Something of an Inheritance

One of my most recent posts was simply a photo that showed what makes me really feel that I’m in my mother’s kitchen.

It’s not the recipes. It’s the tea. And the big ol’ slab of a cutting board with a scorch mark. The recipe box. But not the recipes. My mother doesn’t, and hasn’t ever, needed recipes. But she has them.

I don’t know how many times I’ve said, nor how many times I will say, that I didn’t learn to cook from my mother. That I spurned that offering and have, as such, had to do a lot from scratch a thousand miles away.

I’ve gotten there. I’ve become deeply invested in food and cooking. Thus, my most recent visit home, I expected to cook. Lots. Instead, many of my lovely family cooked and sent food our way. I jokingly told my mother that the local family was rallying around her because they worried all my father and I would feed her was Kraft Dinner. She was a bit aghast at my joke and insisted it was just worry.

True or not, I didn’t cook much. But when I did, I convinced my father and sister that tofu could be delicious and convinced my mother that Brussels sprouts could be delicious. So, what cooking I did do, I definitely did well. I’m content with that.

And, well, my mom doesn’t need recipes. And my family didn’t need me to do much cooking. So, instead, we dug through about ten boxes labeled “photos.” They were mostly photos, but not entirely.

I asked my mother for the book on the right. She saw the book on the left and it was mine before I even saw what it was. For a bit, I thought it was simply Russian recipes.

In fact, it’s a recipe book my sister, CJ, made in one of her classes as a kid. The black-bound book is a battered old three-ring binder containing hundreds of recipes from my great-grandmother, Ella.

The book my sister made is largely photocopies. Clearly, the class had some sort of assignment to find recipes from around the world. I haven’t found the one my sister contributed yet, so I don’t know if it’s one from our family history or not. I’m looking forward to learning more. And, unlike the black book, I’m lucky enough to still have her and my mother around to ask.

But, for sure, I’m making this beef and beer stew. It’ll be a trick deciphering it, but I like a challenge.

2 thoughts on “Something of an Inheritance

    • That’s what I thought I read. It’s astounding how light the recipe is, though. But I shall make it, oh yes I shall.

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