When I hit my 20′s, I realized that my grandmother would not be around forever.
I also understood that I was the oldest granddaughter and one of the only grandchildren that enjoyed cooking.
It was myÃ‚Â dutyÃ‚Â to preserve my grandmother’s recipes with the hope that, one day, my own children would be enjoying the taste of her delicious homemade bread and beef vegetable soup.
I begged and pleaded and she kept telling me, “I’ll put them together for you … I will. It’s just, well, a pinch of this and a pinch of that.”
Finally, one Christmas, I received a cookbook of her favorite recipes … put together by her. It was the best gift I have ever gotten and I protect that cookbook like it’s one of my children. So help me, if one of those recipes gets lost … well, it’s not going to be pretty.
When I cook anything from it, I’m reminded of kneading bread with my grammie as a little girl, or her asking me to taste the potatoes to see if they need “just a little pinch of salt.” I remember big Thanksgiving dinners and chocolate-banana milkshakes late at night. And most of all, I remember good times with my grammie.
As I’ve gotten older, there are certainly recipes in our house that are favorites. And there are things that peopleÃ‚Â expectÃ‚Â I will bake at the holidays. My recipes are (much like my grandmother’s) not well-organized and many are just committed to memory. But I’m bound and determined that I will capture them (and hopefully the memories) … for my own kids, or maybeÃ‚Â theirÃ‚Â kids (though that’s really scary for me to think about).
So I’ve decided to make my own cookbook. I started with five very basic items (all purchased at Target):
- A funky 3-ring binder
- Clear page protectors
- A stack of my cooking magazines
- Colored printer paper
- Page dividers
I essentially sat down in front of one of my favorite new obsessions (the show Doc Martin) on Hulu and started tearing out every dog-eared recipe I had marked over the years. For me, it worked best to organize by broader sections such as “chicken” or “Christmas baking.” I even made a section for each of my kids, “Sydnie’s favorites” and “Ella’s favorites.”
After I tore them all out, I started stuffing them in plastic sleeves and filing them away. To make sure I didn’t have a binder that was overwhelming, I put in only the recipes that my familyÃ‚Â really loveÃ‚Â and asked for on a regular basis. The recipes that my kids will remember when they are older.
To capture the recipes in my head, I enlisted the help of my oldest. I had her sit at the computer and type while I cooked (and dictated). If you don’t have an older kiddo to type them up, you’ll have to do this part yourself, but it’s not so bad.
It took a while to put it together, but in the end, I’m glad I did it. For one, I don’t have to flip through endless magazines anymore when I’m looking for “that one recipe.” But also, I now have a keepsake item that I can hand down to my kids … maybe only one of them will like to cook. If they both love it, then maybe I’ll eventually spend an entire day at Staples photocopying every recipe to make a duplicate binder.
However it turns out, we now have our very own family cookbook … and I’m hoping that someday, it brings back wonderful memories for my kids.
photo credit: ex.libris