Over on my personal Facebook page I’ve been posting about my adventures in baking while sheltering in place. Last night I shared this photo, my first attempt at homemade sourdough English muffins.
I wanted to tell you about my FIRST attempt at homemade bread. Because, in a way, my publishing career started with homemade bread.
I first tried to bake bread back in 1976 or 1977, during the first year we were married. I remember, because Don and I were living in the Wannamaker Apartments, across the street from the Covina Dairy.
My mother was not a baker, and while my Grandma Hilda baked bread in her youth, I don’t recall her ever baking it when I was at her house. So I was never around anyone while they baked bread.
I found a recipe in a cookbook and gave it a try. I had never worked with yeast before. It was a pretty little loaf, and hard and heavy as a brick.
Don and I laughed at the sad loaf. I wrapped it neatly in a kitchen towel and took it to one of our neighbors, friends of ours who lived in the Wannamaker Apartments. I presented them my gift of homemade bread.
Again, we all laughed and laughed.
I didn’t attempt to make bread again until around 1982. That year I put out my very first self-published book, Great-Grandma’s Recipe Book. Both my grandmothers had passed away a few years earlier, and I had in my possession their recipes. Both were excellent cooks. I wanted to share the recipes with family and friends, so I decided to first kitchen test the recipes to come up with directions (many of the recipes had no instructions) before putting together a book.
Grandma Hilda had a number of bread recipes, and guess what? I was actually able to bake them without turning out a brick!
I ended up using my Dad’s copy machine to print up my first book and had it spiral bound at a local office supply store. I gave copies to friends and family that Christmas in 1982. It was also when I came up with my publishing house name, Robeth Publishing, a combination of our children’s names, Robert Scott and Elizabeth.
A few years later, after we had moved to Wrightwood California, I started Mountain Hi-Desert Guide, a monthly community magazine for the tri-communities of Wrightwood, Phelan and Pinion Hills, and an annual full-color magazine, Wrightwood Magazine. They were all published under Robeth Publishing.
Today, Robeth Publishing is incorporated, and the publishing house I write under. I currently have around 40 books published, not counting audiobooks published by Tantor Media and Dreamscape. And in a way, it all started with bread…