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My mother's recipe box contains hundreds
of dishes – but thousands of memories

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Posted By: ladydawgfan, 7/14/2020 7:50:48 AM

It’s been over 11 years since I stepped into my mother’s kitchen back on Long Island, but it all came flooding back the other day when I pulled out her small, olive green metal recipe box. Our kitchen was off the living room at the back of the first floor. Standing at the kitchen sink, you could look over the backyard, to the rusty basketball hoop on the garage roof and our baseball field just over the forsythia bushes. My mom called us from that spot countless times. I wish I had a picture of her standing watch at that window, but it’s probably best remembered in my mind.

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Working link: https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/my-mothers-recipe-box-paul-batura

Most of us have these treasured recipes. I have personally added to them from the wonderful recipe threads that used to grace this site so long ago.

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Reply 1 - Posted by: spacer 7/14/2020 8:16:12 AM (No. 477754)
Loved the story. Mom never had any kind of recipe book. Everything from apple pies , chicken dumplings,cakes and pot roasts were from scratch and memories. Umm, just good eatin.
8 people like this.

Reply 2 - Posted by: pros7767 7/14/2020 8:54:01 AM (No. 477791)
I have all of my mom's and many of my grandmother's handwritten recipes. I still use a lot of them. For me, the memories are cooking with them after school or helping prepare for holiday dinners. I miss them both! I plan to give my sons a hand written recipe book when they get engaged so they have all of our favorite recipes! The author is right. Seeing their handwriting always brings them back to me.
7 people like this.

Reply 3 - Posted by: Daisymay 7/14/2020 9:21:00 AM (No. 477821)
Very touching article. Brings back a lot of memories. That said, I too have lots of Recipes garnered on this Site at Holiday times when we were allowed to share!
9 people like this.

Reply 4 - Posted by: Clinger 7/14/2020 9:54:03 AM (No. 477866)
Fortunately my mom left a good trail to follow. She and my aunt also recreated some of their grandmother's hand full of this pinch of that recipes they were taught on the farm as children.
4 people like this.

Reply 5 - Posted by: Ismeme 7/14/2020 10:40:59 AM (No. 477947)
Good morning L-dotters! I, too, miss the recipe swap Ms. L. once hosted. It would be a balm to the spirit if we were invited to do so once again after this year's election. Our life's traditions are bound to these moments which the left wishes to take from us. Keep the spirit, friends and KAG!!
8 people like this.

Reply 6 - Posted by: DVC 7/14/2020 11:07:47 AM (No. 477973)
My family's biggest cooking deal was my mother's Thanksgiving dinners. Over the years, as we got bigger and married, my sister and my wife and my brother's wife started helping my mother with the meal, a big production. Over time, they learned how to do it "just right". After my mother died, we had the big Thanksgiving dinner at my father's house for some years there after, but as deaths and military transfers made it harder and thinner, it finally ended. But my wife, and my sister and my SIL put together a self-published hardbacked book with recipes and photos of all the dishes and it was distributed to the next generation, and we still occasionally have the big dinner at my sister or brother's homes. We did it last year. The tradition continues. And I started making the bread from scratch each year, some time after I graduated college - and the bread has become my responsibility, and I must say, I have gotten good at making bread, it is a significant contribution to the meal. Family traditions like this are important. Pass it on. But our family is spreading far and wide now, due to military deployments overseas and to far away posts. Makes it difficult to get everyone together.
8 people like this.

Reply 7 - Posted by: karo 7/14/2020 11:10:46 AM (No. 477975)
Sadly, my mom has Alzheimer's and lives in assisted living. But she was a good cook and we still have her recipe box. Meatloaf, beer brisket, rice pilaf, lemon cake, all delicious. My grandmother was not a good cook and mom actually learned how to cook well from a neighbor lady who was a close friend. She had run a cafe with her husband in Montana for years and was an amazing cook. A nice story for a change!
8 people like this.

