Thursday, March 20, 2014

Narrative of a Tour Through Hawaii, 1826

My trip to Asia is coming up in a week, but I don't think I've told you I'll be in Hawaii for a couple of weeks in June. (I, too, need a vacation once in awhile..) While I'm not so enthused about this upcoming multiple-week-long Asia trip to be honest with you, I'm very much looking forward to spending time under the bright sun shines on the white beaches with a dozen cans of macadamia nuts and a *complimentary* six-pack, staying at a backpacker's lodge while hiking up to the KÄ«lauea (which I hope would shoot up some lavas just for my amusement. Pray for me for that to happen!), and scuba diving for the first time! (I'm gonna have to get new swimsuits cuz I don't think anyone wanna see 30-some-year-old in bikinis,, Aging sucks. haha..) And I can't wait to see my friend whom I haven't seen for years! (Her lovely hubbie's in the military, so they relocate too often,,) Ah, Two more months, M.! Two more months until the Aloha State! I'm gonna be getting rid of my super pale skin there a bit. hohoho.

Well, back to the world of antiquity,, Some two centuries before my (supposed) arrival on the islands, there were British and American missionaries keeping themselves busy with "saving souls" of the Hawaiian natives, ,,, , and one of them was William Ellis. He's published multiple journals chronicling his experiences and records of the lives and customs of the natives. This is one of his first journals; Narrative of a Tour Through Hawaii: Or Owhyhee; with Observations on the Nature of the Sandwich Islands, and Remarks on the Manners, Customs, Traditions, History, and Language of the Inhabitants, published by H. Fisher, Son, and P. Jackson. (London, 1826.) If you look close, the gold ornaments on the spine are pineapples. Haha, that's cute and,, made me hungry just now. (humm pineapples!) Anyway, the restoration was relatively uncomplicated and straightforward; re-hinging and internal hinge mending as well as minor corner repairs. But I thought I might as well share some of the plates in this book that show how thing were back then, back when there were no mega hotel resorts and what not...
(These are digital camera photo shots, and aren't scanned by a scanner. So, pardon me for the strange yellowness of the images..)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook

Along with Bibles, cookbooks are one of the most restored books in our bindery. That's actually understandable really, as they are, like Bibles, the most personal, sweetest, aesthetically sound, virtually perfect heritage that moms can leave with their families for the generations to come. Whenever I hear someone say "this is my grandma's recipe!" or "this recipe's been in my family for generations!",  I see their genuine smiles with a humble pride and a hint of nostalgia, which melts my heart! Yet, then I would get hit with a bit of envy and a sudden sadness of the fact that I'll never be able to taste my grandma's cuisines any more; my family doesn't have a tradition of keeping anything written...... (Duh! Grandma! You had a stack of pens n' pencils n' tiny notebooks in THAT impeccably crafted, spectacularly beautiful stationary holder you made and kept next to you all the time since I was a toddler!? Why the heck didn't you use it and write sh*t down for me before you went!? .. utterly puzzling and unequivocally frustrating ...)

Anyhow, if you are an American, you probably have seen this cookbook in the kitchen, or a different edition of this one of the most popular and adored cookbooks of all time. (along with Joy of Cooking, Betty Crocker's, American Woman's, etc.) This is a 1938 edition of My New Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. This is an earlier edition of this series, so the cover design is different; you might be more familiar with the latter edition design of a red and white checker cover. Like many American cookbooks, this is in a ring-holder binder, which is seemingly clever as a cookbook because you can add and subtract whatever you want. But on the other hand, once the cover is broken (inevitably on the hinges), it's sort of tricky to restore due to the ring fixture on the spine which is permanently fixated with a couple of screws through the cover material inside and out. So, the restoration needs to be done without breaking the fixtures apart. Also, the holes on each page get easily torn over time, so putting hole reinforcement (acid-free) stickers is recommended; but you need to be careful because pages would expand on the spine due to the thickness of the stickers. One thing moms in general love to do is to leave pieces of hand-written recipe notes and recipe clippings of magazines inside cookbooks. Making a secondary miscellaneous pocket or folder for them is always a good idea, in order to prevent those loose papers from going missing over time. For this particular cookbook, I used an ordinary clear plastic folder cut to size and added the custom made folder in the ring binder; the client's secret family recipes will be kept forever!