Recipe Cards: Memories of Food and Family Written with Love

vintage cookbook with handwritten recipe

My mother Clare passed away several years ago. A talented woman, she worked as a surgical and obstetrics nurse until she married my father in 1958 and set about raising a family. One of her many talents was her creativity in the kitchen. My father would proudly boast that they had been wed for months before she ever cooked the same meal twice. Creativity in the kitchen would come in handy when feeding a growing family that would come to include seven children. She developed many recipes over the years. Writing down on recipe cards what would become our family’s hallmark meals.

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Just the other day I was leafing through my recipe binder when I came across a wonderful surprise. Tucked among the torn-out magazine pages and hastily written recipes I have scratched out over the years, I saw a few photo copies of recipes in my Mom’s handwriting. They came from a collection of recipes my sister asked my Mom to write up for her one Christmas many years ago. A way for my sister to have on paper, a record of our family meals for future generations. At the time the request was more practical than sentimental.

Nowadays, we don’t really write out and share recipes anymore. And that is a shame. We email them to each other or we bookmark them on computers. And by doing that we are also erasing memories. Memories of the friend who shared them. Memories of the memorable dishes we made from them. Memories of the meals we have shared because of them. Memories of us.

My Mom is no longer with us. But in a way, thanks to those handwritten recipe cards, she still is. She remains still in the delicate flourish and structured loops of her handwriting. Looking at the tight, neat cursive that was my Mom’s brought a smile to my face. I was overwhelmed with memories of the Mom who signed my report cards, who wrote sick notes for school and who sent Christmas and birthday cards. The Mom who created and prepared all the recipes that brought back so many childhood memories. I had for a brief and magical moment, my Mom.

A memory of a loved one made tangible on paper, I can’t think of a more priceless gift to give or to receive.

Chances are you have a few of these kind of recipe cards. Maybe it is time to bring them out and rediscover a few magical memories of your own. Share your handwritten memories with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #recipecards.

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