Memories on Paper

I mentioned in my last post that I had made a pie for D’s birthday.  It was a lemon cream pie with fresh, warm blueberry compote, complete with homemade crust. It was a pie I had never made before but was quite confident I could make. But where did I get the recipe?  From my old Company’s Coming cookbook. 

I rarely pull out my cookbooks anymore. The internet and Pinterest have taken over. It’s so convenient and at my fingertips. For example there have been times where I have a certain ingredient in the house and I’ll just ask the internet what I should do with it. It’ll show a pretty picture and lots of reviews by others who have tried the dish. I do have a recipe box at home for the common recipes I use but there are times where I’ll still just pull up the recipe on Pinterest because I haven’t gotten around to putting the recipe in the box. 

Where am I going with this?  Pulling out that old battered Company’s Coming recipe book brought back a ton of memories. The pecan pie page was smeared with corn syrup and well worn. A page that states quite obviously that I made a lot of pecan pie in the past. My daughter could open this book and see what I liked to bake and what recipes remained untouched. I never wrote in this book but I’m thinking I should. Maybe leave little messages like “Goose, you loved this pie when you were 7 but didn’t like the compote”. It’s something I can’t do with the internet. I could ‘pin’ a thousand recipes but my daughter would never really see this or feel a personal connection. I’m sure there are many women (and maybe men) who have their mothers recipe books or recipe cards. And I’m certain they bring back fond memories when they see their handwriting and personal notes attached to them.

Speaking of personal notes, my mother infamously had her pound cakes overflow in the oven every time she baked them.  I actually have a note on my recipe card about it. When I made them the first time I was expecting the same. I even put a baking sheet under them just in case. But they never overflowed. I asked my mom what I was doing differently. Turns out my pans are just larger. I’ve left the note on my recipe card anyway.  It’s a fond memory that I want to pass onto my daughter. I still laugh a little when I bake those cakes and they don’t overflow or set off the smoke alarm. I don’t know why she didn’t put less mix in her pans….I guess it had become tradition to clean the oven every time she baked them. My daughter will one day copy out this recipe card or take my box of recipes, and she will know this story. 

Cooking and baking are not just about eating. They are about an experience. They are about tradition and memories. I think I am going to pull those cook books out a little more often. With a dash of salt there will also be a pinch of the past. 

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