A couple of army wives taught me how to make the lasagne and the chicken, some captain taught me how to make the French onion soup, and my mother sent me written instructions on how to make a turkey dinner, since one Thanksgiving I decided to invite about a dozen soldiers from the unit stationed in Aschaffenburg for a Thanksgiving dinner at my tiny apartment. (I still remember a young female sergeant named Carol telling me, upon accepting my invitation: "Just be sure you got plenty of spuds and gravy. I love my spuds and gravy!")
But anyway, soon after Tom and I were married the wisdom of at least one of us learning to cook a more varied menu than my lasagne, chicken, onion soup and turkey dinner became very clear; so as I was already the most experienced, it was decided between us that I'd expand my repertoire and be cook of the outfit while Tom would be the dish washer, an arrangement that continues to suit us to this day.
Anyway, my sister- law- Debbie had given me the Settlement Cookbook as a wedding gift. It was the first cookbook I'd ever owned.
But that cookbook was just the beginning of my culinary odyssey, which has been marked, as every fledgling cook's is, by shining successes and abominable failures.
And yet, though I could hardly find my way around a kitchen 37 1/2 years ago, today I feel like I could write a cookbook. No, make that two cook books: one with all the really good stuff I've ever made and one with all the really awful stuff I've ever concocted; one could be a how-to, the other, a what-never-to-do.
My sister Romaine in her comment reminded me of how at her husband Rick's memorial she handed out copies of Rick's mother's recipe book. I think that's something I would like done at my memorial service. I mean, if I have a memorial service. Though I expect they'll probably throw something together after they've scattered my ashes at Creekside Gahanna, right?
So at my memorial service I think I'd like copies handed out of the recipes for the things I used to make that everybody liked. I like the idea, too, of giving the provenance of each recipe, who passed it on to me, who passed it on to the person who passed it on to me. I guess recipes are kind of like folk history, passed from person to person, generation to generation, always changing a little along the way.
But anyway, if there's to be a recipe booklet to pass out at my memorial service I guess I'll have to first do as Romaine suggested and write all the good recipes down in one place.
Maybe this is something all of us for whom cooking is part of our identity should do: collate all our favored recipes and keep them with our will, to be passed out to our survivors after we're gone. I mean, even if you don't have any money or significant material possessions to pass on, you could give people your good recipes. You could live on in your recipes.
I think that would be a good tradition to start. Leave your will. Leave your recipes. Start writing them on a word document. Enter one a day. Organize them later.
That's what I intend to do. But in the meantime, and just in case in spite of my intentions I never get around to writing down all my recipes, I'll share a few of the more popular ones now: the green beans almondine, the potato casserole, the cherry streusel pie, the taco dip. In fact, I think I've probably already shared some of those recipes in blogs past, but just in case, I'll share them again tomorrow. 8)