I've contributed to perhaps the best humor compilation I've ever read. Available now on Amazon!

My second chapbook, "The Second Book of Pearl: The Cats" is now available as either a paper chapbook or as a downloadable item. See below for the Pay Pal link or click on its cover just to the right of the newest blog post to download to your Kindle, iPad, or Nook. Just $3.99 for inspired tales of gin, gambling addiction and inter-feline betrayal.

My first chapbook, I Was Raised to be A Lert is in its third printing and is available both via the PayPal link below and on smashwords! Order one? Download one? It's all for you, baby!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Wherein I Channel Love Through the Kitchen

I made meatballs the other day.

The meatball recipe came to me from my father, a man well known for colorful description. The words “add 17 peas” or “stir in one mouthful of water” sometimes crop up in these handwritten instructions, along with comments like “too good for kids” and “your mother eats this by the handful”.

Food in my family has always been an expression of love. I don’t recall hearing the words “I love you” as a child, but I didn’t have to be told as it was obvious with a glance at the dinner table. My mother, convinced that pre-packaged foods were a toehold into deviant behavior that would lead to paper-plate usage and a laissez-faire attitude toward making one’s bed, served full meals every evening.

They were delicious.

And now I have the recipes - and scribble in the comments: "Good "man" recipe," I write next to the Mackey Beans. "The Boy once held me at bay with one hand while finishing this off, directly from the pan," I write next to the Never-Fail Fudge.

“Mom,” The Boy said the other night. “When you die, can I have your cookbooks?”

And then he laughed, thinking, judging by the look on his face, that he’d stumbled a bit, said something graceless.

But for the recipes to go to him?

I only hope the handwritten comments continue.

37 comments:

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

A poorly worded request but still...the tradition will continue and perhaps someday, someday, a fresh little face will look earnestly into his and inquire, "Dad, when you die can I have your recipe books??

NotesFromAbroad said...

Oh I love it !
Before you die though, would you share the Never Fail Fudge ?
besitos !

Shelly said...

I'm thinking we need to see some posts on Pearl's Best Recipes. You've got a treasure trove there~

esbboston said...

Hmmm, I rarely cook with recipes. I generaLLy just throw stuff two-gather. There is one recipe that I follow for making coconut-peanut butter-oatmeal-chocolate no-bake cookies that I have made since childhood, but now I need to tweak neXt time with a cashews addition. Start my own tradition!

Camille said...

Mom passed a few months ago and in the end, it's not about who gets the diamond or the gold baubles or the good silverware...nope. Between four daughters there may be an all out blitzreig over who gets the cookbook. I've suggested we arm wrestle for it...best out of four. I'll keep you posted.

esbboston said...

ActuaLLy I *maintain* a separate blog for recipes. ActuaLLy maintain is tooo strong of a word. Slip in the adverb lazily.

TexWisGirl said...

oh, this is awesome. :)

Hannah Denski said...

Mmmmnam (yummy in Slovak)... These should be shared with world for sure!

Ms Sparrow said...

"One mouthful of water"! I love it!

vanilla said...

Abundant love! Love in the recipe, love in the preparation, love in the consumption. The Boy is the fortunate recipient of such love, as was his mother before him.

Leenie said...

In an era of internet cooking those recipes with their personal hand written notes are GOLD. Treasure them like the priceless gems they are.

terlee said...

Loved the recipe comments, and how cool is it that The Boy wants your cookbooks?

I have an ancient cookbook with smudged, tattered pages that truly needs to be replaced but I can't part with it because of all the stuff written in the margins--some go clear back to high school!

Joanne said...

17 peas have always been one of my favorite ingredients. My grandmother's cookbook was the Settlement Cook Book by Mrs. Simon Kander. It's been rebound once.

Vapid Vixen said...

Stir in a mouthful of water? I love it! And I love that you're continuing the tradition. :)

fishducky said...

ESBBOSTON--Will you PLEASE share that recipe????????????

jenny_o said...

The only recipes my Boy wants are the ones that will end up giving him a heart attack at an early age. The ones that are good for him are declined with a slightly alarmed expression :)

I'm with the other commenters who think there could be some awesome posts from your recipe book. Or perhaps a new BOOK from your recipe book? I'd buy that!

