I have two recipe boxes. The little green one is from 1971, the year Danny and I married. The blue one came quite a few years later and has bigger and newer recipe card collection.
Going through the green one today to find a certain recipe I needed, was like taking a trip back in time.
The first recipe I came across was for ‘Dump Cake’. This was the cake that Danny's Aunt Net shared with the family one Christmas. It was such a hit that Danny’s mom got the recipe and every Christmas afterwards, there would be a dump cake on the table.
Then there was the recipe for the Rice Pudding that my mama use to make. The way my mama made it though, was in no way like a pudding. The consistency was more like a sticky cake made in an oblong metal pan. Just seeing that recipe brought the memory of my mama mixing it all together in a white red rimmed bowl on our old table. ( I could even see the well worn red checked oil cloth that was always on it.) I would sit there as a child and watch my mama mixing the left over rice together with the eggs, milk and flour along with sugar and spices. The smell of the cinnamon and vanilla would be a sweet perfume floating around our old kitchen that day.
I found the recipe for Peanut Butter Cake and icing that Danny’s 90 plus year old Big Mama still makes. Years ago, when she found out that I loved that cake because my granny use to make the exact same one, she began making me one as a Christmas gift each Christmas. The whole family loved this cake so much, that Big Mama would actually sneak the cake over to my house as if she was delivering stolen goods! God bless her heart.
My Granny was always making cakes, but she never wrote the recipes down, least not to my knowledge. She just kept them all in her head. So when she passed on, so did the recipes. Once, right after I began working at the BBQ, I mentioned to my boss lady that I wish I had gotten the recipe for my Granny’s nut cake before she passed on. Not long afterwards, my boss came to work with some recipes of her mom’s that she had carefully handwritten down for me. I found those recipes today and I am still in awe that she would take the time to do such a nice thing for me.
The recipe for ‘Peanut Butter Squares’ has a note I had written on the bottom of the stained old index card… ‘Amanda made these on Oct. 16, 1991.’ She was 9 years old and had brought the recipe home from school to make for school work. I can still see her working so hard at our kitchen table. She wanted them to be just right…and they were! They were so good and moist and she was one happy little girl!
I found an old yellowed notebook paper neatly folded and pushed in the far back of the box. I opened it up and found the recipe for baked chicken and rice that I had made up many years ago. Down at the bottom of the page, for some reason, I had signed my name and to the left was where Danny had also signed my name. He would sometimes sit at the table as I prepared our suppers and the memory of him saying that he was going to try to write it just like me came to me like sunlight filtering into a window. Seeing his writing again brought tears to my eyes.
I finally found the recipe that I had been searching for and as I placed the recipe box back in it’s place on the counter, it dawned on me that these were not just recipes.
These were the foods that we all enjoyed together as a family. They were the Christmases, the Thanksgivings, the Easters and the Birthdays which we all celebrated for generations with our loved ones…Some long gone now.
No, they are not just recipes…
They are the precious memories of a life lived.
GOD BLESS YOU ALL.