I’m a wife, mother, friend, literature nerd, photographer, and crafty domestic queen of my domain. I love, in no particular order (that’s a lie- there’s an order…) babies, kittens, food, good company, laughter, and sunshine. I am a procrastinator, often suffer from insomnia and writer’s block, and burn grilled cheese sandwiches every. single. time. I try to cook them- because I also get distracted easily (ooh look shiny sparkles!), which is why I just don’t cook those a whole lot anymore.
My kids, in spite of my love for cooking and trying new recipes, love boxed macaroni and cheese and frozen pizza. Oh well- I chalk this up to parenting failure #294 and keep on cookin’. If they didn’t look just like me, I’d swear they weren’t mine because they don’t share my enthusiasm for cooking- that- I inherited from my grandmother, or Nanny, who inspired this blog.
Nanny had a love/hate relationship with food her whole life. That is to say, she loved food in theory, but was rarely seen eating anything other than raw fruit, grits with butter, salt and pepper, and an occasional pork chop and fried cabbage- oh and toothpicks- I think she maybe was part woodchuck on her father’s side. She despised white bread, dairy products (exception: old girl could put away some ice cream), and hunks of meat, which she claimed, “nearly choked her to death.” She loved to bake sweets and was actually a great cook. She made the best fried pies, divinity, and pecan logs I’ve ever tried, though I suspect this is due to the amount of Crisco infused love she made them with- hence the name of our blog.
After she passed away last fall, we came across her recipe file. The cardboard expand-o-file-abuncho’crap was loaded to bursting with various scraps of paper-hastily scribbled recipes from daytime television info-nuggets, and clippings from magazines, newspapers, and product packaging. I refuse to sort through this in one sitting because, frankly, I love the mystery of this file. I reach in and never know what I will pull out of its pockets. Could be a handwritten recipe for pecan pie, could be a Crisco stained cardboard cutout from the side of the can-still greasy and silver coated on one side-with a recipe for chocolate chip cookies, or even one of several dozen(seriously?!) 2×2 inch plastic-coated bok choy labels with a recipe for sauteed bok choy on the back. May not even be a recipe at all- an address, a lotto ticket (she was an optimist) or a possibly unused folded up kleenex (hey, I’m an optimist too). I just never know what I’m going to get.
The hilarity of this file to me is that she would never, and I do mean NEVER even cook most of this stuff she saved to begin with, much less eat it. So why did she bother saving it? This I think I may know a bit about.
See, I do the same thing. I see something in a magazine and I think, “ooh, that looks good!” Riiippp it out and put it in my pile of ever growing tear sheets that I will eventually file into plastic coated page protectors by recipe type. I’m a little more OCD organized about my recipe hoarding than she was. I suspect the OCD builds over generations into something that manifests in such a manner as this because she was a paper hoarder- kept every scrap of paper, every single letter, card, or coloring book page anyone ever gave her. I have this disorder too- I’ve gotten better over the years, but like a trickle down economy of sorts for genetic coding, I have inherited this paper saving gene along with her love of food. I digress.
I do understand the, “ooh this looks yummy I think I will save this for later” mentality and I suspect this is what drove her to collect such things. She, however, had this aforementioned love/hate relationship with food and never really got around to cooking any of her saved scraps of foodie treasures. This is where we differ, because I actually DO regularly go through my plastic coated pages and pull out new things to try. Some are hits, some are just meh, and some, I pitch in the trash along with the remnants of my failed attempt at sneaking in something new and improved into the family’s recycled recipe favorites of spaghetti, pizza and chicken nuggets. Then I head back to the drawing board- in this case my newly inherited (*cough* smuggled out of her house) expand-a-file of foodie goodness.
Over the course of this blog- and if you’re still reading- I give you props and will bake you some cupcakes… I will be reaching into this mystery box of recipes and randomly selecting a new one to cook. Like I said, I never know what I will get, so this could get kind of sketchy at times but regardless of what recipe I pull out, I will do my utmost to cook, serve, and report back the findings on the recipe that Nanny just had to save. I’ll also include longtime family favorite recipes with stories featuring childhood memories because the family favorites are what we call “legacy recipes”- those that have been passed down, cooked often, and created the most treasured memories around the family table. I’ll try out some of my own tear sheets (updated to add Pinterest OMG!!) inspirations, and maybe get one of my own legacy recipes going (my spaghetti sauce is world famous… ok family famous- but since they’re my world- I claim the title). With each post, I will be including FREE (yes, free!) lovely recipe cards that you can save or print for your own collection. If I get brave, maybe a video tutorial (where’s my lipgloss?!) or three to provide some technical instruction for those new to cooking.
Here we go… cooking adventure awaits! Hope you come along with me!