Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Trip Down Memory Lane Through My Recipe Box

This morning was one of those perfect mornings. I actually slept a solid 7 hours and woke with no regret. I made a wise decision to just hop in the shower straight from the covers. That in itself takes a huge amount of self discipline for me. I think there is nothing worse than water in my face before I have had several hours to myself, my coffee and my Bible. Once showered though, I made my way down the stairs heading to my kitchen to make the coffee. I was pleasantly surprised at how nice my house looked. It isn't always so. I had managed to put it all together the night before - laundry finished and put away, dishes done, dish rack emptied, and I had a lovely vase of pink and white tulips sitting front and center on my dining room table. Once the coffee was brewing, I did the other most unthinkable thing next to showering in the morning. I fixed my hair. Dried it. Spritzed it. Teased it. You know...the whole shabang. Showered and primped by 7 am in my life is like fingers down a chalkboard. It just grates my nerves. But, sometimes you just do what you gotta do.

Joe and I met with our coffee cups in hand and followed our usual morning routine. Sit together on the couch and watch some news. But today I did something a tad bit unusual. I brought my recipe box to our morning coffee. I thought I might just begin to menu plan while I sat there but, instead, began a trip down memory lane.

I've never realized how many memories were stored in this little recipe box of mine. Just never taken the time to pay attention. Until this morning. Have you ever stopped and looked at each of those hand written recipes from years gone by? It amazed me to realize that some of these little cards have been in my possession and used for more than 25 years. You can definately tell which ones I like the best. Slopped with oil stains and crusty stuff, they've been more than just words on a card. They've been history cooked and baked and loved in my kitchen.

And now for your enjoyment....a trip down memory lane:

Spaghetti and Meatballs from Ronnie May

This is one of the first recipes I received after my wedding. I actually was given this while honeymooning at my in-law's house (Yes. We spent our honey moon at my husband's parents. That would be a whole blog in itself). Joe had loved Ronnie May's spaghetti and meatballs and so she kindly put this family recipe in a wedding card. I figured after 25 years, public domain rules apply since I was once sworn to secrecy concering these ingredients. As you can tell, usage has been on the high side. Worn and dirty are a good thing when it comes to recipe cards.

Crazy Cake written by Michone, my sister

What you see is not an illusion. This recipe has been used so many times that the words are actually worn off the card. I can't give credit to Michone for the actual recipe but, it would be worth mentioning that this is only one of many recipes written on these same cards that were given to me, by Michone, as a gift. I still have every one of them. And most of them are family favorites as was this cake. I can remember baking this cake as a little girl because it was one of those things that seemd to go against the rules and I always thought that was scary. But, my mom said it was ok so I felt safe. You see, I am a rule follower to the T. Even with recipes. And for this cake, you put all the dry ingredients in the pan, scooped out three holes in the corners, filled them with certain ingredients and poured COLD water over all of it. Then you stirred and stirred until it was all mixed up. Seriously, this is one of the best chocolate cakes ever and it took me until I was in my forties to realize that it was ok to not mix this cake the way my mom had shown me. I am such a dork!

Pizza Casserole and Baby Stromboli's by Friends in PA.

Both of these recipes were given to me by people who shared a short time of our life while we lived in Pennsylvania. I have not really made these recipes often at all but I do remember eating them, thus the reason I have the recipes. I liked them both well enough to ask for the recipe. When I think about this time in my life, the people we met, the food we ate, it is good. Pennsylvanians were great people and they loved their food. At least the one's we hung out with. And even though I don't have a recipe for this, I do remember liking their version of chicken and dumpling which was really more like chicken and noodles. 

Chicken and Spaghetti Casserole by Shelly Durbin

The one and only friend I had while I lived in Houston a whole six months, gave me this recipe. When she made it I loved it. When I made it, not so much. And, I am not a huge fan of cooking much with "cream of anything" soups so I just don't pick this one out of my box often. But, it still brings back good memories of a very hard time in my life. Shelly had two girls the same age as Christiana and Corbin who, at the time, were around 3 and 6. She and her husband, Jim also had an in ground pool in their backyard which was very refreshing in the hot months of a Houston summer. We spent many hours visiting Shelly.

Chocolate Cake by Stephanie Reichardt
Gingersnaps by Kathy Campbell
Drop Biscuits by Denae Kane

I have made each of these recipes umpteen times as you can tell by the markings. But, the memories behind these recipes far outweighs the number of ingredients listed. After several years of living away from family and friends, we had moved back home to Butte, Mt. These were some of the happiest times of my life. I was a stay at home mom of four children, babysat my nephew everyday, homeschooled Elise and Ross, gallavanted to Wal Mart each Friday with my gram, mom, sister and children, and had the sweetest group of mom friends ever. Of those were some from which these recipes found me. Stephanie, Kathy, and Denae along with my sister Michone, and Kathy and Danae's sister, Peggy were all a part of the "lifes and times of bringing up kids together" season. Between the 6 of us we visited, picknicked, strolled and laughed with 18 kids in tow. It was the best of times and sometimes the funniest of times. I'll never forget them.

 And here they find their home. Ingredients of life, as my husband put it. Memory cards. Recipes of happiness. All packed up in one neat little box.


Jeanie said...

I LOVE it! I have found I rarely reach for my cards anymore, cooking and baking less now that the kids are grown and I most often reach for the computer for recipes (plus-I am NOT a rule follower, cooking more ny "instinct" which can be very dangerous haha), but I have mine, too: a mess! But so full of memories (including Yolanda Gonzalas' homemade tortilla recipe we paid long-distance rates to get from her back when that costed a fortune!). I was also entrusted with Dave's mom's recipe box. Those items are precious and she died in '82-leaving her mother's and her grandmother's hand-written recipes in that box. They are precious to me, but I am not sure what to do with them. Like you, tho, I understand they are part of our written history...

Anonymous said...

Let me speak to this from the other side of these cards- the food finished and consumed side- they have all been very good and I have the roly-poly around my middle to prove it. Thank everyone for investing your favorite recipies into our lives- without them, I would only be half the man I am!


Alicia said...

So cool...I love your recipe box. Who even has a recipe box these days?

Dawn said...

The recipe you gave me for chicken enchiladas is our family favorite:) I have always loved your cooking and baking!