Monday, January 10, 2011

A Wooden Box of Recipes

I enjoy being organized and for years I have thought of transferring my box of
recipe cards onto the computer. I've also contemplated the idea of keeping my recipe cards inside protective plastic pocket sleeves within a binder. But there is something quite satisfying about opening the little wooden recipe box that my friend Sharon painted teal blue and on which she decoupaged designs of assorted fruit. I think of Sharon each time I open the box and of others as I paw through my stack of recipes, many of which bear the handwriting of dear friends, former coworkers, and of course my relatives too. There's a strawberry bread recipe from Mary, Cathy's fruit dip, Bill's pizza dough, and Linda's blueberry muffins. A recipe given to me by my student teaching mentor, Jean, is inside too, along with numerous magazine recipes that I have torn and stashed there, vowing to try, someday.

However, a good three fourths of the recipe cards inside the little wooden box were written out by my all-time favorite chef, my Mom.

I asked Mom to pass on to me her recipes as I prepared to move into my first apartment. "Which ones would you like? she asked. I had several requests and I have to laugh now as I see recipes for corn-on-the-cob and chicken soup, for it's been almost two decades since I've needed reminders to boil the water, shuck the corn, and sweeten the water with a little sugar! I also haven't used a recipe to make any kind of soup for years and years, understanding now that all it takes is a glance into the refrigerator to spy the leftovers ready to help create a batch! But learning the craft of cooking and baking wasn't something I mastered overnight. And some cards show this to be true. The card with my Mom's chicken tetrazini recipe is worn on its edges.

I probably do not need many of the recipes any longer, having committed most to memory, but it still gives me joy to be reminded of all the people in my life who, over the years, have added to my cooking repertoire. It gives me comfort to see my Mom's handwriting. And it always will. These cards, stained with years of use, are not going anywhere... other than back into the little wooden recipe box.


  1. Just this summer I put my cards into a plastic binder. I hate the fact that there home is now a cold, boring, rigid black binder, but I am happy about the organization and that they are protected.

    I too have a couple of handwritten recipe's from Great Mimi Freeman! They include, Robert Redford Dessert ( I think originally from the "other" Michelle") Taco Dip and Orzo Salad and our FAVORITE Chocolate Chip Oatmeal cookies- these will forever be part of our family! :) Happy Cooking!

  2. I have thousands of recipes from Mom -- on cards in boxes, on lined paper in notebooks, on scraps stuck between the pages of cookbooks. It's hard to get rid of any of them.

    Oh, and the kids (and Dennis) loved the refrigerator cake I made today. Thanks for that recipe and those memories.

    Love you.