Food sustains us both physically and spiritually. Food is not just fuel to keep the body going – it’s love, friendship, family, memory, comfort, home – its life.
Whether I am preparing something just for me, cooking for my partner, preparing a potluck dish to share or planning a dinner party, I often find myself solely focused on the experience of preparing the dishes. The act of cooking, the chopping, measuring, stirring, and simmering always takes me to my happy place. Then, of course, there is the eating…
All cooks have our specialties, the recipes we’ve perfected through trial and error, the dishes people request us to bring to every event. My grandmother kept her recipes on index cards in a box above the stove, while in my kitchen, recipes are “organized” in a binder. Some of my favorite recipes are still on my grandmother’s index cards, others are handwritten by mom on note paper while others are printouts shared by hosts following a dinner party or recipes I’ve found online. It’s obvious which are my favorites, they are the recipes covered in notes with some ingredients being scratched out and others added. All are lovingly protected in plastic sleeves.
This year, I’m combining my specialties with family favorites and printing an “official” family cookbook to give as Christmas gifts to extended family members. I’ve assembled recipes for our nostalgic favorites like mom’s pecan pie and Nanny’s “secret” turkey stuffing, plus our adult favorites like my sister’s eggnog and my brother’s chicken curry. Of course, my “regionally famous” pimento cheese and championship chili recipes will be included among many others. To make it ours, I’m asking family members to contribute stories and anecdotes specific to the dishes and/or the holidays in which they were served.
What could be a better gift than all the tastes, smells and memories that span three generations?
As my nieces head off to college, move into their own homes and start their own families, I hope to one day visit and see dog-eared copies of this book annotated and bulging with the recipes they have discovered and perfected.
Then I will know my work is complete.
If you want to create and print a family cookbook, we’ve selected a few of our favorite cookbooks just in time for the festive holiday season.
Wishing you and your family the very best in 2016.
Other 2016 Gift Ideas
Writer extraordinaire and generally amazing guy, Glenn makes sure that every day is the best day ever.