The Joy Of Cooking…well, sort of!

August 6, 2010

Every year on my birthday, my mom gives me the same hand written words on a card. She recalls the morning I was born;  ”Perfect as a peach. When the nurses handed you to me I thought you were the most perfect thing I had ever seen. Lips like a rosebud. I’m so thankful that you are my daughter.”

I save them. All! Years ago I started sticking special notes and cards from people I love between the pages of my copy of Joy of Cooking. At first it was only the occasional card that would fall out into the cookie batter or pot of soup. Now, so many years later, the cook book is so full of love notes and cards that it is held together with a gigantic rubber band. I make no attempt to rescue a recipe, its only purpose is to store the treasures I couldn’t bear to part with and didn’t know what else to do with them.

I have note after note from my mother; birthdays, thank you notes, even some are asking for forgiveness. Love notes from my husband (and there are plenty) are mostly filed in the dessert section, since I will remember always that he never could resist a sweet thing. My children’s early scribblings and home-made valentines, wedding invitations and graduation announcements take up as much space as everyone else’s  combined. By comparison I have very few from my father. He didn’t do emotion for so many years. So the cards where a hallmark sentiment, signed, Love Pop (I kept every single one). But in recent years I have received several cards…some a complete hand written paragraph or two. I have received a couple of letters filled with his own words, not relying on the sentiments of a stranger at all. He has written that I am the light of his life, that he is proud of me and that he loves me with all his heart. He doesn’t look back because there is emotion lurking there, so there are no I’m sorry-s, no seeking forgiveness. But there have been words that I have waited a lifetime to hear.

I know that when cards and letters stop coming from my parents I will pour through my cook book one page at a time, savoring the treasures and tidbits wedged in tight; their handwriting, humor and cliché phrases. Their words will call to me from the poultry pages, the molded salads and baked Alaska, while I am trying to cram in birth announcements, inky footprints of a newborn, a kindergartner’s first attempt at mastering the alphabet.

I wonder if Irma S. Rombauer had any idea she was in fact creating a sacred family journal…and for god sake, if there’s a fire grab the cook book.

3 Responses to “The Joy Of Cooking…well, sort of!”

  1. Carol Bernal Says:

    Wonderfully put, dearest friend.
    I cherish the years of cards and letters from Mother, now gone from earth 3 years Sept. 2nd. I have a file, she wrote poetry and even a book. I watched her handwriting begin to shake and finally become all but illegible to even my trained eye.
    I store encouragement from dear friends under the seat cushions of large, comfy chairs, so when I am feeling down, I can sit and re-visit those sentiments.
    Like a bucket in a well, they crank me up into the light, filled with life and new beginnings.
    P.S. I love you.

  2. Hollye Dexter Says:

    A beautiful tradition Kristine.
    I am a saver too, but I have trunks and storage bins full. I literally can’t throw a card or letter away. Maybe mine is less sentiment and more bordering on hoarding?
    But I agree, every once in a while you open up those memories and let the feelings flood you again, and one day you’ll be so glad you saved them all.


  3. Launa Says:

    I enjoy what you guys tend to be up too. Such clever work
    and coverage! Keep up the awesome works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to my own blogroll.

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