Holiday Menu: Cookbook features recipes by attorneys


By Paul Janczewski
Legal News

What’s for dinner?

But, hey, let’s not stop there. How about an appetizer, followed by a salad, complemented with bread, or soup. And let’s not forget about the staple of all balanced meals—dessert.

Now, multiply all those categories by a lot, and add in a few more items, and you’ve got yourself meals and all the trimmings for days on end.

Mealtime just became easier, courtesy of the Family Court Committee of the Genesee County Bar Association (GCBA), which has just published the mother of all cookbooks. It’s a 193-page pamphlet, chock-full of the favorite recipes—270 in all—from nearly 50 people associated with the Genesee County legal system.

And the cookbook is now on sale to anyone who is looking for a one-stop shopping guide to fabulous things to eat. Need another reason to buy it? Once the sales reach the break-even point, profits will be donated to one or more Genesee County nonprofit agencies.

This tome includes recipes for 34 appetizers, 64 desserts, 34 main meals, 27 salads, 21 veggie dishes, and a whole lot more. There’s something for everyone, something for even the most finicky tastes, and everyone will find dozens of scrumptious goodies. One special desert, a Christmas cake, has a very special ingredient. But more on that later.

Providing the impetus behind the cookbook was Barbara Dawes. The Family Court Committee, of which she is a member, consists of attorneys in the GCBA who are involved in Family Court—those who are representing parties in divorce, probate matters, abuse and neglect cases, custody issues, or any domestic relations or family-related cases. Dawes works for the law firm of Henneke, McKone, Fraim, & Dawes, and is chairperson of the Family Court Committee.

Why a cookbook? Dawes said in the past, the committee has come up with other projects to aid local agencies that help the needy.

“We always try to help one or more, depending on how much we make,” she said.

“This year, we wanted to do something different.”

A different association connected to the legal community put out a similar project in the 1990s, and Dawes and others decided it was time to try it again. While the profits may not be realized to aid a charity this year, Dawes said a supreme effort was made to get the book out by Christmas to take advantage of holiday spending.

The book also will be sold throughout the year, and available for such events like Law Day, or at other GCBA seminars. The committee held a meeting to unveil the cookbook at a local restaurant, where donations by members benefited the Whaley Children’s Center for coats, hats and scarves for the children, as well as for gift cards to several retailers.

Dawes was helped in her effort by two other committee members, Pamela Wistrand Gardner and Erin Blankenship, and when the trio was asked how difficult the project was, all they could do was laugh. In other words, plenty of work went into it.

Dawes said it began months earlier, when letters and e-mails asking for recipes were sent to GCBA members, restaurants, police departments, and anyone and everyone connected to the legal community.

While only one restaurant responded—Fandangles in Flushing—the legal community response was overwhelming. Lawyers, a judge, clerks, legal staffs, legal secretaries, legal assistants, counselors, a therapist, family and friends inundated the committee with recipes.

Then came the hard part.

“We thought it would be easier than it turned out to be,” Blankenship said. “But Barb did way most of the work.”

She said Dawes collected all the recipes, and typed most of those, with a little help from her staff. They organized it into sections, using a cookbook sampler for guidance and sorting through three different formats before choosing one they liked.

“And then, things had to be tweaked and changed,” she said.

Dawes said the recipes were not all using the same abbreviations; some used a “t” for teaspoon, while others used “tbsp.”

“We had so many different recipes, and people typed (amounts of ingredients) in so many different ways,” Wistrand said.
Dawes tried using a computer program to change things, but somehow that got all amiss.

“I had to go through and change every single recipe because I tried to cut corners and it didn’t work,” she said. “There was a lot of editing and previewing.”

Once that was accomplished, they had to find a printer at a cost they could afford. And then Dawes and a few others bound all the pages in a book. How many hours did the entire project take?

“I have no idea,” Dawes said. “I couldn’t even count (how many).”

They had 100 copies of the cookbook printed, and have sold about half, but more remain. The book costs $20 each, but if three or more are purchased, each book costs $15.

“This was a lot a work, very time consuming for us,” Dawes said.

But for each, it was also a labor of love. All love to cook, and all love being able to give something back to the community. Dawes said that’s what they do. They volunteer to aid a good cause.

“We’re a service industry, and this is one of our ways that we give back. We’re all together in this,” Wistrand said. “We enjoy working together, and it’s going to benefit the (needy).”

They also said it was fun to get recipes from their colleagues and see what how others fix and mix foods.

“You want to get in there and try something that’s one of their family favorites,” Wistrand said. “This was a real fun project.”

In the book’s preface, the authors tell readers the recipes are how they do things in their own kitchens. These recipes may not be strictly by the book, but may add “an extra pinch of this, a dash of that…or just chuck it all and start from scratch.” They make no excuses for it, either.

“That is someone else’s law, and those involved in the legal profession have to follow that all day long; when we are home, in our kitchen, we should be free…to have fun and create a delicious new dish.”

The appetizer section includes spreads, dips, wings and salsa, jams and hummus. Beverages include punch, eggnogs, slush and smoothies. Some of the breads are apple, banana, muffins, corn bread, cinnamon rolls, dinner rolls and more. For breakfast, there are recipes for pancakes, quiche, casseroles, breakfast pizza and French toast. Desserts include bars, cakes, cupcakes, and cheesecake.

Main meals include beef brisket, enchiladas, pork loin, and chicken dishes. Some of the salads have special homemade dressings, with recipes, and antipasto, blue cheese, bok choy, summer and pasta salads. For soups, stews and chili, you can chose from cheesy ham and potato soup, several chili flavors, and chowders. There is a “This & That” section that contains recipes for parfaits, puddings, Jell-O dishes, cupcakes, original Coney Island sauce, energy bars, taco seasoning and a number of other goodies.

Vegetable dishes include casseroles, asparagus and broccoli, au gratin potatoes, and German potato salad.

But back to that Christmas cake recipe. The ingredients needed are flour, water, brown and white sugar, eggs, butter, baking soda, salt, lemon juice, nuts and dried fruit. The magic ingredient here is—a bottle of tequila.

The instructions for making the cake are pretty simple. First, sample tequila. Get a bowl, drink more tequila. Repeat. Beat the butter, add sugar, beat again.

“At this point, it is best to make sure the tequila is still OK.”

Drink another cup. Turn off the “mixerer thingy.” Add eggs and dried fruit to bowl.

“Pick the frigging fruit up off the floor. Mix on the turner. Sample tequila again. Next ‘sift 2 cups’ of salt. Or something.”

Check tequila.

“Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts. Add one table. Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can find. Grease the oven. Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over. Don’t forget to beat off the turner. Finally throw the bowl through the window. Finish the tequila and wipe counter with the cat.”

The recipe was provided by Dawes son, Lukas Dawes, and was added as a holiday joke. So, like we shaid earliest, whas fer dinner? And, please, pass the tequila.

To obtain a copy of the cookbook, makes checks payable to Family Court Committee Chair Barbara Dawes, and mail to her, c/o Henneke, McKone, Fraim & Dawes, 2377 S. Linden Road, Ste. B, Flint, 48532. Or contact Dawes at (810) 733-2050, or