Chantel said...

I once asked something along similar lines of my mother--I was 15 and it was her kitchen-aid mixer I desired.

My bridal shower held a kitchen-aid all for me....with a card that read, "This is life insurance."

Andrea SunnyDays said...

That's what makes a recipe worth passing on, the little stories and things like comments that make it more than just a recipe.

Saimi said...

You obviously raised that boy right!!

Eva Gallant said...

Loved this post, especially: "convinced that pre-packaged foods were a toehold into deviant behavior that would lead to paper-plate usage and a laissez-faire attitude toward making one’s bed"

You have such a way with words!

Teresa Evangeline said...

This is great! Love your dad's instructions. I have a few hand-written recipes from my mom and I love seeing her handwriting all these years later. Yeah, food was love in our house, too, and very tasty love.

Indigo Roth said...

Hey Pearl! Oooh, when you visit, please bring brownies and never-fail fudge. Indigo x

Laraine Eddington said...

The notes are precious but the best recipes are illegibly concealed under splatters

River said...

My hand written recipes are covered with clear contact to prevent spillage or splatters rendering them unreadable. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but margin notes can't be written in, they just wipe off with the splatters....

ChiTown Girl said...

LOVE this!! Your childhood sounds like mine. I just hope that, at the time, you appreciated it, because my siblings and I didn't. "Why can't we have Kraft Macaroni and Cheeeeesssseee?" "Why can't we go to McDonald'sssss?" You get the idea. We thought we were being tortured. However, now, we can't express our appreciation enough!

Buttons said...

Oh Pearl this is a true family treasure better than gold. You are truly lucky.Your Mom and Dad sound very funny and wise.
I have a cookbook my Grandmother made in the 1930's it was during the depression and paper was hard to find so she glued with flour and water, recipes her Mom had, they were glued to all the pages covering an old school math workbook. I cherish it.
It would be nice to hear some of your recipes. B

Joyful Things said...

My sister is a fabulous cook and baker and when she was diagnosed with lung cancer 18 years ago both her daughters were fighting over her cookbooks. My sister is still living, still has her recipes and says - copy anything you like, fight over the books when I'm gone, and meantime come over for coffee and cake.

Steadfast Ahoy! said...

When Mum was on her deathbed last month and sis and I were sitting at her bedside, the wise nurse said, "Go home and do some baking, it'll be days yet before the end."
We went home via the grocery store, stocked up on supplies and on to a day of baking. We made all of Mum's old standbys, our childhood favourites. For the week that followed, the household savoured the childhood delicacies we grew up with, loving our Mother and grieving her passing. Culinary heritage is something to treasure...it lives on beyond the grave.
Here's hoping whoever inherited the recipes will share with his siblings, nieces and nephews, grands and friends. What a blessing.
Rosemary

Linda O'Connell said...

My cookbook contains love notes: I loved bakinng these cookies for you kids at Christmas. Your post was so touching.

Belle said...

My mom (85) still has her mother's cookbook and one day I will have it. It is so nice your son wants yours.

The Elephant's Child said...

How I love this post. And please, please, please can we have your recipe for Never-Fail Fudge. You don't even need to die first.
I have some of my mother's cookbooks. The splatters and the stains attest to often made dishes. Not a bad memorial.

Mr. Charleston said...

My mom always served full sitdown meals every day as well, but unlike yours, she was first in line for the newest thing... frozen vegies. Thought it was the best thing since sliced bread. Maybe because for quite a few years of her early marriage, they had no electricity.

Ian Lidster said...

And I feel distinctly honored to have that meatballs recipe and it's wonderful and you just gave me a hankering to pull it out and work the magic again.

Susan in the Boonies said...

Oh, I like that thought!

Amy said...

I love recipes with a story. I need to make sure I add them to mine. My Grandfather wrote a cooking column for the local paper about 37 years ago. When I married my Aunt gave me a copy of these columns. He has interesting tidbits such as, "make the noodles (lasagna) wide enough for the Grandkids big mouths".

NellieVaughn said...

I thought we would all get a little treat in this post. I wouldn't mind a new recipe. I love cooking, and always make time to do it. I don't eat out, and am not fond of frozen dinners.

Pat said...

What greater heritage can a mum leave her daughter?