There’s something priceless about a hand written recipe. Usually hand written recipes on recipe cards arrive because of a request. We ask for a favorite recipe and someone takes the time to write it down. The request comes after something delectable catches our gastric attention.
Often the memory of a first taste gets linked to the recipe card like a photo. Nana’s Christmas pudding recipe brings back memories of the Santa Anita Avenue house on Christmas when the woman who didn’t drink tried to light the brandy sauce on fire—usually with help, as it arrived on the table. The original recipe is in her handwriting and makes me teary eyed as I pull it out each year.
I just went to a memorial service for Francie’s Mom. I carried azaleas as I talked about the cheese soufflé recipe she wrote out for me when I got married. It has a permanent place in my recipe box.
I still have Linda Beattie’s recipe for shortbread. She lived with us in California for a year when I was 7-8 and I loved her British shortbread from North Ireland. The secret was mixing rice flour in with her regular flour. Her 30-something son just visited us in California and he confirmed his Mum’s handwriting on the card written over 40 years ago.
Even the rice pudding recipe that gets passed by, stays in the box because Aunt Helen wrote it. Not really known for being a cook, she taught me how to stretch peanut butter at the bottom of a jar into a sandwich. She survived the depression and taught me the value of leftovers.
I still have a recipe that my freshman dorm RA wrote out that she made with melted ice cream. We did this on hot nights when we couldn’t leave campus and craved something sweet. We used mint chocolate chip ice cream with a graham cracker crust.