To me, my mom’s recipe box is like a magic box. But rather than containing spells and potions, it holds a treasure trove of tastes from previous generations. Written on paper weathered by time and dotted with smears of chocolate or dabs of oil, it allows a wonderful trip down memory lane, or a peak into a time long since forgotten.
I see my grandmom’s recipe for meatballs or pizzelles, and brushing a finger over her handwriting makes me feel like she’s right there with me. Or my mom’s recipe for Christmas cut-out cookies, and remember how year after year, she’d let us invade the kitchen like a bunch of deranged elves and decorate the cookies to our hearts’ content.

Tucked among the countless number of cards are recipes only eaten at special holidays, notes dashed off correcting ingredient quantities or cooking times, recipes for cleaning solution (yep, vinegar is both for dressing salad and furniture polish), and so much more.

Some of the names aren’t familiar to me. I never met Great-Aunt Dora, and Millie’s Snowballs aren’t a family recipe per se… (a family friend somewhere along the generational line of my grandparents or great-grandparents, but I have no doubt that she was thought of and treated as family). There are tons of recipes dashed off in my grandmom’s writing that list a half-dozen ingredients, but zero instructions, and no title. Apparently, she just remembered how to do everything, and knew what each card meant. Plus, Italian ladies weren’t known for being generous with sharing their recipe secrets. While growing up, I heard on more than one occasion, “This doesn’t get shared outside the family…”

At my bridal shower, the attendees presented me with my own recipe box. Each person had contributed at least one recipe to it to start me off. It’s a special collection, rimmed in colorful borders, and again, shows the bonds that span the years. My favorite one is from an aunt who hates to cook: “Put water in ice cube tray. Freeze. There you go – ice cubes.”

While I have tried a few of those, the ones I return to again and again are the ones I copied from my mom’s box. Each recipe card contains a least one memory – but more likely, dozens. Laughter, smiles, mistakes, spills, creations, tastes, and happiness. It’s a wonderful record of family history.

Thanks Susan Scott Shelley for the fabulous share and peek into your life:-)

Whats great about recipes? I swam them with not only my mom but my dad, too!