Friday, April 27, 2012


I know you can now find just about any recipe you want on the internet; as a matter of fact, I get plenty of recipes there myself. So most of my newer recipes are printed from websites or emails and stored neatly in a three-ring binder.  But the recipes I use the most are the ones stuffed into the recipe box I got when we were first married.  My oldest recipes are written on the cards that came with the box, and I’ve been pulling them out and making them for nearly thirty years.  Other recipes are written on plain white index cards in my mom’s neat printing and my mother-in-law’s distinctive cursive.  I also have recipes from my sister and brother, from my sisters-in-law, from aunts and uncles, and from old friends.  Many are named for the person I got the recipe from: Martha's Magnificent Mustard, Sal's Hot Chicken Salad, Cathy's Spinach Balls.  I love my recipe box both for the recipes and the history it holds.  Two Christmases ago, I bought three red recipe binders for my soon-to-be-moving-out-on-their-own kids.  One of my fondest memories of that Christmas season was listening to the three of them going through my box of recipes, choosing the ones they wanted in their binders.  My plan was to copy the recipes down in their books over the winter months.  It ended up being a much bigger job than I had anticipated.  First of all, there are over a hundred recipes among the three lists.  Second, I soon realized that for many of the recipes, I couldn’t just write down ingredients and directions, I also needed to include explanations, like how to whisk flour into butter then slowly add the milk to make Alfredo sauce.  So two years later, the binders are still far from finished.  However, a few weeks before my son made his post-college move to Rochester last fall, I put his binder on the fast track and got it done. As it turns out, I don’t think he’s used it once yet in his new adult life—he works long hours and is too tired and hungry by the time he gets home to cook anything from scratch.  But I believe, someday, he will.  And so will the other two (if I ever finish their books!). And when they do, I hope they will see for themselves how important it is to eat breakfast and dinner and Christmas cookies with the people you love and how favorite recipes connect the past and the future.