’Tis the season some of us get all mushy over recipes.
I love planning holiday meals! (Passing on a bit of well-learned wisdom from over the years — I do know that the planning and anticipation is most likely going to be much more satisfying than the actual event, but I always push that way back into the deep, dark annals of my mind.)
I recently went through literally hundreds of recipes, cut out from newspapers and magazines, from friends, handed down from relatives, even some that came with gifts as far back as one of my wedding showers!
I forced myself to finally throw a good portion of them away.
The ones I saved are treasures and I carefully trimmed them and fitted them into clear plastic sheets and organized them into two white binders — volume one and volume two.
I thought about re-typing each one but then decided that the yellowed, handwritten ones, food stained and full of little notes written on them were actually my favorites.
Those old recipes really tell a story – the ’80s for example – It seems like we used onion soup packets in just about everything!
I donated so many cookbooks when I moved from Ohio to South Carolina, but I had to save my favorites and I’m so glad I did. My nostalgic state of mind had me going through all of the cookbooks I have left, thumbing through the dog-eared pages – how worn out the page in the Silver Palate cookbook where the timeless chicken marbella recipe is, but truly, is there nothing more delicious? Everything and anything Martha Stewart and Ina Garten — I have 11 of her cookbooks and I wouldn’t part with a single one.
Two of my most cherished books came from my mom and back in the days when we were little, they were the only ones she used: “The Molly Goldberg Jewish Cookbook” for holidays and “The Settlement Cookbook…The Way To A Man’s Heart” (her cooking and independent thinking became more sophisticated as she got older). The fudge recipe on page 520 has little chocolate fingerprints that are close to 60 years old.
Some of my best recipes are from grandma’s, aunts, moms and neighbors and they aren’t even my grandma’s, aunts, moms and neighbors, but somehow, over the years they feel like they are. I know them through their beautiful food.
Finally came three days of list making, shopping and cooking, and then Thanksgiving dinner was served – small but mighty, there were six of us including a 7-year-old and a 4-year-old. The 7-year-old looked at the food, turned green and demanded frozen pancakes. The 4-year-old only wanted “cold” mashed potatoes. Dinner was served at 5:00 and finished by 5:20.
Once the leftovers were put away — lots of leftovers — and the dishes were done and the house was once again quiet, I glanced at my Thanksgiving centerpiece, the only reminder that there had been a holiday meal at all. Although tired, it took every ounce of willpower to resist the urge to take out volume one and volume two and begin looking through recipes for the December holidays.
Tomorrow would be soon enough.