My gaze slowly traveled up, revealing a tall blonde, fashionable Brit, dripping in gold at my front door in Los Angeles. My own hair was dripping wet from the shower. That’s how I met Jennifer, my first mother in law. We were both children of military upbringing. General Pritchard, Jennifer’s deceased father, was a British Royal Engineer who helped build the Burma Road during World War II. My own father was a Navy aircraft carrier pilot. This endeared me to Dearest, my first husband, Adam’s, grandmother instantly. Service families were all in.
I should explain. Adam was on Guam – where Jennifer’s soon-to-be husband, Art Sparks, was based, flying planes for Continental. Jennifer was passing through Los Angeles, where I lived back in those days. She had lived the exotic life of a British ex-pat, living in India, Thailand, Vietnam and Hong Kong. That day she was passing through LA.
There is so much to all the stories of these people who are gone now, and so beloved to me, though not without their human failings – I will just have to try to weave it in as I go. Otherwise it would be an encyclopedia before I even talked about food. Jennifer was a very talented cook, and wrote many fabulous cookbooks, one of which, Curries and Bugles, won the “Best Book, Literary Food Writing” award from the International Association of Culinary Professionals.
My favorite though, was always her first, The Original Thai Cookbook. After her death, I determined to get this book into modern form – available as a digital book – so it wouldn’t be lost to the world. Through the kindness of many people (and that story will wait for another day, but thank you, you know who you are), I’ve been given the opportunity to make it so.
There were absolutely no digital records of this work. It seems amazing in today’s world, but through a combination of the age of the publication, and Jennifer’s many unfortunate brushes with fire, all such records were lost.
I sent a copy of the book off for a digital scan, realizing I would need to proof it thoroughly as a very first step.
Since I work full time and am an avid adult ballet student in the evening, I struggled to find a time to slowly move forward with Original Thai until my husband, Eddie, suggested spending any amount of time, even 20 minutes in the morning, working on the book (thank you darling man).
So that’s what I am doing, and that’s what this blog is about. The rebirth of The Original Thai Cookbook into the digital world, so cooks who use their iPads, kindles or other devices, can experiment in the kitchen with JennBren.