On Heirloom Recipes

For a long time I was remiss about not getting recipes from someone when our lives were shared, particularly those relatives we all have who were known for making a dish that everyone remembers, most often for a pie, cake or cookie, but canning recipes ran a close second, particularly pickles, then there were sauces such as barbecue and Jezebel followed by casseroles, stews and breads.

I once felt as if those recipes were irreplaceable riches that had been swallowed by the maw of time, but that feeling has passed; now I’ve come to realize that this remarkable world does indeed go around, and those cooks who will be remembered are here with me now. If fact, we should all realize that getting recipes from others is important, perhaps even crucial in some larger scheme of things, and we must have them even if we have to beat the holy hell out of someone to do it.

It’s our duty as members of the human race.

2 Replies to “On Heirloom Recipes”

  1. Amen, brother! It isn’t simply a recipe, but the memory of a person much loved (hopefully) and forever missed. I have been extremely fortunate. Mama and Mrs Wood, the woman who was like a grandmother to me, had their recipes copied and given out to family. Here, many people make self-published books of their grandmother’s recipes for extended relations. Italians are particularly conscientious about this. It’s a nice thing to see. Smell is our most powerful and strongest memory. One smell can start a whole cascade of sounds and sights, taking us back to a particular kitchen, picnic, or cat-fight between mavens at a dinner on the grounds.

  2. and unfortunately following a passed-along recipe exactly still doesn’t always turn out the dish of our memories… sometimes it’s the stove, or the season, or the laughter from the kitchen, that makes that tiny but tacit difference…

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