

So grab your apron and your own vintage cookbook, gather your family around you, and join us for a culinary adventure... For Pete's Sake!


  1. This is such a great idea, Connie! I hope you and your family have a great time doing this challenge/experiment/adventure together. Looking forward to the updates!