Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Food is Love

I've been considering creating a family cookbook for Christmas this year. Today I broke into my cookbook cupboard to begin the task of going through everything. Oh my. See the Lion House Cookbook? The back of the book is crammed with loose recipes. From everywhere. This is my system. Sad, huh?
Here is one of the loose recipes. In 1996 I asked my mom for "that stripedy jello salad Grandma Cutler used to make at Christmas." She mailed me a copy of it. I cannot bear to throw it away, even though I NEVER make this salad.
And guess what else I found in my cupboard? My mom's recipe box. I took it when we cleaned out the house after she died.
Here is the famous mint cookie recipe. Handwritten by Grandma Tussey herself! I make these cookies only at Christmas, but sometimes friends request "Tussey cookies" as they've come to be known for other special occasions.
My mom went through a period where she clipped recipes from the newspaper.
Here is "Red Flame Seasoning" known to those of you from Bountiful who love the Red Flame Restaurant. Mom used to have this on the stove at all times cause she put it in everything.
I clearly remember TYPING these recipes for her on these cards when I was 14. Yes, kids, on a genuine IBM roller-ball typewriter! The jazzy and cutting edge technology then was; if you made a mistake you could back-up and a special white ribbon would white out the goof! Wow.
Then I saw this card. A punch recipe written by my mother after she shattered all the bones in her left arm and had to write with her non-dominant right hand. I remember that we made this punch the last Christmas she was alive. I almost cannot bear to look at it. I wound up spending ten minutes sitting on my kitchen floor in breathless, stunned, weepy grief. Why doesn't it get easier?

So, ladies, what do I do? Some of these recipes are clearly family heirlooms! Part of the beauty is the form and appearance of the cards. Should I make photo-copies? Just type up the recipes? I'm sitting here wondering if Trixie has taught her kids to make her "Ulster Fry." I'm wondering what foods my kids associate with me? What recipes bring back those magical moments where they felt loved and safe and happy? Have I written them down? How should I organize them for posterity?

And now I'm worrying about Grace. The past couple of years I've been violently and wholeheartedly shunning sugar and flour. She's not going to have those warm, yummy memories that are usually wrapped up in gooey-carbness. She'll have no memories of the mom I used to be; warm chocolate chip cookies or sweet rolls ready when the kids walked through the door after school. Bready-sausage casseroles on Christmas morning...homemade bread...chocolate cake...I just don't do it anymore.
As I'm going through these recipes, I'm not seeing much that I would actually make now. What I should be doing is creating a file of the changes I've made to everything to make it healthier.

5 comments:

frontporchfriend said...

First of all, applaud yourself for raising a healthy daughter. She will applaud you later in life when her arteries aren't clogged. Secondly, save the memories...I have my grandma's carrot cookie recipe card in a frame because it is in her handwriting! Somewhere I saw a cute kind of scrapbook-type recipe book that was color copied and given out, so maybe you could do something like that?

Lilian said...

Um, do you wanna share the recipe to the Red Flame seasoning???? It was difficult to read in the picture!!

I have a lot of loose recipes too. I've considered typing them all up and putting them in a binder of favorites. I'd probably type some of the ones my mom wrote for the sake of having them typed and easy to read since after so many years of using them they are 'batter splattered' and fading. But I think I'd still keep them for the sake of having the recipe written out the way my mom does it.

Angie said...

Save your family recipes... they're family history :)

I understand what you mean about food and the love and memories that go with it... it's a tough thing. It's just not fair that all the yummiest foods are the worst foods for you.

jillian said...

I love you Mom.
I loved this post. Now I want to go cook something! ;) I'll have to get some of my favorite recipes from you. Like Tussey cookies. :)

Bea said...

We just got back from Rocklin, CA where I finally taught? my girl Vic, to make soda bread, then she was called away suddenly and so Alan got the lesson on potato bread. I'm sure I will have to show them again after they have tried on their own but.... I won't always be here so ............. I will eventually teach them all.