Monday, November 22, 2010

My Own Little Time Machine

I sent out a plea to everyone I know who knits or crochets for scrap yarn for my afghan project. How's that going, you ask? Well, I'm still working at it. NaNoWriMo is taking a lot of my focus away along with all sorts of various other tasks and distractions, but I'm still plodding along. The reason I bring it up is that my wonderful aunt sent me a box full of yarn and a few other surprises. The best surprise was one of my grandmother's cookbooks.

I'm not talking about my grandmother's copy of The Joy of Cooking or any other sort of published tome. This cookbook is essentially a scrapbook. It's full of scraps of paper, recipe cards, and even typing paper wedged, glued, and hole-punched in place. It's simply amazing. The book is more than just a collection of recipes, it is a scrapbook. It is a glimpse into my grandmother's life.

It helps that my grandmother was a librarian. Being a librarian, or in my case raised by librarians, gives one an overwhelming urge to cite every source, it seems. Noted with almost every recipe whether typed, handwritten, photocopied, or clipped from a newspaper is a little notation of where it came from. It's a time capsule.

There's one recipe hand-written by one my grandmother's students from her time teaching fourth grade. There's a basic bread recipe and numerous variations on it from when my grandmother learned to bake bread during "WWII (the big one)." A handful of recipes are from my great-grandmother, who I never got a chance to know. Just being able to look at all these scraps of paper covered in my grandmother's handwriting is rewarding.

I think one of the absolute best things is that I can now share recipes with my husband that I grew up eating. There are tons of recipes I remember loving, and even more I can't wait to try. If I'm really lucky, going based on the ingredients underlined in the dozen or so spaghetti sauce recipes in the book, I may be able to cook up something close to the amazing spaghetti sauce that neither my mother nor grandmother got a chance to teach me to make.

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