Our Family Recipe Box

Eric’s parents gave us the most amazing wedding gift (I mean besides our new bed, which is completely awesome and makes it very hard to get up in the morning!). Eric’s mom asked all of Eric’s extended family to share their most special recipes with us. She also passed on many beloved recipes to us, and put them all in this lovely wood box. It was so sweet of all the aunts and uncles to contribute, and so sweet of her to take the time to write out all of the recipes! There is something almost sacred in one’s personal handwriting (as I’ve often felt when I’ve found letters my grandfather wrote), and being able to hold that in your hands just makes you feel closer when you are miles apart.

Cooking is a special thing in Eric’s family, and most beautifully, it is a family thing. Eric’s grandmother was pretty much the queen of pies, and her pastry recipe is a road map to deliciousness. Then there are the special cookies that Eric loved when he was little, and the special cookies that Eric’s dad loved when he was little. It never ceases to amaze me what a powerful thing it is when people gather in the kitchen and around the table. Memories are made and relationships are forged as we break bread together. That’s why my favorite thing about this wedding present is the stories, written on the back of the recipe cards. I didn’t have a chance to look carefully through them until we unpacked, and then I was doubly touched by them: I was holding in my hands the culinary history, and the personal history of generations. Eric’s family is so incredibly wonderful that I wish I’d known them all my life, and, in a sense, this gift gives that to me. When I make these recipes, I will feel like the grandmothers and great aunts are there with me in the kitchen, and that I am carrying on, in a tiny way, a tradition that is so central to this warm and wonderful family.

I loved seeing this recipe for Eric’s mom’s “company meal,” which they often made for guests when she was growing up. What is even more special about it is that she made this meal for me the first time I came to visit. Not only can I attest to its deliciousness (serious yum!), but I can now share it with our company, creating a link between both space and time, generations divided by decades but joined at the heart.

I also loved this one, for one of Eric’s parents’ newlywed dishes. They have been married for over 30 years, and they still love this one! It makes me think about what our specialties are, and which ones we’ll still treasure many years from now. A lot of the dishes I’ve made in the last few months have marked my first use of the many amazing kitchen tools we received as wedding gifts, and I hope I always remember the magic of that 🙂

I think one of the best things about our recipe box is that there’s plenty of room left in it to add more. Eric’s mom is such a wizard in the kitchen that I have no doubt we’ll be asking her for more recipes for years to come. And I’ll have to get my parents to write out some of their favorites for me too. But also, we can start to write down some of our favorites, ones that we’ll hopefully pass on to our children: I like the idea of creating a family chronicle in a recipe box. It’s an incredible gift Eric’s parents have given us!

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