I am updating a family cookbook for an upcoming family reunion. This isn’t writing, per se. More like copying old recipes my mother had written down and given to us years ago. We have added about 80 family members since then so I felt like we needed to add new family recipes to the ones she had given us in the past. It, also, give us a chance to get the old cookbook out to the next generation. The reason I have decided to write about it is, because, initially I was just going to type the recipes and notate who gave them to us. However, as I started typing I realized what gems were inside.
I began with the first recipe and found this “prenote” (is that a word?) typed in by my mom:
This is not authentic chili. Just a recipe from my canning book but when I served it at an Empty Nester’s meeting, all the men love it. It was the first to go. It is the same one I have always made.
and on Baked Potato Soup:
This is from the newspaper but Cara says it tastes like Black Angus potato soup.
I have seen these notes often as I use this book every week…at least once. But, it really wasn’t until I was going to be efficient and just re-type recipes for printing that I realized we would lose something from the cookbook if I did not type these notes also. This keeps my mother alive and lets others see the funny things she did or said, or, really, just how she thought about things. For example, I am pretty sure my family doesn’t believe I am a potato soup expert so they probably don’t or didn’t really care what I thought but I love that my mom thought it was important enough to note.
Following a peanut butter candy recipe she added:
If you buy exact sizes of peanut butter and marshmallow cream, there is very little measuring.
and regarding peanut butter, in general:
For peanut butter and crackers, any peanut butter will do but for cooking, cookies, fudge, etc., only Jif–it has the best flavor.
Now…did you know that? Did you know it would matter what brand it was once you mixed the peanut butter into the batter? It does, though, so I only use Jif. This is what I am saying…easy hints and the knowledge of exactly what kind of peanut butter to use. These side notes bring smiles to our family and give us an opportunity to remember what my mom was like and share that with our children. They will help when mom is gone and, possibly, make the food taste just that much sweeter because each bite is filled with a memory and the love that went into the cooking in the first place.