One day, while skipping through the pages of one of my favorite social media sites, LinkedIn, I came across a new friend, Beverly Wilson Noble. I had asked a group if anyone had an inspirational story of success to share on Grow!, and Beverly chimed in with enthusiasm and a genuine spirit, so I thought I would give her a look. She had just written her first book: A Lifetime of Recipes. OK, I must admit that I have a weakness for great food and thought perhaps I could grab a cool recipe or two! It turns out that I have discovered that and much more. I was quickly reminded of the tiny thread that lies within the folds of our life, and how, if we choose to take hold of it and sew with intention, purpose and clarity of vision, it can be spun into something beautiful to share. I hope that by reading the following story, you may become inspired to finally acknowledge that nagging voice that whispers your true purpose. Perhaps today you will cease dismissing it and answer “yes!”. It may not be as grand a feat as writing a book, but perhaps a small task or dream to fulfill. (If and when you do, share it with us!)
A Lifetime of Recipes… Beverly Wilson Noble
I started “helping” Mom in the kitchen at age 6, standing on a kitchen chair to reach the counter. Doubt I was much real help… At 8, I was given a cookbook for Christmas. I was so very proud to be grown up enough to cook on my own! Mom, of course, was in charge of turning on the stove. My parents divorced when I was 13, and I was suddenly in charge of watching my younger sisters (aged 3 and 5) and starting dinner for the family while Mom returned to college and then began a career as a teacher.
I started collecting recipes as a young adult, and soon began modifying them, and making my own. In my 30s I dreamt of opening a small restaurant, but my husband convinced me to keep cooking just for friends and family. Long hours, high entry costs, and personnel troubles were all reasons to let go of that particular dream.
I spent 17 years working as a high school math teacher, a dozen as a financial planner, plus some time in data processing and sales support. All were left-brain, analytical activities. At home, I played with recipes and menus. Artichokes and seafood are favorites individually, but not on the same dinner plate! My husband developed heart disease, which led me to modify old favorites and search for new items to replace the high-fat, high-sodium foods that no longer had a place in our weekly meals. Diabetes runs in my family, so balancing proteins and carbohydrates also became important. The restaurant? Forgotten, like many young dreams.
Then a dark time: first Mom, then a son, then my husband died, all within an 18 month period. Hid out in the kitchen to disguise the loneliness…. Enough already! Left the sorrow behind and moved to a new town and a new life.
Many changes: teaching cutbacks forced another career path, but insurance and investment sales just weren’t the right venue. Too much sorrow in talking about the reality that people do get disabled and die. As I talked to clients and prospects, recipes kept coming up. This lady had an apricot tree, and needed ideas for using the fruit. That man loved to cook and swap kitchen ideas.
At first, I was just organizing my recipes for family and friends. Somehow it grew and took over my mind and my life. About the time I finished entering the bulk of the “cooking with fruit” recipes, the vegetables started clamoring for an outlet. Then the soups and stews… I have over 2000 recipes on file cards, far too many for one book. So now it is a series of books, a brand: A Lifetime of Recipes. First book is Fabulous Fresh Fruit, to be followed by Veggie Love; Long & Slow: Soups & Stews; Recipes from the Farmers Market; and Feasts for Family & Friends.
Now, after a few months of 6 am to 9 pm days (and loving every minute) the first book has been uploaded to the printer. Creating a new recipe is one thing, making a book is something else! I had so much to learn, and to do. All the technical production issues, plus the marketing and publicity, plus, plus, plus! It is alternately terrifying and exhilarating.
Luckily, my fiancé had skills in Photoshop and the willingness to learn InDesign. He has worked all day; eaten a quick meal (often after photographing the food) and worked another 2 hours on formatting and inputting text. I could not have come this far alone.
This is not the end of the adventure; the next weeks will be filled with marketing, publicity, and working on the web site. Then the real fun: getting MY recipes into kitchens across America, helping parents build strong family memories in their own kitchens while preparing healthy, delicious, and economical meals. Much better than a restaurant!
Beverly Wilson Noble