According to Webster, the definition of the word recipe is as follows….A set of instructions for making or preparing something, especially a food dish.
In a literal sense, I suppose that’s true, but as the years have passed I’ve come to understand that those basic instructions written on a card or piece of paper bring the past to life and provide a glimpse of who we were and how we sometimes celebrate those memories and the people who helped shape our lives.
What’s a recipe? It’s the way Grandma would make pizza dough, cutting it into sections, placing it between sheets and wrapping it in a flannel blanket so it would stay warm and rise. It’s your mom’s chicken soup or pasta sauce, neither of which had written instructions; you just had to be there with her and watch as she created tastes and smells that would stay with you your entire life. Or maybe it’s your Aunt Sadie’s homemade manicotti, your mom’s apple crisp or pie crust, your father’s sausage, or the wine your Grandfather made in his basement and let you sip when no one was watching. Sometimes you would watch your father put together a peanut butter and banana sandwich and though you could barely stand the site of it, you’ll never forget the smile on his face as he watched you watch him.
As life seems to go, so do those very special people who helped shape our lives. And yet, we find ways to carry them with us; to birthday parties for Great Grandchildren they never held and holidays they once celebrated, sharing stories about the first time they tasted Grandma’s pecan tart cookies. Recipes are so much more than the food placed before us. It’s where we came from and another way to remember those we love and care about.
Several years ago, one of my daughters thought it would be a good idea to start a family cookbook, using recipes both old and new. Each year, as a family, we contribute new recipes and she adds to it during the Christmas season. It’s part of her gift to us.
The cookbook she created is now part of our history; a place where our past is held close, our present lives and our future will be remembered for generations to come. It’s a place to go for a hug or to browse the pages and remember the memories we shared together.
It’s our recipes of life.