Ellinwood artist and retired nurse Rhea Grandon can add “published author” to her life list of accomplishments. Her cookbook, “Tasty Temptations for the Toothless,” is now available online and in Barnes and Nobles stores. In creating it, she has touched on an untapped market, the dentally challenged, according to her publisher, Xlibris. Primarily a printer for independent writers, the company contacted her and said they wanted to handle the marketing of her book and has since made it available in both paperback and Kindle editions in English, German and Spanish versions.
When her husband, John, had all of his teeth pulled in preparation for dentures, Grandon began converting some of her favorite recipes to accommodate him. Soon after, a good friend lost her teeth and would face a year in cancer treatment before she could get dentures. Grandon shared a few recipes with her, and soon began to get requests from other friends. That’s when she decided to create her own specialty cookbook.
Converting her recipes into a written format was a challenge.
“I’ve always cooked by the seat of my pants,” Grandon said.
She rarely used recipes when cooking, instead pulling from memory the dishes she’d learned to make and to love from a childhood that included great food and big family gatherings. Meals were something to be shared, and she learned to cook by watching and helping. Some of her recipes, in fact, include measurements like, “enough milk to fill half an egg shell.”
Once her initial 25 recipes were written down, she tested them through friends and received plenty of positive feedback. Most recipes are made in a crock pot, and they include soups, stews, and even desserts. Even friends with all their teeth gave her thumbs up, she said.
A niece who is also an independent author with experience self publishing gave her some tips on how to get her book published. It wasn’t long before she received confirmation her book had a market, but at first she was skeptical.
“At first I thought I was being scammed,” she said. “I thought maybe they thought because I was an old lady they could take advantage of me.”
But it was the real deal. The publisher moved quickly, and soon, Grandon received a call from a California relative who was excited to tell her she’d just bought her book on Amazon.com.
The experience has inspired Grandon to keep writing. She is now working on revising a book of family anecdotes. One other unexpected positive that’s come from the experience is the interest John has taken in the book. He’s become her beta reader, she said, and the feedback he provides continues to spur her on.