Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Cookbook in our Future?

I am seriously thinking about putting together "Our Family's Cookbook".  This Cookbook would be just for us.  Most of our Recipes are now stored in a box about 2 inches deep and just the size of an 8 1/2 by 11 inch sheet of paper.  (That box once held clear plastic sleeves for the early 1980's book I put together on the boys' Mother's quilts.  It makes me smile every time I pull it down.) Of course, we have favorite Cookbooks besides, but most of our favorite Recipes are stored in that box.  That includes alteration and bannings:  reduced sugar, no high fructose corn syrup, no hydrogenated fats, natural sugars (molasses, honey), gluten free.

I have had several observations:
  • What we eat often defines a given time period in our lives. The "Cheesecake Period" comes to mind.  Those Foods have been very much enjoyed but do not meet later tastes and needs.  When a given Food loses its place, the Recipe becomes banished (although not intentionally) to the bottom of the box.  Over the years, the Recipe is cycled into another location, perhaps one of several locations.  Some day, they will all be re-united and they all seem to be looking forward to that.
  • Now that we are living on this little Farm and growing as much of our own food as we can, we cook and eat seasonally.  The Foods that we eat often times give a flash of connection with a given season.  If I would hold up a flash card of a Food and ask one of us to name the season, it would be immediate:  Meat Loaf (Fall, Winter), Wilted Lettuce (Spring), Stuffed Peppers (Fall, Winter), Sauerkraut and Sausages (Fall, Winter), Chicken Bone Broth (Winter), Mint Ice Cream (late Summer), and so on. There are a few that we eat year round, but not nearly like we did before when we lived in town, had a smaller garden, and just bought Foods whenever we wanted them (within reason, of course).
  • What that means is that the Recipes in the box are always rotating.  Those which are "in season" are at the top.  When their season is past, they move toward the back.  When those recipes are at last moving close to the bottom, their season arrives and it is time to dig them out once again.  
  • For us, it would make sense to build a Cookbook around seasons.  Those old Cookbooks which have sections on Meat/Fish/Poultry, Desserts, Vegetables and Salads, and so on seem to disconnect us with the rhythms of the land. I find them less useful than a seasonal organizational system.  At least that feels right now and I would like to "play with it". 
  • A few years back, I made Melanie a Cookbook and it was quite clever, if I say so myself.  The Cookbook included all time family favorites.  With each Recipe, I included pictures of Melanie and our family at the time that the food became a favorite. It was really sweet.
  • I can see that the future "Our Family's Cookbook" would integrate pictures of us too.  Plus, it would incorporate pictures of family members who have passed on traditional Recipes that have become part of our fare like: Grandma Crawford's Molasses Cake (the original and the update), Grandma Dora's Povitica, Grandma Lottie's Steamed Pudding (with her picture and Aunt Ruthie's picture because it was Aunt Ruthie who brought it back).
In my spare time, I shall work this up. 

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