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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010

Merry Christmas! We're so grateful for the abundance we are able to enjoy and share!

My lovely daughter, Madelyn, and her boyfriend, Robb, came in on Wednesday night. Thursday we had a big roasted turkey dinner before Robb had to head home for work and to continue his celebrations with his family. Christmas eve was a day of traveling. We visited with my in-laws and my parents and grandma. All my life we've celebrated Christmas eve with the grandparents and had Christmas day for relaxing at home. Today's Christmas celebration was really our fourth of the season.

Receiving Pat's kitchen wisdom.

While visiting my in-laws, we got to talking about all the treats of Christmas past. My beloved mother-in-law, Pat, suffers from dementia. Sharing memories of her has become so precious and important. Pat was a fantastic cook and taught me much of what I know. Madelyn and I decided to browse through the family cookbook. I think most houses have something like this - a notebook or bundle of recipes collected over the years. These are precious family artifacts. To my great surprise, Bill gifted me with this one! Because I am interested in recipes and the stories that go with them, I have now been gifted with two of these precious heirlooms. Earlier this year, I received my Pappy's recipe book. (I had two Pappy's - my grandfathers. This one is my maternal grandfather.) His looks much like the one above, but is brown. Like Pat's, it has a combination of handwritten, typed and clipped recipes. My Pappy's notebook also contains notes and recipes from his young adult years when he worked as a chef in a hotel. My Grandma Betty gave it to me when I showed interest in it.
Because I've been part of my husband's family for about 30 years, I have a good idea which of these recipes were repeated family favorites and which were collected for experimentation.

My father-in-law has taken over the cooking duties and has become very proficient. He has several specialties that we all love. When he gave me Pat's book, he told me that his frequent-use recipes are on the pantry door.

Bill's Perfect Soup
Bill's soup is taped up above the other recipes. He makes this soup once a week and it is delicious. It was developed by trial and error and is now Bill's Perfect Soup. (I think I'll let him know that this should be it's official name.) When my daughter grows older and starts a family of her own, won't it be wonderful to have artifacts like this recipe to help tell her children the stories of their great grandparents?

I have so many cookbooks. I've been meaning to share some of them for a while. I have a collection that crosses several generations of my family. My own cooking recollections are taking shape in this blog, but are totally unorganized in my kitchen. There are printouts, scribbles and note papers everywhere! I realize that I don't have a cohesive legacy like these little rubber banded notebooks. So, while I don't usually make New Year's resolutions, it seems that one is shaping up for me - create a non-electronic cooking legacy for my descendants. I hope any cooking folks who read this little blog will consider doing the same. I love to enjoy food wisdom and sharing on the interwebs, but who knows what formats will still be around two or three generations from now. It's time for me to back it all up on files that only require eyes to read.
Heartfelt warm wishes for 2011!

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