I was cleaning out some drawers a couple of weeks ago and found my grandmother’s recipe notebook. It’s just an old spiral bound notebook, nothing special in itself. But it is full of handwritten recipes and magazine clippings, which is a fragile link to the past.
By the time I was old enough to notice things, I don’t think I remember seeing her ever use a written recipe to cook. She just knew. She was of the “add ingredients until it looks right” school. My sister once stood beside her in the kitchen and as Mother Eva (that’s what we all called my grandmother) added a “pinch” of this and a “handful” of that, my sister made her dump it into a measuring cup before adding it to the bowl. That day is the only way we know some of her recipes.
Finding that notebook makes you think though. Some of the methods she used are not used at all anymore, replaced by gadgets and technology. Some of the ingredients aren’t made anymore, especially if she wanted a name brand. What will my grandchildren think of my recipes? Will they be seen as unappealingly old-fashioned? Or as refreshingly retro? Preserving that link to the past and to the future is the reason we cooks write down our favorite recipes. Because who doesn’t remember their grandmother’s (or grandfather’s or parent’s or SOMEBODY’s) cooking? And because I have this notebook, maybe my kids (who were all born long after my grandmother was gone) will have that link, too.
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