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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Wherein I Channel Love Through Ground Beef

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, written alongside 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.

27 comments:

Leenie said...

Nothing says lovin' like something from the oven; unless it is a twisted sense of humor handed down from generation to generation.

Pearl said...

Leenie, we do what we can. :-)

Beach Bum said...

My wife left me a recipe card in her mother's handwriting once with instructions to have dinner ready when she got home. Long story short the card was written in code or possibly a long dead language because I could not read it.

Called my wife and explained that dinner was a no go unless she translated. I spent thirty minutes reading off the card while my wife attempted to translate, after that we both gave up and I ordered pizza.

Sioux said...

How about making your next chapbook a cookbook, along with the helpful, entertaining "comments" ?

Pearl said...

Beach Bum, not all handwriting is created equal!

Sioux, hmm! That's not a bad idea! I'm writing one about office work, using a quarterly, business format. I like the idea of the cookbook.

joeh said...

"a laissez-faire attitude toward making one’s bed," Another Pearl "pearl!"

I was going to make the same suggestion as Sioux.

Pearl said...

joeh, I think her suggestion is excellent. :-)

jenny_o said...

I don't buy cookbooks to actually cook from but to read, so you gotta know I'm IN if you put one out. It would be the best cookbook ever.

Love the comments so far.

Pearl said...

jenny_o, I think there are great stories among recipes, especially family cookbooks.

Today's comments/ideas have given me a lot to think about! Now I need a longer work day...

jenny_o said...

... and a tendon transplant, Pearl :)

Pearl said...

jenny_o, Oh, honey, you got that right.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari Om
Warm and fuzzy post of the first order....talking of first orders &*> I'm with the rest of the bunch. More chap books from Pearl - and potentially coded recipes? Count me in NOW!!!

But in you own time. Healy wristy, better writey. Hugs, YAM xx

Mitchell is Moving said...

This is really touching. If I inherited recipes that included such entertaining and loving personal notes, I might cook, too. (Well, at least I'd read the recipes every so often.)

bill lisleman said...

"paper-plate usage" so that was my downfall?
I'm willing to compromise, paper plates with real metal eating utensils makes for a blended setting.

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

I have a lot of old cookbooks from my mom and grandmother...their beautiful handwriting all over the back pages with extra recipes they got from friends...sadly, no pithy comments about the recipes themselves. I'd love to get a look at yours.

Joanne Noragon said...

My sister's cooking seems to have struck a chord in my eleven year old granddaughter, who stands across from Jan as the meal is prepared, writing down instructions. I must look at it some day.

Elephant's Child said...

Food, love AND pithy comments. Add a cat or two and you have heaven.

Eva Gallant said...

My Mom had no written recipes; they were all in her head. Sadly, when she was in her 70s, she forgot her recipe for her wonderful chocolate cake. She took to using the Duncan Hines mix, and would hide the empty box so my brothers wouldn't know!

Daisy said...

The handwritten notes are as much of a treasure or even more so than the recipes themselves! :)

HermanTurnip said...

The saying "stir in one mouthful of water" has now been added to my vocabulary. I must thank you for that one! Heh...

River said...

I agree with Sioux, you must put out a recipe book with those old family recipes. 17 peas....ha!
I'd buy it. I'm curious about the Mackey Beans and never-fail fudge.

sage said...

I've gone through my mother's and grandmother's recipes--they are a treasure. BTW, I just posted about your fair city and how I was a hostage there last week, thanks to Delta Airlines.

Geo. said...

Kid, you have rendered me into sentimental goo. A rare thing. You should wear a cape and have a secret identity when you write like that.

Tez said...

Yes, I'd Buy That Cookbook Too. (Sorry About Capitalisation. Using New Tablet And Have No Idea How To Change To Normal Text.)

Love The Idea Of Measuring Water With My Mouth. :-)

Ian Lidster said...

And of course you know of my ongoing love for said meatballs coming from casa you. I still feel so honored to have the recipe.

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

I have never made meatballs and in fact the only time I eat meatballs is when I get a meatball sub from Subway...........

Marti Lawrence said...

What a great tradition and that does sound like it would make an awesome cookbook!