If you looked at the hundreds of recipes I’ve clipped from newspapers and magazines, you’d think I liked to cook. Not really. Or only sometimes. But I do enjoy reading recipes, imagining that I am preparing them and enjoying them. I’m really hooked if there is a picture included. And now Face Book rolls out at least one recipe every day or two that I am convinced I will actually try.
I came by recipe-collecting honestly. My mother had countless recipes clipped from the Boston papers, some glued onto loose-leaf paper and kept in a binder. You can learn a lot about a person’s tastes by the recipes they save. My mother favored cookies : Down-East gingersnaps, Lacy Cookies, and Scotch Bread to name a few. I especially treasure a few written out in her own neat penmanship, often on one of the laundry cardboards from my father’s shirts: brownies, Swedish Tea Cakes, Thin Butter Cookies, and the original snickerdoodles. Interestingly enough, she was an expert fudge-maker, but I never found her recipe for it. My Aunt Dot used to kid her that she supplied all the soldiers in WWI with fudge!
My Aunt Dot favored cakes and special treats. I have her hand-copied recipe for white fruit cake and have made it a few times. I recall going with her to some place in Boston to stand in line to get sugar for it in the early ‘40’s when sugar was rationed. For gingerbread men at Christmas, my Uncle Sam even hand-made a tin and wood cutter, large sized, for us to use. And, of course, this baking project also included the reading of “The Gingerbread Man.”
My Aunt Florine ‘s handwriting is preserved in recipes for “California Chicken Loaf”( which was actually tuna fish), Blushing Bunny, and cherry-cheese Jell-O. My Uncle Is was superintendent of a mill in Millville, NJ, and when the noon whistle blew Florine would begin dishing up the noon meal which was the major one of the day.
Each Monday night, except for the height of gardening season, my father baked three loaves of bread and a dozen cinnamon rolls with nary a recipe in sight, having honed this skill as a baker in the Army. It fascinated me that he weighed the flour on a scale rather than measuring it out by the cup. We were an “early-to-bed” family but on Monday nights we had to stay up until the bread baked and then cooled a bit so we could eat one of the rolls! To this day I have never tasted toast as delicious as that made from my father’s bread.
I’ll still keep printing and cutting out recipes of casseroles, crock-pot creations and anything described as easy, but I’m ready to confess I mostly like reading them, picturing them, and thinking that one day I really make them!”
Dorothy C. Judd (c) 2015
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