Any basket maker will tell you that when the creative juices are flowing, and the "need to weave" is a driving force in your life, inconsequential things, like cooking, are relegated to the back burner. Of course, this also happens when "Oh my gosh, the show is only 3 weeks away, and I don't have NEARLY enough to take to fill my booth." This also holds true when you are scheduled to teach a class next week, and you still don't have all the materials prepared and bundled together, or the deadline for submitting a proposal for a convention is the day after tomorrow, and this absolutely fabulous idea is still just that, and you only have two days to weave it into being, and write your proposal.
During the fall of every year, one or more of the above scenarios, almost always occurred at about the same time we had to start preparing for the holidays, and all the accompanying parties, and family obligations that go along with them. In the past, I am sure that many of our esteemed friends and colleagues have simply, through super human efforts, (and/or with the help of spouses, family, friends, whatever), risen to the occasion, and still met all of their holiday obligations, and satisfied the "basket gods" at the time.
But in the fall of 1996, a new element was added to this picture. The big "I", otherwise know as the internet, and along with it, e-mail. Sometime around Thanksgiving , a frantic e-mail message went out asking for any quick and easy recipes that might be used for a party of some sort. Miracle of miracles, within a day or so, recipes started trickling back to the sender in a string of e-mail messages.
Of course, other basket makers, reading these group messages, all realized the opportunity here and started down-loading the various recipes and printing them out. One member of the group told me that she had the print-outs stashed everywhere, but never could find the one she wanted when she needed it.
Somewhere in here, my wife made the passing suggestion that I start going through all of the archived e-mail messages and cull out all of the recipes. This booklet is the end result of that process. As the reader can see, it has evolved into a little more than "just another cookbook". Included along with the recipes are short biographies of the various contributors, and digitized pictures of some of their work.
This book may continue to evolve. If there are enough submissions from the discussion group, an addendum will be published. The book is laid out in such a way that it can easily be added to. Plans to put the entire cookbook on the web this spring have been scrapped. Not only would it take an inordinate amount of disk space, using up most of my allotment, but it would not be fair to those who purchase a copy of the book Instead, there will be featured recipes and artists each month from the book. When the internet version of the book is up and running, you will find a link to it on Linda Braun's web site.
Finally, I have to mention my colleagues on staff at Cantrick Middle School in Monroe, MI. Many of them graciously agreed to proof read the recipes after I had extracted and formatted them. They also tried out many of the recipes. Where appropriate I have incorporated their comments, and in some cases, their suggestions for changes in the recipes. Thanks for the help, guys.