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Marin Independent Journal Newspaper
May 1995
By Paul Liberatore, IJ senior writer

San Rafael hairdresser puts style in cookbook.

A lot of information gets exchanged in beauty salons. Hairstylists and their clients talk about all kinds of things: movies, restaurants, the latest gossip.

While she's cutting and styling someone's hair, Kathie Rothkop likes to chat about food and trade recipes.Over the years, she accumulated quite a few. "I had them written on permanent end papers, magazine covers, tissue paper, bank deposit slips, paper towels," she says. "I had 35 in all. I thought, 'Why not get some more and make a book of favorite recipes from the beauty shop?"

That's just what she did. Two years later, Rothkop is the proud author of "Beauty and the Feast," a self-published collection of recipes from her clients, who contributed favorite family dishes, everything from apple dopple cake to zucchini bread.

"They all came from my clients in this chair," she says one morning before work at Marin Hair Company in San Rafael. "I ended up with 210 recipes. People went nuts. They loved the idea." One of the most popular receipes - macaroni with vodka sauce - came from Rothkop's longtime client Paula Scarpelli of San Rafael. "Kathie put a lot of work into the book and did a great job," Scarpelli says. "I bought one book for myself, one for my daughter and some for the people at work. Kathie's very creative, and she has a great soul."

"Beauty and the Feast" is more than a cookbook. It's liberally sprinkled with classic quotes on beauty and food ("Inner beauty, like good soup, is usually homemade"), profiles of historical figures with famous hair (Lady Godiva, Rapunzel, Medusa, the Beatles), obscure facts ("The word shampoo comes from the Hindu word 'champo,' which means to massage or to knead"), poems (Amy Lowell's "Food of Love") and other esoterica ("porosity: the hair's ability to absorb moisture").

I learned so much about my profession while researching this book," Rothkop says. "For example, in the 17th century, women's wigs were three to four feet tall. Big hair was in. And they dressed it with ornamentation. That's where the term 'hairdresser' comes from."

Rothkop also learned a few things about herself, discovering hidden talents. With no experience or training in visual arts, she drew the whimsical cartoon of a woman with food piled on her head that's on the cover.

I didn't know I could draw, but I drew the cover and some of the illustrations on the inside," she says. "I have a new hobby. I'm taking cartooning classes."

A personal, honey-blond woman with a model's good looks and a ready sense of humor, Rothkop made sure that cartoons and jokes were main ingredients in her book. "It's totally silly and everyone loves the humor in it," she says.


Cookbook Quotes

"Definition of a sponge cake: A dessert made of ingredients borrowed from the neighbors."

"Definition of a gourmet: Just a glutton with brains."

"Cooking - For women, a weapon to catch men by the stomach and watch it grow with the years."

"The cook was a good cook as cooks go; and as cooks go, she went!"

"To marry a woman for her beauty is like buying a house for its paint."

"Italian proverb: The beauty of the heavens is the stars. The beauty of a woman is her hair."

Bridal Styles Made Simple

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