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!