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April 06, 2015

i often look to things in my everyday life for inspiration when i’m designing signs. a few years ago i was trying to come up with some signs that would be a great compliment to a kitchen. i came up with a few designs, but none of them really spoke to me. so, i turned to my collection of cookbooks and there it was.

my mom’s joy of cooking cookbook. it was given to her as a wedding shower gift in 1968. and 29 years later, in 1999, she gifted it to me at my wedding shower. it’s tattered, and worn. like a good cookbook should be. and our families favorite recipes are marked with a pretty red ribbon. i remember this cookbook sitting on the counter of my mom’s kitchen while i was growing up. i’m quite certain it has something to do with my obsession with the color robin egg blue.

the dedication in the front of the book speaks about family and the strong feeling of roots that their mother, Irma S. Rombauer, gave them. Irma wrote the very first edition of the Joy of Cooking. She believed that if well-grounded, you can make the most of life, no matter what it brings. i absolutely love that philosophy. Irma’s daughter, Marion Rombauer Becker, who wrote the dedication, shared her hope that “The Joy” would remain a family affair and that her two boys and their wives would continue the family tradition one day. reading that dedication sealed the deal. i knew i had to make a sign. i had to memorialize my family’s tradition with the cookbook. i had to share our JOY.

so using the cover and the dedication as inspiration, i designed a sign that could hang in my kitchen. any kitchen.  i played around with the message and several fonts until i was happy with the result. i just love how it turned out.



imagine my surprise when i received an order from John Becker, the great-grandson of Irma S. Rombauer. THE Irma S. Rombauer. i couldn’t believe it. John ordered the sign to hang in his kitchen. THE Joy of Cooking test kitchen. OMG. it was like a dream come true.

john and his then fiancé, meg, were testing recipes for their next edition of the Joy of Cooking cookbook. they were so sweet, offering to send me a copy of their 75th anniversary edition of the cookbook. it arrived with the nicest hand written note and meg even marked her favorite recipes and her go to parts of the book.  it’s something that i’ll treasure forever. and along with my mom’s cookbook, it’s something that i’ll be able to hand down to my kids one day, too. my mom, much like Irma, has always given me a strong feeling of roots. i can only hope that through my example, my kids will experience that same feeling. and that they will always know the comfort those roots can bring.


here is the sign hanging in THE test kitchen. it’s like a part of me is in THE test kitchen with meg. pinch me.


be sure to visit the Joy of Cooking website. you can also follow john and meg on instagram, facebook and twitter, too.


~ xo, kristi



the joy of cooking happens here

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