Sunday, January 16, 2005

A Cook's Life Story

I went to an estate sale this weekend and came back with an oak recipe box. It is about 12 inches long and holds 3x5 cards. It was filled with empty cards, alphabetical, numerical, and month dividers. It was the perfect find to give me the push to organize the manila envelope that held my recipes on cards and many a sauce splattered scrap of paper. As I went about my sorting so many memories beyond the taste of food, were brought to mind. When I look at a recipe card I almost always remember the person who gave it to me; even if their name is not on the card. (The same is true of plants that I get as gifts.) Two breakfast casseroles from my Great Aunt Margaret bring back memories of a delicious Easter brunch. Many a recipe from my mom; the Heathbar Cake that I requested for my birthday every year when I lived at home, The Hearthside Beef that they served at their 25th Anniversary, the Chicken Casserole recipe painstakingly copied by my sister Lisa who was probably 9yrs. old at the time, and the Plum Pudding and Hard Sauce recipes which I requested when I spent my first Christmas away from home; one in Lisa's childish script and the other in Lynn's (I remember how I ached for familiar holiday foods and the happiness when care boxes arrived at my SanFrancisco apartment filled with baked goods and gifts). There's a recipe for my Grandma DeNoble's Tomato Rice Soup that reminds me of the only time that something broke in my carry on luggage, it was a large jar of that very soup given to me by Grandma after a visit in Wisconsin. The disappointment in not being able to eat the soup was at least as big as the mess it made. One treasured recipe I have yet to try is from my Grandma Caldie. My mom and I unearthed it as we going through old photos and memorabilia last summer. It is for 'Kiss Me Cake'. Don't you love that name? It is an orange flavored cake. There are several recipes from my mother in law. On the one for Cheese Strata I have written "from Mrs. Goethe" which makes me smile 'cause she's been the familiar "June" for so many years I can't remember when I would've referred to her as "Mrs."! I have recipes from cousins and the wives of cousins, from neighbors and co workers. Even Anna Rae contributed a card; Anna Rae's SECRET Salsa. She also wrote out a recipe for Anna Rae's Mystery Soup (it was quite tasty as I recall) on a small piece of orange paper. I think it is interesting that one recipe is 'Secret' and the other one a 'Mystery'. Now I am left with the recipes on pieces of paper and though transferring them to cards would be the orderly and organized path to take, I probably won't. The original writing, the tattered and folded papers of many colors, are all what makes it A Cook's Life Story.


Tanya Mau said...

So true about the memories recipes can give you! I love how you recounted the many stories you have had. Sounds like your perfect find at the sale helped you find so much more!

Bernadette said...

You may have to publish some of these on your blog, Teresa! They sound delicious. My family recipes are dear to me, as well! I'm fifty and live near Seattle and discovered your site through Jay at the BOB awards today.

Anonymous said...

Hi to you both, The "Heath Bar" cake is in print again. Have to make one for Gene next month for his 70th. Enjoyed reading about Gram & Aunt Margaret. It's amazing the thoughts that come to mind over something as small as a recipe box. We are staying in Wis. this year. So far we love the snow but maybe come March we will head south. Loa Ann