Old Recipes

My mother didn’t really organize recipes. She stuffed them in books, in amongst other papers, wrote them on envelopes, put them in her appointment book with clients’ phone numbers on them.

My grandmother seems not to have organized hers, either. 

When my mother passed away, I found a shoebox full of old recipes. As I went through my mother’s papers, I pulled out the recipes and added them to the shoebox. It became quite the collection. For years, I dragged that shoebox around with me…looming in a corner of a shelf beside newer and less ominous cookbooks.

Then my precious mother-in-law passed away. At least her recipes were organized. They’re in our storage shop. I believe they take up 3 moving boxes.

Yes, I have my work cut out for me. Literally. Cut out of magazines, newspapers, letters from friends…the scraps of 3 generations of women’s love of food. In amongst some of my more treasured recipes, I found some from my husband’s grandmother as well. What a treasure!

Except, of course, that it is impossible to find a recipe in any of that.

Example: my mother-in-law had many cookie recipes, but one in particular was my favorite. It had rice-crispies in it, but you’d never know. It was one of her more complicated cookie recipes. I’ve looked on-line and can’t find it. I want those cookies. I called my sister-in-law. She doesn’t have it. My husband searched his mother’s recipes before packing them. No cookie recipe. I know I had it. I would never have thrown it out. So…it must be in…the shoebox.

The last few weeks I’ve endeavored to go through that shoebox and I’m beginning to see the bottom of it. I’ve found amazing recipes…things to do with turkey leftovers…my mother’s favorite recipe for greens!…delicious deserts I suspect none of the women in my family ever tried. I found two different variations on a friend’s favorite recipe she got from her grandmother. Now I know why the most recent version didn’t taste as good as I remembered.

Slowly, I’m putting together my treasure. I look forward to sharing my finds with people here, so these recipes can pass on to future generations.

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