My Grandmother used to make a marvelous fresh apple cake. It was an heirloom recipe, generations old. Imagine how sad I was when I finally asked her for that recipe and she replied…”hmmm, I wonder which apple cake that could be and which cookbook it might be in?”
Years later, at a small group gathering after church one Sunday night, a dear older woman invited us all to have coffee - and guess what she served? I jumped off the sofa and followed her straight back to the kitchen!
Food has the wonderful power to satisfy us in ways nothing else can, to bring back memories of people and times we long to stay connected to. Cookbooks and recipe collections, especially those created by family and friends, make wonderful gifts. Christmas is coming. There are graduation and wedding gifts, shower gifts…perfect opportunities to begin filling in some of the great, blank books available or to CREATE your own heirloom recipe books!
Buy an antique or old wooden box, make or buy a pretty recipe box, and fill it with recipes from mom, aunts, and grandmothers. If the gift is for an occasion surrounding a wedding, make sure to include both sides of the family, perhaps even a couple recipes from a loved one who’s passed on. Wrap it up with a packet of new cards to encourage the tradition to go on.
Fill a pretty notebook, one that you can wipe clean, with recipes you’ve typed on the computer and printed. Put each recipe page in a plastic sleeve, which can also be wiped clean! Add color photocopies of the original recipe pages or cards, yellowed and stained, in the original handwriting. Add copies of some old photographs: of grandma wiping her hands on her apron, and of your children - licking the mixing bowls, elbow deep in cookie dough, or covered in their first birthday cake! Computers make this so easy, and once the initial work is done, a book for each child is available at the touch of “print”.
You can be as fancy and creative as you like, or keep the collections very simple. You don’t even need to do the entire book at once, begin it now and plan installments. Once the book begins to take shape, the beneficiary can have input too and each holiday can bring a new special addition. Have fun.