The Cookbook


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My Memory File


My daughter remarked, when she was searching for a certain recipe, "Your recipe box is a mess. Why don't I clean it out, copy the recipes on cards and fix a neat file for you?"

I just answered, "Maybe, I'll see."

I didn't tell her, but I plan to take my collection of recipes with me when I go. I couldn't bear to have people standing around shaking their heads, saying, "Aren't those recipes a mess!"

Would you like to look over my shoulder while I go through this stack and tell you why I'll never throw any of the originals away? See this bundle held together with a rubber band? Those were given to me by my mother-in-law. Many of them were copied when we lingered at the table after dinner. It was at these times I came to know my mother-in-law best.

This one copied in black ink except for the one cup milk? This was given to me by a neighbor who forgot to tell me the milk should be added. Have you ever tried to stir 4 cups of flour into 2 egg yolks? After a frantic phone call I added the 1 cup milk. This is the way it goes, a memory with each and every slip of paper.

Mom's doughnuts - I've never been able to make them taste like the ones she made when I was a child. Maybe that's because I had never heard of calories then. Mary Lou's dills, Darlene's rolls - each one brings back a smile, a voice, a pleasant greeting, a warmth that no sterile, plastic-covered card could.

You think that scrap of brown paper just fell into the box? No such thing. That's a recipe for fixing Sweet and Sour Pork. I can still recall the warm fall day I acquired that. Alice Lott and I were hanging wallpaper. She was up on the ladder when she mentioned the sweet and sour pork. I tore a piece of paper from the bag and copied it down. So you see, that's not just a scrap of paper, that's really a visit with an old friend.

Even the small pink file box I started out with was given to me by a neighbor on a long-ago birthday.

Tucked away in the assortment of recipes is a small booklet, words scrawled in a childish hand, telling of errands and household chores to be performed as a Mother's Day gift. Wonder if I ever collected those promises?

Now do you wonder that I can't let this file fall into alien hands? There's no other way I'll have to take them with me.

This story was given to me by my dear friend, Jane Mears in January of 1994 when she retired from Friendswood ISD.

Even though I've created this cookbook and blog I still keep my "old" paper recipes just for this reason. Such memories in the handwritten ones. I still recognize a lot of the handwriting even though the card is 30 or 40 years old and I haven't seen some of these people in years.


  1. So neat! My recipies aren't handwritten...they are often printed from websites (and now your blog), but, I try to put notes on them about when I first cooked them, what I thought, what my kids thought, etc. I have some that I cooked when I was first out of college; it makes me smile to remember cooking for myself in my little apartment kitchen. One day, I will think the same thing about watching my little Liam eat brownies for the first time with the note that "he couldn't stop."

  2. Thanks Sarah! I sure remember you girls eating everything in sight. Especially if it was chips and dip or sweet. Your boys are beautiful and I really enjoy reading your blog and seeing all of those precious pictures of them.