Almost everyone can recount with great fondness some sort of dish, or flavor, or aroma that has the power to instantly trigger happy memories surrounding a table, or at a family barbeque…whatever your venue may be. Food is not just for sustenance of the stomach, but for the heart and soul as well. It is a special ceremony that brings people together and bonds them in the basest of ways.
Some of my fondest childhood memories revolve around the kitchen and its many treasures. I recall sitting on the countertop for hours with my Mom as she would cook, bantering back and forth about thoughts and experiences. Despite the perfectly good couches and chairs scattered about the house, the kitchen was where I wanted to be. Learning tradition and bonding on the deepest level.
Dinner was always an epic event in my household, lasting hours at a time and filled to the brim with conversation of the day’s events that would inevitably evoke growth and understanding of ourselves and each other. Meals were mired in laughter, tears, arguments, and praise, among many other emotions. Those dinners were the threads that would bind together and weave into the tapestry that is my life. Listening, sharing, savoring and building the irrevocable bonds that have proven to last throughout my lifetime.
It is because of these fond experiences that I have decided to share a collaboration of recipes that my Mom made for us through the years, as well as note dishes that I have tasted from other kitchens that invoke the same sense of home, warmth and comfort.
We all have our own recipe box stashed somewhere at home. A tiny treasure trove of delights, stowed away in the recesses of a musty kitchen drawer, perhaps passed on through generations and holding within its weathered grasp myriad tried and true recipes, refined by years of practice and patience.
Maybe I am a romantic. I suppose that nowadays, that drawer may have long given way to being transformed to a simple computer file stowed away on the home chef’s hard drive, but this image lacks the appeal of the old tin canister, adorned in bright kitschy designs, and languishing cursive script.
I like to imagine that everyone, even in these days of keen technological prowess, has maintained some level of the tradition in keeping a physical recipe box. It’s faded pages peeled at the corners, inked letters in a variety of different penmanship, splotched and running intermittenly from the exposure to endless driplettes of moisture, all having been painted on throughout years of trial in the kitchen. Sigh. A girl can dream.
For years I have been collecting cooking magazines, much like a hoarder one would expect to find on an A&E special. I could sit for hours, clipping recipes and trying on new techniques found in the beautifully illustrated pages of Food & Wine, or Bon Appetite. I have collected binders upon binders over the years, a collection that would make any chef proud.
Although I can’t provide you with a copy of my own compilation of a recipe book, the next best thing I could think of was to share them with you through my blog. Here, I will post some of my most favorites, along with a variety of concoctions that I stumble across in my daily journey across the information highway, in small corner shops, and in my travels, wherever they should take me.