Sugar-coated Memories

IMG_20140812_093821-2When I was in my early twenties, I purchased my first recipe box. It came with lined recipe cards, so I pictured I’d have a neat and tidy assortment of recipes at my fingertips, one I’d treat with the respect a librarian gives to the card catalog.

Only I never did use those lined cards. Recipes came at me at different times and places, so I’d usually grab the nearest blank writing space, jot down hasty instructions, and somehow turn out a nice finished product. Like the backs of envelopes, notices from school, note pads and post-it notes. Plans to re-write the instructions were always in my head, but I’d do it later, when I had some free time.

I didn’t ever seem to have free time for the task, though.

The other day I searched for a recipe and remembered my commitment the day I had purchased the box. For a brief moment, I regretted my messiness, but then I saw some advantages to the haphazard pile of recipes before me.

Each time I take out this Peach Cake recipe, for example, I go right back to the IMG_20140808_190135day my roommate, Barbara, had rattled the recipe off the top of her head as I scribbled it on the closest thing I could find—this Gary Larson Far Side notepad paper. I remember how we thought the picture was hilarious (and I still do) and I think about how I’m lucky Barb is still in my life, even though she lives eight hours away.

IMG_20140808_190154Or my nana’s Scottish shortbread recipe…the second time it was given to me. I’d misplaced the first one Nana gave me while she was alive. After she died, I realized I’d lost the treasure. This small paper scrap is from the day I frantically called my mother and asked if she had the recipe. Thank God she did! This small piece of paper hardly does justice to the fond memories we all have for Sadie’s famous shortbread, but each time I pull this from the box, I think about Nana, the pride she took in making those each Christmas, and how I’d better not lose the recipe again.

Then there is one of the “neatest” recipes in the box, given to me by my friend IMG_20140808_190204Kris. One day while I visited her, she offered up her own lined piece of paper so I could copy  her Apple Crisp Recipe. It’s still written in my hasty scribble, but each time I see this I think about the early days of our friendship and our great conversations over tea and, sometimes, chocolate.

What memories lurk in your recipe box?

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22 responses to “Sugar-coated Memories

  1. What a great idea for a post Shaz.

  2. What a fabulous post Sharon. It sure brought to mind all the fabulous recipes I’ve gotten over the years from friends and family.

  3. Great post, Sharon – I have a Betty Crocker Cook Book that I got at my wedding shower 30 years ago but in the front are all the hand written recipes, on worn, ripped paper, that are much better than anything Mrs. Crocker had to offer. Recipes from my mother, grandmother (her mom) including her home made bread. Then there are all the Italian recipes. My Sicilian grandmother’s Pasta Fagioli, biscotti and cannoli, etc. I hope my daughter takes it some day and keeps it in the family 😉

    • I can picture all those great person recipes stuff in front of Ms. Crocker’s work! Lol, and the papers sure do get battered from use. Look at mine! Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Great post. I’m like you, my recipes are scattered all over and written on all different kinds of papers. I love when I am going through them and I come across the ones my mother or my aunt wrote out themselves. Seeing their handwriting always makes me smile.

    • So true about handwriting, Maura. I recently was given a letter from my father, who died when I was 14. I stared at his handwriting for some time. Kind of a window into part of him. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Terri-Lynne DeFino

    How much do I love this post? You’re absolutely right, and I will never again look at my recipe binder* or my address book with disdain again!

    *recipe binder with those page sleeves, because I’d do the same thing you did, or rip it out of a magazine, and then never write it down. It got to be too daunting a task, so I bought those sleeves and simply stuck the recpies in them, then in a binder.

    You know me–I rarely consult a recipe, but those I do are treasures; now in another way entirely. Thanks!

  6. LOVE this post! My recipes (and my husband’s) are all over the place — in a folder in the kitchen, in a 3-ring binder, in a box in the pantry, in printed books in two different rooms. I’ve started scanning the most important ones. Now they’re also on my computer! At least the digital versions are easy to find when I need them.

  7. Recipe box? I don’t own one of those. But it’s good that such fond memories come up when you look at the recipes.

  8. As usual, Sharon, you are right on the mark! I had done the same thing, and one Christmas my daughter typed up all of my precious recipes and put them in a photo book with plastic sleeves. This is one of the best Christmas presents I have ever received and I will treasure for the thought and love put into that gift as much as the practicality. But I can’t bring myself to part with those scraps of paper, marked with melted butter and cake batter, some in the handwriting of very special people and others scribbled after sampling someones amazing recipe.

  9. Sharon…this post almost made me cry! And how very true. Do you remember the Fettuccine Alfredo in a Wok recipe I used to make? I still have that soiled, crumpled piece of paper that I pull out from time to time (and which Matt now refers to). While I pretty much know the recipe by heart, I always find some strange delight in referring back to my scribbles, and I’m pleasantly reminded of our days on High Street, when I first prepared the dish.
    So glad you’re still enjoying the Peach Cake. Hey, would you like my recipe for Meatloaf? LOL. Barb

    • Oh my, the Fettuccine Alfredo! Next time I visit, you must make that one! Lol, yeah, I heard that meatloaf recipe is pretty spectacular. People are still thanking you days later after they eat it 🙂

      Miss you already. Hope to see you soon!

  10. I have lots of recipes written by my mother. They taste so much better because she wrote them. I also have a cookbook from St. Thomas-a-Becket Church in South Barre with lots of recipes from Bill’s aunts. It is a treasure.

  11. Some of my dearest memories are in that old recipe box – in my mother’s handwriting and my step mother’s handwriting and I am passing these to my daughter. Thank you for such a warm and fuzzy post

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