Sunday, July 12, 2015

Taking a lazy day with a box of recipes.

The recipe box

My daughter Valerie and I have always shared a love of cooking and eating.  I found an old recipe box and went through it, thinking, "This would make an interesting cook book."

Many of the recipes are handwritten, with notes on them from relatives and old friends.  We don't do that anymore.  Everything consists of sending a link for an internet recipe in an email or Facebook message.  I remembered how many of them I had actually used and enjoyed.  If someone takes the time to laboriously write out a recipe by hand, you know it is going to be good!

In this box, which Val and I painted and decorated so many years ago, there were recipe cards, recipes cut out of newspapers and folded to fit, folded lined paper, and several on yellow lined paper that were obviously cut from the same sheet, each just a few inches long and folded in half.

A peek at the treasures

I enjoyed looking through the recipes, especially the ones marked "Good!" in red ink.  Some are in my mom's handwriting, some in Val's, others in my own -- most with the source clearly marked, from a magazine or cookbook, a friend or a family member.  A few were marked, "This is my own recipe."

Some of the treasures I found include my grandmother Wolff's recipe for a cooked dressing to use on her potato salad.  Then there was another card marked, "a lot like Grandma Wolff's dressing, a lot easier, but it doesn't taste as good."  And one was marked "Miss Smith's caramels, 1929."  Miss Smith was my mom's home ec teacher at Tonica Community High School, the same school I graduated from thirty years later in 1959.   My daughter makes those caramels every Christmas, and everyone loves them.  Another treasure is a recipe for a fish salad that I thought was gone forever.  It sits on the pile of recipes that were pulled out so that I can make them again soon. 

The treasures - to be made again soon

I found a recipe for meatballs from my husband's secretary.  The meatballs are rolled into balls but not browned, just dropped into the rich tomato sauce and simmered for three hours, sort of like dumplings in broth.  I remember they were well worth the time and effort.

I always loved my mom's chicken soup with her homemade noodles.  But I found two recipes, not one.  I'm pretty sure which is the one I loved so much, but I may have to make both just to be sure.  ;-)

The funniest one was my mother's spell for getting rid of warts - she told me, and I carefully recorded, every German word she uttered when someone came to see her with warts that nothing had worked on so far.  It worked surprisingly often, although most times not.  I suppose the times it worked, the warts were about to say adieu anyway, but she got quite a reputation.  Such fun to see that I have the spell, preserved until someone goes through my things when I pass and throws the whole box away.

Some of the notes were touching, some brought tears to my eyes, including one for pretzels that my daughter-in-law, who passed away a little over a year ago, wrote down for me so many years ago, I think when she and my son were dating.

So many memories - of people, of special dishes, of family gatherings.  It has been a lovely afternoon.

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