Nov 17th, 2008 by Marilyn
Sally Jacobs and I graduated from the same big Chicagoland high school at about the same time (note the feathered yearbook hair, left) but with 6,000 other kids around, it took 23 years and some internet magic to get us together. Now in Madison, Wisconsin (“Sconny Run,” in New Trier talk) she spends her archivist days in history – but her free time is devoted to teaching non-archivists how to “organize, preserve and share their family photos.” Her blog The Practical Archivist inspires family archiving the way Julia Child inspires chocolate mousse; if you want your family’s story out of shoeboxes and into history, start by following Sally’s Big Three:
1. Get rid of your sucky photos that are taking up space and stressing you out. Blurry, redundant, boring unidentifiable landscapes. Don’t leave this problem for your grandchildren to untangle. You know more than anyone else about your photos, so select the best ones and…
2. Treat the “keepers” right and get them into archival quality storage materials
3. Last, and most important…write down the stories behind your photos. Not just names and dates, but what the event or person meant to you. This adds incalculable value to your photos. You can create your own book or website to show them off and share them with far flung friends and relatives.
Such a helpful archivist! That’s why I invited her her – well, that and, you know, the Chicago pizza. This week, the extra credit answers get an A plus. Royal Chessman, we’ll never forget you.
How often do you think about eating?
My family is notorious for discussing what the next meal will be while clearing dishes from the present meal. In other words…an awful lot.
The only way I drink coffee these days is after dinner with a little Bailey’s Irish Cream. Otherwise, my caffeine comes from very strong English Breakfast tea with a splash of cream.
Favorite hometown food?
Made-from-scratch skin-on french fries from Big Al’s in Glencoe, Illinois. Sadly, the place burned down twenty years ago. My first job was slinging burgers at Big Al’s. People would drive for up to an hour to get them. They really were that good.
Ever been served breakfast in bed?
No, but I’ve enjoyed breakfast prepared by my young kids (5 and 7) as a Mother’s Day gift. Yummiest. Breakfast. Ever.
Your absolutely reliable, go-to dish for entertaining is:
For a sit down dinner, it’s balsamic chicken & mushrooms with green beans and potatoes on the side. A super simple and delicious dish I picked up from Weight Watchers. My favorite party dish is a guaranteed crowd pleaser — a bubbling crock pot full of mini polish sausages in BBQ sauce. Woo hoo!
Food that makes you gag?
Lima beans. ::shudder::
Worst kitchen disaster:
Cinnamon rolls that didn’t rise properly. I baked them anyway, and boy was that ever sad. The real disaster is that it’s made me fear yeast ever since.
Three things in your refrigerator right now:
Your idea of a romantic meal is:
Any time I can have an uninterrupted meal with my husband is romantic. The food is secondary to the company.
Secret snack of shame?
Oh, dear. Can I preface this by saying I’m not proud of my secret snack of shame? It’s those horrible mini “chocolate” donuts. There is no explaining it…I mean the waxy fake chocolate is awful. And yet? Once a year I have to have them.
Most ambitious thing you’ve ever done in the kitchen:
Canning. It’s a sweaty, messy all-day project that pays off for months and months.
Best restaurant if you’re not paying:
The Samba Brazilian Grill steak house here in Madison. I could eat there every day…and if someone else is paying, I would be able to sample the more pricey wines.
If you were a cocktail, what would you be?
Brandy (neat) with a glass of very dark beer as a chaser (either Gray’s Oatmeal Stout or Lake Louie Tommy’s Porter). Super practical with no advanced knowledge required — just like my biz. Plus it will help you survive a Wisconsin winter.
Extra Credit: Where is the world’s best pizza?
Tonelli’s in Northbrook, Illinois. It was our main family restaurant when I was growing up, and my mom and I would always split a garlic and onion pizza. Their thin crust had so much crunch it was almost like a cracker, and the onions were sliced about 1 cm thick. Pure heaven! You can also get a great slice at Little Ren Hen in Glencoe, and I have fond memories of bacon pizza from The Chessman in Wilmette. (Not to knock Malnati’s!)