I love cookbooks. My collection of recipes is ridiculous. The collection started in high school, from a co-worker at a part-time job after school. I worked at an accounting office during tax season after school and on the weekends. One day, Tess, a tax consultant brought in this amazing sour cream coffee cake. To this day, Tess’s recipe, handwritten on a piece of paper from the tax office is still part of my collection of recipes. I was hooked from that day forward on collecting and trying recipes. Tess’s recipe was the first but not the last. Now, I read a cookbook, make a copy of the recipes I want to try and then donate the book to the local library. Not all of the books, thank goodness get donated.
Recently, I took a good look at all the recipes I have accumulated over the years. I felt overwhelmed by how many cookbooks and cut out recipes I have. I decided to purge the cookbooks and get rid of most of my collection.
Autographed cookbooks are here to stay, that’s a given. There are a few that I still enjoy going through again and again, but the majority will be donated. This task of getting rid of my cookbooks isn’t easy for me but slowly I am getting it done. Then a miracle happened. To my surprise, I found my mom’s 1951 The American Family Cookbook. Inside, she had cut out magazine and newspaper recipes with check marks next to recipes she must have tried. Not only did she save recipes but a there was a four-page article on wine and a cocktail guide using Sambuca. Mom did love her cocktails! Mom and Dad were great entertainers and good cooks, both of them. Many a party, holiday, and Sunday dinner was at our house. Of course we had a bar in the basement where all the adults gather and I guess those cocktail recipes came in handy.
Among her handwritten recipes I found how to make meatballs and sauce. This must have been told to her by my gramma, my dad’s mom. It was common in my mother’s generation, to receive recipes from their Italian husbands’ mothers. I know my mom and her sisters, all married to Italian men, got instructions from their mother-in-laws. The hand-written recipes are the icing on the cake for someone like me who loves to collect recipes. Nothing could be more precious and priceless than finding my mom’s recipe cookbook and handwritten recipes. For me finding this cookbook and her recipes, was my mom telling me – I am still here with you. What better joy is there than that!
My Veteran’s Day Fundraiser was able to ship 30 care package boxes to our American soldiers filled with chocolate chip cookies, books, candies, magazines, lotions, cards, etc.
Thank you to Westchester Hebrew High School for their contributions and student/faculty/parent help in packing and paying for the cookies and shipping fees for the boxes. This is a joint effort and all persons who contributed made this a successful fundraiser.
The photos were received from two soldier units that enjoyed our care package boxes.
A cookie jar can be anything that contains cookies! The cookie jar is easily reachable and usually holds a place of honor and importance on the kitchen counter. A kitchen that has a cookie jar instantly makes me feel comfortable with the person who owns it. My kitchen has had many a cookie jar over the years. They were usually big ceramic holiday theme shaped figurines that lasted through the season.
But there has been one cookie jar that has been in my kitchen for over 30 years. It is a large white enamel bread box. At one time it was my husband, Tom’s, Grandma Nanni’s cookie jar. Grandma Nanni kept her bread box which was used as her cookie jar within arm’s reach from her kitchen table. Inside were homemade cookies or store bought biscotti. The first time I met Grandma Nanni, I was just a young, nervous, teenage girl who was dating her grandson. With open arms she welcomed me into her kitchen and took cookies out of the bread box to serve Tom and I. From that moment on, I was hooked on Grandma Nanni. Tom and I shared a special common bond of living in the same house as our Italian grandmothers, both named Mary. Even though Grandma Nanni and the bread box had seen better days, together they were a wonderful sight to see on any given day. Grandma Nanni made not only me but everyone who came into her home and into her kitchen, happy just to see her. With a cookie or a meal, she was all about feeding you the minute you walked in the door.
The bread box in my kitchen is a constant reminder of Grandma Nanni and her love of family. It is on top of my refrigerator, as my kitchen is very small and the bread box is very large. But it is a part of Tom’s and my own past that is too precious to give up. The mere presence of the bread box from days gone by represents the love of grandmothers for their families. As a grandmother myself, I can only hope my grandchildren will one day cherish something of mine with as much fondness as I have for Grandma Nanni’s bread box!
Somebody’s Mom met Martha Stewart. I was invited to an event at her offices in Manhattan. My friend, Patti, came along. We were working the room of about 200 people, trying to give my card out.
When all of sudden, who is standing in front of me, but Martha Stewart herself. She looks fantastic. I introduced myself and told her how I was invited, (through the Macy’s cooking demo) and handed her my card. I forgot I had a camera with me and asked if I could take a picture with her. She said I could, and was so nice about it. Just as she was about to leave, I told her I brought her my sour cream coffee cake. She took it. Martha Stewart may actually taste my sour cream coffee cake. After that I was done, this was enough excitement for one night. Patti and I left to head home. As we were getting into the elevator, Patti whispered to me, “Hold the door, hold the door!” Who walks into the elevator with us, but Martha Stewart!
She asked if we enjoyed the event while taking the elevator down with us. Martha and me, we bonded together for 9 floors and then she was gone. Maybe we will meet again. Hey, you never know! Thanks, Martha, it was fun!