Like all of us, Midnight at the Blackbird Café author Heather Webber loves a good book. To celebrate her captivating blend of magical realism, heartwarming romance, and small-town Southern charm, Heather chatted with us about one of her unconventional favorite books: The family cookbook.
By Heather Webber
It sits in a kitchen cabinet, tucked out of sight, patiently waiting for its next adventure. Its binding has seen better days, some pages are stained, and a lemon-yellow twist tie from a long-forgotten loaf of bread has been employed as a bookmark for the better part of two decades.
It’s my favorite cookbook; part teacher, part advisor, part inspiration, part therapist, part magic.
It came into my life nearly thirty years ago as wedding present, and it’s born witness to great successes and great failures. Love and loss. Celebrations and sorrows.
It’s watched my children grow, marking one birthday to the next with its recipe for Boston cream pie. It’s joined us for many Sunday morning breakfasts with recipes for fluffy pancakes and cinnamon scones. It’s seen a call for take-out when an attempt at quiche went spectacularly wrong.
It’s taught me life lessons along with measurement equivalents. Patience. Forgiveness. Persistence.
It’s advised me on how to make a pie crust. To learn from my mistakes. To have faith, especially when I’m concerned my pie dough won’t hold together when I roll it out.
It’s inspired me to try new foods and flavors. To find joy in the unknown. To turn to nature and my roots when in doubt.
It reminds me that no one recipe fits all. To be flexible. Instructions can be adapted. Omit an ingredient here, add one there.
It’s counseled me when a recipe has gone disastrously wrong, offering perspective—don’t sweat the small mistakes, like the time my pastry cream included a side of scrambled eggs. Try, try again.
There’s magic inside it. How else to explain a combination of butter, sugar, flour, eggs, salt, baking powder, vanilla, and milk turning into a delightful cake?
There are many recipes and life lessons to explore within its stained pages, but hidden between the lines on every page is a treasured recipe for living life. My favorite cookbook sits in the cabinet, tucked out of sight, patiently waiting for our next adventure.