Monday, May 20, 2013

My Mother's Recipes

 This is my mother's recipe box. Or, rather, this was my mother's recipe box. It is still very difficult for me to think of her in the past tense. This is the one thing, more than anything else, that I most wanted after she passed away. It is no ordinary recipe box. My father made it, I painted it, and my mother filled it with decades of culinary history. I had considered cleaning it up, and touching up the paint, but thought that I would leave it exactly as it was when it sat on her counter now that it has taken up permanent residence on mine. 
This box was just one of the many craft items that my mother and I made to sell at our annual holiday bazaars, a tradition that began in the seventies and lasted for two decades. We always enjoyed doing crafts. She was the seamstress, I was the stitcher and painter, and for a while, my aunt joined us contributing her extensive designs of dough ornaments. As we became more experienced and mature, so did our offerings. Looking back at the early pictures makes me wonder how we managed to sell anything, much less sell out in the course of mere hours.
Here was are, ca. 1977, l-r me, my mom, my aunt.
Here is an assortment of our handmade items.
 In addition to selling our handmade wares, we spent two days prior to the sale (always held the first weekend in December) baking cookies, candies, cakes, pies, breads and sweet rolls. When I look back on these energetic and productive days, I wonder how we ever did it. 
The secrets to a lot of our sought after baked goods are contained within this box. One day I invited my aunt and cousin over for lunch and to sort through the recipes.  It was like taking a walk back in time as each of us had own our memories of different recipes and how and when the prepared dish had been served. 

I'm going to share both recipes and memories with you here on the blog beginning tomorrow. Tell me about the recipes from your past that have the most meaning for you.

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Janet Rudolph said...

Wonderful post.

~~louise~~ said...

Oh Pattie, what a touching post. Isn't it amazing how food comes to life as you finger your way through an "old" recipe box? I've seem many in my day but never one so carefully constructed in style and memory.

I look forward to your posts about yesteryear. Thanks for sharing...

P.S. The only thing I've ever made for a Christmas Bazaar was pine cone Santas, lol...

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Pattie, I have tears in my eyes reading this. What a lovely tribute to your mother and aunt, and how wonderful that you got that recipe box. It is SO cute, and it makes it even better that your dad made it for her. Leave it just as it is because it is so very special. I wish I had known you then because I'm sure I would have gone to your sales. I loved craft sales, and a friend of mine used to always have them. That's a great picture of you, and those are some cute items and wonderful memories.

Big hugs...



Alycia Nichols said...

This is good for the healing process, Pattie. I'm so glad you posted this and that you will be sharing recipes from your Mom's very special recipe box with us.

You can almost tell right away that the photo of you, your Mom and your Aunt was from the late 70s!!! Wow! I remember wearing those "dog ear" collars under sweaters!!! Very stylish! And your Aunt in that pantsuit!!! Other than Hillary Clinton, I don't think we've seen pantsuits like that since the time this photo was taken! Such fun memories! I'll bet you were wearing wedge heels, too! :-) (Funny how they came back into fashion in recent years! I even have a pair!)

It sounds like you guys kept VERY busy back in the day. I don't know how you did it, either! That's a HUGE undertaking!!! But you did it, and you had fun, and you have those memories to bank. That's a good thing.

The recipe from my past that has the most meaning is probably the 5-flavor Bundt pound cake my Mom started baking back in the 70s. I have the original recipe card in my collection, and I bake one a couple of times a year. I posted the recipe on my blog because it is so special and tastes so good. The other recipe would be my Mom's dressing/stuffing. My Mom was never the greatest cook in the world (she was more a career woman, and anything to do with the house was not a priority and left to hired help to do), but she could get DOWN with that dressing at Thanksgiving time!!! She recently shared the "recipe" - which is straight out of her head - with me. I'm working to perfect it.

Great post, Pattie. Looking forward to seeing the recipes and reading the stories behind them.

Linda said...

How precious are those memories. My Mom made me a recipe box - a small index card size that she decoupaged. It was the only time I ever knew her to do a craft, and I cherish that little box. One of the recipes that I treasure is one that she wrote on a piece of note paper. She simply lists the ingredients - no measurements - of a taco meat and rice dish she made, which my daughter loved.

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

What a charming recipe box! Hold on to those happy memories.

Debra@CommonGround said...

Hi Pattie, how wonderful that you have that perfect treasure from your mom. We used to do a similar sale and now it makes me tired just thinking about how much work it was! LOL!! glad you're keeping the box "as is"!