Sunday, September 25, 2011

Recipe Box

I have a tin recipe box, given to me by my mother when I was a teenager. The original gift came with a set of recipe cards that I promptly filled up with favorites from my mother's recipe books and my grandmother's memory. Over time the box became bloated with recipes torn from the newspaper, sloppily copied down on post-it notes, and printed from emails sent from friends.

I love this recipe box. It houses my mom's recipe for baked beans, written in a shorthand only I can understand. Two copies of a scone recipe that I first learned while on a hiking trip in the White Mountains of NH. I have recipes for Copper Pennies (aka carrot disks cooked with brown sugar) written in my grandmother's spidery script, along with all of my family's Christmas cookie standards. The box continues to grow. Over the summer I added the recipe or BMG's mom's curried rice salad.

Back when I started collecting recipes I did so with the intention of turning to the recipe box as my source for cooking inspiration. I now use the Internet as my primary source for recipes, along with the small collection of interesting recipe books I've amassed over the 25 years I've been cooking.

When I thumb through the recipe box, crowded with little slips of paper filled with delicious (and largely unfulfilled) intention, a pragmatic part of me says, "You've never prepared that recipe for Italian chicken stew you clipped out of The Washington Post in 1990; recycle that slip of paper!"

I don't think of myself as a particularly sentimental person. Except, apparently, when it comes to my recipe box.

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