Former Northwestern teacher writes book about gratitude
“When was the last time you just closed your eyes, took a deep breath, and gave thanks for the richness of the food we are blessed with?” Jan Pavelco asked.
The question captures the spirit of her recently released book, “The Inspired Apron: A Recipe for Life.”
With her own photos adorning nearly every page, this slim volume is a cookbook that goes beyond a collection of Pavelco’s most treasured recipes, including “short little stories, inspirations and memories to make you think about how you could live your life in a fuller way,” the former Northwestern Lehigh teacher explained.
“I researched the nutritional value of the food as I had already done for my classes, because I thought I was originally going to write about the recipes but the world didn’t need another cookbook,” Pavelco said. “So, I had more to I think about. It was a very personal endeavor.
“For me it was a journey.”
Pavelco, who worked in the Northwestern Lehigh School District for 35-plus years relied on her background as a business and yearbook teacher, when it came to the design and organization of her book.
“I laid all the pages out on the floor and the idea of seasons revealed itself to me,” she said. “I had to design it.
“The process really made me think about all the yearbook days but the method was [powered] by inspiration.
“I thought I was just writing a cookbook but the writing took me over and connected me to my photography work as well.”
Taking an online course called “Launch Your Dream Book” compelled Pavelco to stay focused.
“I had to create a minimum of two pages a day so I could get it done,” she explained. “I knew I had to allot editing time as well. The structure keeps you on track.”
Pavelco said the book is a culmination of all the different studies she has done but she didn’t write it in any particular order.
The book is arranged according the seasons of the year.
Friends and colleagues were eager to celebrate with Pavelco at Essence House, Orefield, where she also offers cooking classes, and coaching sessions for individuals and groups.
Although Pavelco believes anyone “can hear the inspiration” implied in the book, she said women older than their 60s would find it especially meaningful because they “are more reflective.”
“My hope is when someone reads it, they will live a more inspired, healthful life, reminiscent of an easier time and a simpler life,” Pavelco said.
Pavelco urges readers to “honor tradition, family and neighbor,” and advises readers to “put on an apron and find ways to find comfort in your home without having to buy fancy stuff.
“Look for weeds in your garden to use in bouquets,” she explained.
Pavelco’s message is be healthy and well rounded, both spiritually and physically.
“The world is crazy right now and writing this book was a way to recapture calm,” she said. “Writing the book made me centered, focused and joyful.
“I surprised myself. It was a good experience. It was a very in the moment kind of experience.”
“The Inspired Apron: A Recipe for Life” is available at the Firefly Bookstore, Main Street, Kutztown, and on Amazon.