Reply 8 - Posted by: earlybird 7/14/2020 12:14:40 PM (No. 478032)
I am saving this article. In seventh grade, we had to take one semester of cooking and one of sewing. I already knew how to do both, so it was pretty elementary and boring, but I still have the olive green metal recipe box - they seem to have been standard issue in schools back then; I never saw another until now. Mine is full of cards - typed on old manual typewriters, written in my and my late Mother’s and scores of others’ handwriting. Mine are in handwriting from junior high through long married years. My own maturation is evident. Mother’s contributions were in her beautiful Palmer Method handwriting. She had few recipes of her own, cooking mostly from what she had learned in her mother’s home. From scratch. She was not a casserole cook (except for glorious macaroni and cheese), although a few found there way into her file when my sister-in-law produced some dishes that Mother thought were pretty good. I have gone beyond the little box into a larger box and then boxes of recipes. Some clipped, some copied, some from friends, some carried away after the meetings of the women’s charitable organizations I belonged to in various cities. These collections, no matter how housed, are time capsules of the women who kept them and the times they lived in. Thank you so much for posting this
7 people like this.

Reply 9 - Posted by: YorkieMom 7/14/2020 12:16:24 PM (No. 478035)
Lovely article. I especially liked mom’s advice to her kids, and I have said the same thing to mine. “You’re not learning anything when you’re doing the talking.”
5 people like this.

Reply 10 - Posted by: Timber Queen 7/14/2020 1:00:03 PM (No. 478078)
A really great story and wonderfully written. A nice change of pace from the "news", thank you poster. Batura talked about receiving a letter from someone with similar handwriting as his Mom. I had the same feeling when I saw the card with Joan's writing...so like my mother's. I'm a saver of mementos and have been since I was a kid. I have many of the letters my Mom wrote to me at summer camp, and every book she gave me at Christmas or for my birthday has a handwritten dedication from her. I have her cedar hope chest, her engagement present from my father during the summer of 1941, and her wedding ring set that I wear on my right hand. I have all her cut crystal bowl collection and a pair of cat paintings done by her younger sister, a commercial artist. I also have my Dad's pocket knife and his stamp collection he started as a boy in the 1920's. It was funny, all these treasures were overlooked by my older sisters and they had no interest in the memories held there within. I guess every family needs a historian. I had to laugh at his family's menu. I grew up on the same food, utilitarian and quick to fix. My Mom returned to work as a secretary when I was three and Dad (a morning watch cop) was with me during the day. She had no time for fancy meals. Such wonderful memories stirred by Mr. Batura. Thank you, sir.
7 people like this.

Reply 11 - Posted by: Smart11344 7/14/2020 1:41:22 PM (No. 478119)
My recently departed aunt, age 95, had a wooden recipe box, made of oak wood and was loaded with good stuff. One of my all time favorites was her Oatmeal Bars. Her daughter made me a big batch of them. I hope God allows her to make them in heaven.
2 people like this.

Reply 12 - Posted by: DVC 7/14/2020 6:07:10 PM (No. 478376)
Given the amazing brains who post here....I'd like to see who can remember a TV show. It was on a few years ago, I only watched maybe 4 or 5 episodes. A middle aged, slender, bespectacled male host with graying hair would visit small businesses associated with cooking, and some were, IIRC just family. One was a pair of sisters, I think, who made tons of pies. He hung around and tried to "help", and the real cooks were happy to teach him their special recipes. He moved on, I think he is hosting some other show, or announcing for one of the networks now. Not important, just couldn't think of the name of the host. New Englandish accent, maybe upstate NY. Anyone here know who I am thinking of?
1 person likes this.

Reply 13 - Posted by: ColonialAmerican1623 7/15/2020 3:20:29 AM (No. 478697)
#12 I remember that show but no names of the people. I don't have recipe cards and sadden. I grew up in VA (amazingly, not far from Gov Blackface). We had brunch before we knew it was brunch. Big pans of macaroni with black wax covered NY cheddar cheese, chicken and dumplings, cornbread, biscuits,fresh fish, oysters, blue crab and the anticipated soft shell crab. Could not tell you how they made stewed tomatoes with Ritz crackers. Food is very regional. When people tell me what awful food they ate as kids, I tell them we were rich, but my parents wouldn't tell us. I like to taunt them with my grandmother drinking green tea in the 1940's and we raised kale and soybeans. People who eat fast food are so deprived. Imagine never eating home made macaroni and cheese.
1 person likes this.

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