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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Reaching back in time.

As I was noodling around last night, trying to come up with an idea for dinner that was a) fast; b) used only ingredients I had on hand; and c) could be stretched into lunch service over a couple of days, I remembered my mother's Salmon Loaf recipe.


Blowing the dust off the top of my recipe card box, I realized that I almost never open it.  When I need inspiration, I turn to one of my (too) many cookbooks or the Internet.  While the quickly-assembled salmon loaf was in the oven, I took the time to leaf through the recipe cards.  It was as much fun as looking through a photo album - bringing back wonderful memories not only of the dishes created, but of family and friends.  My Great Aunt Edie's Chicken and Rice (Pollo con Arroz - we thought it was very exotic, in a foreign language and all) which was about the only dish she cooked, and we cooked it together fairly often.  A recipe for Mary Ann's Golden Meatball Bake brought back a forgotten neighbor in Cleveland Heights, OH, who used to call me furtively, then we'd both sneak to the very back of our adjoining properties to share a pint of a new flavor of ice cream.  I think I will turn to my little box of memories more often.  There's my dad's famous marinated, grilled flank steak recipe with mushrooms, and Gloria's Smothered Pork Chops to try again.  Many of the recipe cards are, let's say, heavier on prose than measure, such as my mom's instruction to mix it to the consistency of "falling apart".  I knew exactly how it was supposed to look.

I am wondering how many of us use or even have these treasure troves -- if you do, do you use it?  Want to share a favorite?

8 comments:

  1. Dare I post a picture of my recipe box? Yours look so neat, clean and organized. Mine looks so . . . not.

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  2. Mama Pea - Fear not - we're all friends here...besides, 'tho I did mention that I dusted mine, I did not mention that I spiffed it up for its photo op.

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  3. Hey, not sure if my comment went thru?

    Here goes again: I have my Grama's recipe box and it makes me laugh everytime I go thru it! She would have several copies of her favorites written out and in the corner of each it would say 'very good'.

    She had lots of Jello recipes too since it was the rage!

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  4. APG - My Granny Vee made the most amazing lime jello salad that my mother still makes on occasional holidays, or if we whine long enough. It entails lime Jello, crushed pineapple, cream cheese and heavy cream. Bliss! It may not be PC, but I love Jello!

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  5. My Mother, who does not cook, wont give up the recipe box. If I need one she transfers the recipe to a scrap piece of paper and gives that to me. It just shows you she isn't keeping it for the recipes.

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  6. In my usual "get rid of anything you don't use" mode, this is the one thing that I don't use but cannot get rid of.......maybe it is because it is my departed mother's writing on the cards or that of many of her departed friends. There are a few (very few) of her favorites that I still make. Of course I will never forget the spam with cloves and pineapple to resemble a ham. My pilates class still talks about my mentioning this.

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  7. Jane - What a riot! I am angling for my mom's, but I have two sisters, so I have a 30% chance.

    Sylvie - We had the same Spam dinner. Did you know that they now make a Spam Lite? ;o)

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  8. Among my very favorite gifts ever is a binder of family recipes that my Mom put together for my 40th birthday. At the bottom of each page, she included a brief anecdote about the dish, and its significance/role in our family lore. I cherish it! And, I'm glad she knows me well enough that she put every sheet inside an individual page protector. ;)

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