This past weekend, my family and I traveled to move my father's parents out of their house and into a new apartment. In the span of one weekend, we packed up over twenty years of stuff and memories to boot. While my parents, aunts and uncles tackled piles of pictures, books and childhood toys, my grandmother encouraged me to poke around the kitchen and take anything I fancied. Naturally, you can imagine my excitement as I rifled through drawers of cast-iron biscuit tins and aluminum measuring cups--a foodie dream realized.
In the midst of my rummaging, my mom called me into the living room. In the closet underneath the staircase, she had happened upon an old box of my Nana's recipes. I couldn't believe that my Nana didn't want to keep any of these recipes and so I spent the entirety of the afternoon pouring over old recipes. Some were hand-written, others were written on the backs of envelopes, store receipts, even brown paper bags. The recipes told stories of Sunday breakfasts, birthday parties and weekends spent fishing at my grandparent's ranch. Even when I stumbled upon the occasional culinary land mine, enter her chocolate and mayonnaise cake, I didn't have the heart to let even the most bizarre recipe fade away. There was something magical about trying to decipher my Nana's faded cursive and imagining her hard at work in the kitchen.
Later that day, as we travelled from room to room dividing up my grandparent's possessions, we finally made it back to my favorite room. As my aunts snagged their favorite serving bowls and platters, I patiently waited to snag a few treasures of my own. I came away with a veritable hodge podge of goodies ranging from my great aunt's china to three charming, but well-worn Wonder Shredders™ from the 1930s. Last but not least, I managed to convince my aunts to let me take Nana's box of old recipes home. Knowing that many of these recipes wouldn't last long in their current state, I offered to scan and transcribe each recipe. Recollections of warm, flaky beer biscuits for breakfast and my Nana's pinwheel cookies are some of my fondest childhood memories and in preserving all of her recipes, I can be confident that I'll always have her with me in the kitchen.