I never really realized I love cooking so much until I started scrap-booking my recipes. It all started when I got the idea a few years ago to make copies of all my favorite recipes and compile them into a homemade cookbook to give to my oldest daughter as a birthday present. In order to do that, I made copies from my favorite cookbooks (sometimes re-writing a lot for the changes I made to them through the years), and I also wrote out a lot from memory, and even found some recipes that my own late mother had hand written for me.
I arranged these recipes on regular sheets of computer paper, along with illustrations from old books and magazines, and also my own little doodles and embellishments. And of course I didn’t stop at recipes for food, I also included herb charts, home remedies, helpful hints, formulas for making one’s own natural cleaning products, and menu suggestions for holidays… Then I took them all to a copy machine, made a copy of each to go into my daughter’s cookbook, and saved the originals for my original master copy. For both sets, I used a large three ring notebook and a whole lot of page protectors- that way the pages can be taken out, rearranged and updated, and there’s always room to add more.
So I’ve added to and altered my copy occasionally over the past few years, looking forward to the days when I will be giving copies to each of my other children when they grown. I have a feeling all four copies will be different, because who knows when I’m going to finish altering it?! Actually I have been working a great deal on it lately and I think I may be reaching a tentative finishing point soon- the point where I think very little changes will be made from there on (at least by me)… This project is one that I am very proud of. Sometimes I just like to open up the book when I’m not even going to cook anything- just to look at the pages.
Then the other day I had a funny thought; handing down this recipe book, for me, is akin to handing down a family “book of rituals”. So many of the recipes are tied in with pagan/heathen holidays and traditions! A lot of our favorites were a result of my interest in trying dishes from Irish and German culture to honor our ancestors, not to mention a rich thick mix of Ozark recipes that honors our more recent ancestors. So many of the meals I prepare seems to be symbolic in some way; in honor of this or that holiday, or a particular deity or ancestor. And yes, I have made note of that significance, where practical, in the book itself.
I hope this family cookbook continues to be passed down through the generations, and I hope that those meanings never get lost. For I’m sure each generation will have something to add of their own.