My Mother’s Recipe Box

My mother’s recipe box is one of my keepsakes that is constant and comforting. It is metal, green, old, a bit worn, but full of delicious and comforting food ideas, holiday goodies, and most importantly, my mother’s handwriting. Every time I see one of her hand written recipes, or really anything with her handwriting, I feel close to her even though she has been gone many years.

My mother loved homemaking, and really enjoyed cooking and collecting recipes. While most of the recipes are written by hand there are some pages torn from a newspaper or magazine, some of them attached to index cards with yellowed tape. Some of the recipes were never tried, but looked good to her, so earned an honored spot in her collection.

She used to get ‘women’s magazines’ back then, and would save several issues then decide to downsize. This meant going through the magazine and tearing out the pages she wanted to keep. From there she would copy, cut, or tape the new recipes that still fill the green recipe box to this day. I wouldn’t dare throw any of them away. They are part of mom.

Several of the recipes have multiple cards written for them. I love this because it means each of my children will someday get an actual hand written version of a special recipe. Why she wrote so many of them, I have no idea. But I’m glad she did.

Going through the cards also brings to mind family and friends long gone. Laura’s Potatoes & Green Beans, Jessie’s barbecue. Gone but not forgotten by the food they made so well and mom enjoyed. What a compliment to be asked if someone could have a copy of your recipe!

A few of the cards even have my name on them. I think of the ones she enjoyed and the things I have discovered and added to my own recipe box since she passed. My mother loved cucumbers but I don’t recall her ever making cucumber salad, which is a standard summer salad for our family. She would have loved it and so many of the other foods we now eat and enjoy that just weren’t popular back then or that we just didn’t eat. Oh how she would have loved the popular sheet pan dinner!

I am also reminded of how differently I cook than mom did. Several things are fried in lard. A lot of the recipes have creamed soups, which I generally avoid except for the beloved green bean casserole. And speaking of green bean casserole, I don’t remember mom ever making that even one time and no recipe card is in her box for it. Crazy!

Many of the recipes remain untried, and the family favorites are now copied in my own handwriting in my new recipe card box. Dad’s pizza crust and sauce recipes – amazing especially since he had never tried pizza until he met my mother- mom’s potato salad, Pennsylvania Dutch dressing for Thanksgiving, lasagna, and more. All part of our family history and being added to by me and my children.

Mom’s recipe box is much more than just a box of ideas, it is a box of memories and love.