What a surprise to come home on Wednesday to find a box of MY books on our doorstep.
After months of testing, and many taster’s opinions, the book is a reality! Though titled “Delicious Rose-Favored Desserts“, not all the recipes taste of rosewater. Many taste of orange, lemon, even apple, but all have rosewater or rose petals in the receipt (recipe). The addition of rosewater or petals adds another dimension to a receipt; a mysterious quality that enhances flavors.
Going back to the beginning, this book came about due to two occurrences; the first where being a volunteer at The Huntington Library and Gardens (encouraged by Clair Martin, at the time the curator of roses) allowed me the opportunity to experiment in making rosewater with over 2,000 available roses, and the second being a fifth grader asking me what the rich people ate in the 18th century. My dear friend, Myriam Hu, whose knowledge of roses was invaluable, helped me gather and test roses for rosewater. Later she aided me in my baking experiments. Jim Folsom, Director of the Botanical Gardens, encouraged me to do research in the Botanic library, which, along with quite a number of 18th century original cookbooks and reprints I’ve collected, gave me the impetus to try my hand at baking with rosewater.
Testing was fun! Interpreting terms and instructions….”some spices (which?), penny loaf, to searce, or a slow oven”. Jennie Dobyns, of Dobyns and Martin, Grocers provided some of the ingredients which were not readily available such as blades of mace, and gum arabic. Jennie rushed them to me to make sure I would have them when needed. Then there was my right hand and assistant, Stephanie Deal Nacionales. She was there working with me, even when she was pregnant and couldn’t stand the smell of eggs. She and her husband Jonathan were my first line of taste testers.
Thanks to my dear friend Honey Berman, who believed in my book, talked about it, and introduced me to someone who introduced me to my agent, who sold the book. This all happened in one year. And now, a heartfelt thank you to all who were there for me. I hope all who buy my book will be rewarded in finding new and unique recipes to tempt the palate and tickle your fancy.