Marci Dollinger had been thinking about creating a family cookbook for quite some time. However, as you can imagine, sometimes it takes a little push from an outside entity to help motivate us to move forward. For Marci, that push happened when the world turned upside down due to the onset of Covid-19.
“[The pandemic] really lit a fire in me to get these recipes recorded and compiled in a meaningful way,” says Marci. “It gave me a very meaningful project and a connecting point to my family, especially when I couldn’t be seen.”
While other individuals were baking up a storm or learning to garden, Marci was polling her husband and daughters for their favorite recipes. In addition, she sorted through old files for some of her most cherished meals. It was a process that would take her six months, from start to completion, but one that helped bring her family closer during a really difficult and challenging time.
“I felt really proud and grateful for the chance to pull this together for me and my family,” recalls Marci.
Marci’s cookbook, Dining with the Dollingers, is a compilation of their easy, go-to favorite recipes that are great for a fun-filled family dinner or perfect when guests visit. Included are recipes pulled from both sides of the Dollinger family – meals that Marci and her husband Marc grew up with, as well as recipes they’ve been cooking over the years for their daughters.
Simply described, the book is one that “reminds us all of home and sitting together over a good meal and conversation.”
Even though her cookbook includes many of her favorite recipes and memories, Marci notes two highlights that really stand out for her. The first being the Magnolia Bakery banana pudding recipe. It’s a simple, yet impressive, fan-favorite dessert that reminds her of her time spent in New York City.
The other is a picture of Marci and her dear friend, Ruth. Both ladies had been going through the process of writing their individual family cookbooks in tandem, which helped strengthen their connecting point. The photo, taken years ago, shows both ladies dressed in chef costumes for Purim, a joy-filled holiday commemorating the salvation of the Jewish people over their enemies.
“It was pure coincidence that [Ruth] and I both had dressed as chefs for Purim that year,” says Marci. “It shows our deep love and connection through the years, not only to cooking, but to each other.”
Since receiving her finished Heirloom cookbooks, Marci has gifted them to various friends and family, including her mother and three of Marci’s friends – Sharon, Julie, and Ruth, of course. Additionally, she gifted a book to her brother-in-law and his wife, who also share a deep love of food and who often gather with them for shared holiday meals.
The cookbooks, however, were originally created out of love for Marci’s daughters and their children. It was a way for her daughters to be able to use their family recipes in their own homes, now and in the future.
“I wanted our daughters to have a record of our favorite family recipes,” says Marci. “And then I think someday my grandchildren and great grandchildren, when we are not around, [will have] this as a family heirloom. It really is an heirloom.”