Growing up I had the privilege of a lot of good home cooked meals. Both of my parents were (and still are) good cooks. My mom is Japanese and so she would always make us authentic dishes along with "American" dishes. I remember when I was younger, I had friends over and asked if they wanted to stay for dinner, but they pointed out that I eat "weird food", then asked if I even like "normal food". I thought it was a really funny question, mainly because I never thought of my mom's ethnic cooking as weird. I grew up on it and when we went to Japan we ate all sorts of other ethnic food, a lot different from what you would experience in America. So I was always up for trying new foods. I love it too. My philosophy about food is that you should like everything, you just have to find the way you appreciate it. It's also a great way to bring people together.
I have been fortunate enough to marry into a family of amazing cooks. My in laws are all about good food. This has in turn helped motivate me to learn to cook for my husband when we were first married. The week after we our honeymoon we moved to Chico. We were only there for a few months while my husband went to school and managed a company to sell for his dad. I was bored since it really wasn't long enough for me to find a job and at that time we had money for him to take classes. So I spent my time teaching myself to cook. It's now something that I enjoy and love to do with my kids. I love experimenting with new flavors and techniques and over the years I've been able to compile some good dishes.
A couple of years ago, my sister in law made a beautiful recipe book for my husband's family. She took family recipes and collected pictures of everyone growing up and memories from everyone about the dishes and published a family cook book. She spent a year or so on it and the result is amazing. It was a labor of love and art for her. My mom would always check the book out when she would come to visit us and peruse the recipes, especially since she loves my in laws' cooking. So for her birthday this year, I decided to try to make her one. I was surprised at how many recipes I was able to come up with especially since I only included ones that I thought she would use, so I have a lot more that I could easily add.
When I came up with the project I was envisioning a lot of different looks and ways to make the recipe book for her. It wasn't until a week before she came to visit that I finally had a layout that I wanted to do. I was able to finally finish it a couple of hours before her arrival. I was really excited about the result and I know she loved it. The best part about it was that I spent less than $10 on the entire project! I did the binding myself and got the how to from the Little Birdie Secrets blog. I also added a personalized front page for my mom. Since I only had a month to compile everything, I didn't have enough time to make a lot of the dishes to take pictures for the book, so instead I did a title page of each category and put a picture of one of her grand kids on the adjacent page.