Friday, August 10, 2007

Recipes and Memories

I was going to post my favorite fudge recipe today, but the fudge I made was sub-par as were the pictures. The more I thought about it, the less I wanted to do it. But this is something else that I've been playing around with.

A few weeks ago, I found a cookie tin full of clipped recipes at a thrift shop. It wasn't just full; it was jam packed. For roughly 33 cents, it was a steal and found a nice home on top of my junk. Yet the more I rifled through it, the more I realized that this was something even more special than I originally thought. The lady who horded these recipes (because it's cooking, so yeah, it's a chick. This story is sexist.) put much more than ingredient lists in this tin. Paradoxically, it almost makes me uncomfortable, but feel very comforted at the same time.

She clipped everything. Recipes from newspapers, fliers, soup labels, flour sacks, recipe cards. Some were handwritten on receipts, note paper, and even on the back of personal checks. I really hope she changed her account. Or she's dead, though I'm not exactly cheering for that option. Some have dates- 80s, 90s- and all are aged. But it's not just the recipes.

There were several stamp pages filled with half-peeling proof-of-purchases. Glaring statements that she was working for something to fill her life and home. There are even booklets of something that may be old food stamps. I'm almost terrified to check those and verify if they are because I feel that there's something almost heartbreaking there, in her tin of bare bones recipes and stamp books.

I have an old blank album that sat on my shelf for a few years. It's got a Christmas bear on it, but that doesn't matter. I spent a few hours carefully arranging and taping them in- double-sided tape and as little as possible so as not to ruin the paper. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it yet. Maybe it'll just sit on my bookcase for a while. Maybe I'll ending up giving it away. Either way, it felt like burying the dead. Doing my best to give her little tin respect. Maybe I'm being overly melodramatic, but there it is.

Here are some of the pages.

Maybe it's a sign that it fits so well on my cookbook shelf.

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