My mother nor my grandmother…for that matter not even my mother in law were good cooks.
It is just a fact.
However, when I flip through some old 3 X 5 recipe cards, I see their handwriting. I notice a misspelled word on a card my grandmother wrote. I am reminded that while my mother is left-handed, she uses a “right hander’s slant”.
Their penmanship is lovely. It was a refined, respected art. The art of legible, beautiful handwriting.
I have a basic bean salad recipe that I use probably 3 times a month. I do not add 1/2 cup of white sugar like my grandmother did, I have made small changes to fit our family & our needs. However, every time I make the recipe I remember her.
Same with my mother in law’s banana bread recipe, spaghetti sauce or her Scotch egg recipe. Even though I might replace an ingredient here or there. Her very precise handwriting helps me to remember her.
We all live through and celebrate with great enthusiasm, monumental things and moments in our lives. Weddings, graduations, family reunions & special birthdays. They are lovely and wonderful things to celebrate.
However, on those days that are simply “just another day”………sometimes, those recipes from our family or friends bring us comfort and a feeling of connection.
Today, on another blog, I read these two sentences, “Sometimes a simple recipe passed down from one generation to the next keeps our spirit alive and we are not forgotten. Somehow I find comfort in that.”
May I gently suggest, this summer while you are visiting your mom or grandmother, on a trip back to your home town, or you email your Great Aunt…………… that you gently and kindly ask for a recipe you remember they used to make. If they are able, ask if they can write it out for you in their handwriting.
It is not possible to recapture all the good times and moments of all celebrations……….maybe, just maybe having a Snickerdoodle made with the exact recipe from your mom or a cookie from a friend who is more like family……….. will fill your heart and soul.
While you ponder if you taught them everything they need as they skip off to college or if you worry that you taught them all the right things to say at the next funeral they must attend………I hope for your sake that you have a recipe you can make and enjoy one bite or one cookie.
That is what comfort food is. It is NOT copious amounts of mac n cheese or a tub of ice cream that you eat entirely as you drown your woes. It IS one cookie that brings back good feelings, good memories of our past generations.
That one bite, that one cookie will bring you comfort and warmth. That one bite of banana bread will bring with it a flood of memories and will envelop you with a feeling of goodness & grace your spirit with comfort.
Hey, here is a thought, bake a batch of cookies or a lovely batch of toasting bread and share the food and a handwritten recipe with a family member or dear friend. Maybe one day, our handwriting will give a future generation some modicum of comfort.
One day, when our grands are sending their own children off to college, they will need to make a batch of shortbread for themselves.
They will find Grace and comfort in making a recipe from their grandmother.