My Mother’s Recipes

This morning I set out to make cookies for my brother. Unable to find my own notes, I went to my cookbook shelves and, for the first time in a long time, pulled out a small wooden box of recipe cards. I had expected my grandmother’s handwriting, but opening it, I began to thumb through card after card in my mother’s hand.

Seeing her familiar writing, I remembered the years this recipe box had stood in one kitchen or another of her houses. I flipped past a recipe for “Trudy’s Bran Muffins” but stopped briefly at “Scripture Cake,” where each ingredient had its own passage from the Bible, and which was written in what was most likely my great-grandmother’s hand, since the notation read “copied 1893.”

I made a mental note to come back and investigate the typewritten letter, from my grandmother, no doubt, nestled in among the cards. “The lawyer said she would be unable to take the strain if Jensen did want to come home,” read the fragment that caught my eye. (On the other side, a recipe, also typed, for rhubarb crisp.)

I put the recipe box back onto the shelf. A small wooden box, now leaking dust, crammed full of instructions on recreating memories.

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