Saturday, March 18, 2017

I Have A Recipe Box But...

The little metal stove was my grandfather's when he was a kid in the early 1900's.

I do have a recipe box (see photo above) which my Dad gave me when I left home to get married at age 19. There are old family recipes in it on index cards, including a couple written by my late grandmother.

But see, here's the thing - I grew up in a house where my mother HATED to cook and my father would have been happy to eat steak or hamburger, and mashed potatoes with canned corn or peas every night (oh, gee, we pretty much did) and overeasy eggs with bacon, toast and butter every breakfast. I don't remember him having a preference  about lunch actually. He probably grabbed a sandwich at the office. Coffee and chocolate were his other two food groups. I taught myself to cook to have some variety but mostly so I could have cake more than once a year on my birthday, which was my mother's grudging compromise when it came to baking. She also made one lemon meringue pie annually. I pretty much concentrated on learning to make my own favorite desserts.

My late husband was a foodie and one of those people who could look at a pantry full of ingredients and whip up some fabulous dish from his mind. He did not need recipes! He would have loved the "Top Chef" program. I love to watch the show, but more for the personalities involved and the way the challenges go. Although I do salivate at the many seared scallop dishes each season...

When I look inside my recipe box, other than desserts, a lot of the 'treasured' family recipes are really plain ones from a 1950's USDA cookbook for new brides that my mother was given when she got married. Lots of butter and eggs. The ones from my days as a mother cooking for the family tend to be casseroles done with the most basic of basics. Good for reheating. Good with catsup.  I also had a tendency not to write down recipes the way they were originally set forth but as I simplified them or revised them, so for instance, our favorite beef n cheese crescent pie now omits ALL the spices but salt. I do include the green beans that the recipe calls for - one of my offspring so loathes the green beans that I wrote it into one of my novels as an in-joke. (The alien heroine cannot bring herself to eat green beans.) I also didn't bother to write down my specific steps in preparing anything, so the index cards aren't very helpful. Hey, I know how to make the dish!

Currently I open cans for the cats, who are very non demanding. I now have a chronic health condition that severely limits what I myself can eat, so I have the same three simple meals pretty much every day. Occasionally I splurge on either a dessert or a dinner out, knowing full well I'll "pay for it" later. I don't cook anything complicated. Or even from the 1950's USDA pamphlet.

So no, dear Readers, I won't be sharing any recipes with you today. Sorry! (Not're better off, trust me.)

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