Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Keepers of the feast

This is a post I've been wanting to write since way back in the winter some time when my friend Shannon posted.... something. I can't find the post she put up that made me come up with this idea but I'll still give her credit. It was something about her daughter Abby learning to print. I think. Anyway, whatever brilliant thing she wrote or Abby did, it (for some reason) got me thinking about my favourite recipes and where I keep them. I started thinking about my mum's old wooden recipe box and then her "new" 1980's teale plastic recipe box and then the photo album recipe books she made for Beth and I.

I realized that there are as many stories about the boxes that hold recipes as there are about the recipes themselves. And I think they're probably good stories, family stories, stories we'd all like to hear.

Here are my two recipe holders:

I got the tin box from my very close friend Marnie (who I don't talk to nearly often enough anymore). Marnie and I were roommates for a good chunk of university and have been very close ever since. She did her third year abroad in Nice, France. She brought back a tin of cookies for me. The cookies were alright but what I really liked was the tin they came in. Needing a place for recipes I was collecting once and a while from roommates and friends, I started to stick them in the tin. It's been with me ever since. Once in a while I have to weed it as it starts to get full again and there are recipes I'm not using. It's hard to make the choices about what stays and goes as all the recipes have stories: who gave it to me, when I tasted it, where I was.

One year for Christmas, my mum gave Beth and I each a small photo album partially filled with recipe cards. On each card she had written our favourite recipes of hers. It was probably one of the best gifts she ever gave me and I use those recipes all the time. Not surprisingly, most of them are for baking; she was an outstanding baker and she bred that into Beth and I. The small album started to fall apart the year after I got it, simply due to use. I haven't replaced it yet, but I should. I'm just trying to hold out as long as I can, moving recipes to the back as the pages fall out. I don't want to give up the ratty thing because my mum picked it out. I doubt she laboured over which dollar-store album to buy, but it still means something to me just because it has been the home-away-from-home for these favourite recipes for so long, almost 10 years now, I think.

That's the story of my recipe holders. I'd love to see yours and hear your stories. If you choose to share them, just drop me a comment so I can link to you.


Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post!! As a library tech person and the occasional dabbling scrapbooker, I bet we could come up with a way to preserve the album cover of the recipe book your mom gave you.
Speaking of baking recipes...do you have any unique apple dessert recipes?

Karen said...

Hey Pam. I have a great recipe for an apple maple sugar pie. Aside from that (if you don't want to buy maple sugar) I also have my mom's apple crisp recipe. I'm sure I have others but I'd have to look through the box.

Anonymous said...

I can't upload the picture to my blog (especially considering my webpage has been idle for quite some time), but your post reminds me of my mom's wooden box which I too inherited upon her passing. The recipes are very reflective of her middle 30s which were my toddler/early years, and they reflect the times: the odd jello recipe, a butterfly cake recipe, and some "hearty" meals (and I don't mean heart smart either (that would be her 1980s phase).

What a great post! Sad to think that I may actually pass on a ruddy binder with internet print outs to my girls....something is definitely lost in this internet age!


ps: pam, cool, scrapbooking! I love it. Only I wish I had the time. Jason, the packrat, must have been destined to be an archivist, if only for the fact that he stores our prize trinkets in millions of tiny ziplock bags (carefully "placed" -- not really the right word here -- in boxes and, again, "placed" (at random) in the basement.....)

Anonymous said...

hi karen,
I'd love your apple maple sugar pie recipe...forward whenever you have a chance. BTW I think I know where I placed the recipe for that rich brownie-tasting pie. I will try to dig it out of my christmas baking recipe collection (which happens to be a box of magazines and p/copy recipes I've collected...must organize these recipes soon).
take care,
p.s. check out this blog. I basically drool every time I look at it: http://tartelette.blogspot.com/

Al Armstrong said...

She bred the baking into you? Nice one... But, yes, Lois was a great cook and baker, a great gift giver, and just a great person.

By the way, I can't see the script at the top of the french tin, but at first I imagined that it said "Perrie" ... probably too much of a double entendre to be true, eh?

- Al A.

Karen said...

Alas, it isn't Pirrie, but maybe we can just pretend, eh?

Shan said...

Love the story Karen! My recipes are in a little photo album too, but it doesn't seem anywhere near as interesting.