Thoughts on Writing a Cookbook by Joyce Brown

Years ago my mother wrote a cookbook with the encouragement of her 9 children. She was a wonderful cook and we didn't want to lose our Lebanese recipes through the generations. All 9 of us cooked with her in the kitchen at one time or another, so we had a good idea how to make most of the dishes. The problem was that the next generations don't have enough detail. They often call one of us to find out how to make something. Some recipes are even missing amounts for ingredients. One evening soon after I retired, I received a call from my niece for direction on one of mom's recipes. That is when I decided to rewrite mom's book with details and photos. It turned out to be a huge project that took over 18 months to complete. I went through her book and tested every recipe. The project included planning, shopping, food prep while taking photos, dishes (a lot of dishes) and the hardest part for me computer work. My family contributed a lot too. 

These are the two covers mom used. The yellow one was her first edition. The pink one was an improved version. My copies are well used. 

These are the two covers mom used. The yellow one was her first edition. The pink one was an improved version. My copies are well used. 

Watergate Cake and Cover-up Icing by Joyce Brown

This is such a delicious and fun cake. It is an old recipe that I updated and made my own. I made one for a church function and several of the young people didn’t know about Watergate. Here’s a quick history lesson. Watergate was a major political scandal in the early 1970’s when Richard Nixon was president. It was after a break-in by five men at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex. It was much more complicated, but we are talking cooking here. The cake was called this because it was hard to figure out what was in it. It has a beautiful light green color, but surprisingly it doesn’t taste like mint.

Watergate Cake with Cover-up Icing


15.25 oz. white cake mix

¾ cup canola oil

5 large eggs whites

1 cup club soda

3.25 oz. pistachio instant pudding

½ cup chopped pecans

½ cup cocoanut

Lightly grease and flour a 9”x13” baking dish.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

In a large mixing bowl, combine first five ingredients and beat with an electric mixer for two full minutes. Fold pecans and cocoanut into batter. Pour batter into prepare pan. Bake in pre-heated oven for 30-35 minutes until top springs back when lightly touched. Remove from oven and cool completely on rack. When cooled, prepare topping. Before turning the oven off, toast 1 cup cocoanut for the topping.  This will take less than 10 minutes. Watch it closely.


2 envelopes dry whipped topping mix

1 ½ cups whole milk

3.25 oz. pistachio instant pudding

1 cup toasted cocoanut 

½ cup chopped pecans

In a medium mixing bowl, combine first three ingredients and beat with an electric mixer until fluffy. Spread on cake and sprinkle cocoanut and pecans over top. Chill at least one hour.