Under the Cover

By Leza Ahrens, Graphic Designer

I never really gave much thought into how much went into putting a book together, up until now. You have the jacket, the binding, the endpapers, blank leaves, bastard title, frontispiece, title page, copyright, dedication, forward, preface, acknowledgements, contents, introduction, body, glossary, index and colophon. Phew! See what I mean? There are so many aspects. 

The two main cooks: My tia Carmen and grandmother in Morelia Michoacan, Mexico.

Well, this semester I am glad I learned to appreciate how precious a book can be. I found a few sites helpful for printing a book in InDesign and researching parts of a book. The two main cooks: My tia Carmen and grandmother in Morelia Michoacan, Mexico.

The most important thing to my family is family; We do everything together, I mean everything. What brings us together most, though, is food. Every dish that is made has a story behind it. That is why I decided to make a Mexican family cookbook, entitled “A Family Gathering,” for my CDES “Publication Design” class. 
My family is known for its awesome food, but with every generation the recipes die off a little. I wanted to make sure I had these old recipes while I still have my grandmother to teach me. I also decided to include old stories that my aunts had while they were growing up –  a bit of family history to always remember. 

Making this book was quite a challenge. Almost every other day family members are at my grandparents’ house, which is where we all gather. I had to make sure I got back from school in time for dinner so that I could write the recipes and take photos. The hardest part was probably making measurements. My aunts never use them. They cook for about 10 people, and they cook so fast it is hard to keep up with them.  It was fun gathering old stories and talking about the past. Every day at my grandparents’ is full of laughter, food and love. 

After I got the body of the book written, I began the front and back and finally got to the real tedious part of sewing the signatures and gluing the book cloth and endpapers. Finally, I topped the project off with the book jacket, which is a photo of a bunch of Mexican objects that belong to my mom, aunts and grandma. 

I am more than happy with the end product, and my book has become like a precious little baby to me. I almost had separation anxiety when I had to turn it in to be graded. When I showed my family the book they were crazy excited and proud. Because of our love for each other and food, we will always continue our traditions. Now we have a book to remind us, just in case we forget.  

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