Sunday, May 30, 2010

You Always Need a Place to Start

My mother loved to cook. She could make a feast fit for a king out of nothing. Mom worked as a cook on a ranch for several summers from 1977 through the early 1980's. She cooked for John Medearis and his family (4 sons 16-25)and usually a hired hand or two.

I had come for a visit during her second summer. We were just finishing lunch. Johnny was in his early twenties and was grumbling about eating to much. My mother smiled and told him he could leave the table whenever he chose. He just had to push away from the table.

I remember this good looking slender young man looking very anguished at her comment. Finally, he responded, "I dieted all winter to loose the weight I gained last summer."

Mom just laughed. It thrilled my mom that these hard working young men gained so much weight eating her cooking. They were never late to a meal! The times I visited the ranch, the boys would usually come in a little early hoping to get a head start on the meal before the others got there.

Mom had a collection of recipes and a few treasured cookbooks. Watching Mom cook - she would add some of this and some of that. I remember asking her why she needed a cookbook when she never followed the recipe. She looked puzzled that I didn't know. Patiently explaining "You always need a place to start."

I treasure the recipes that are in her handwriting and the little notes she would sometimes jot down. In some of the cookbooks she had glued recipes she found elsewhere and liked and made comments about other things that were happening. For a Christmas Present I scanned the recipes Rita and I have, and then retyped them and made copies for all the grandchildren.

Cookbooks are great sources of family and cultural history. Imagine my delight when I found a link online to "Feeding America: The Historic American Cookbook Project". This collection has also been added to the Library of Congress site.


5 comments:

Sheri said...

It is a treasure to be able to hold onto and pass those cherished recipes. What a gift! Thank you for sharing.

Ruth said...

Sheri,

The recipes are dear to my heart. It is such a connection to family. I really am glad that I have them.

letsshop2gether said...

Ruth - I came across your blog on Sheri's Monday Motivation and I'm so glad I did. I can totally relate to your situation. My mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's about 6 years ago and it has been devastating to me. There are times when it is almost too much to bear. I love how dedicated you are to preserving your mom's legacy in your life. What a great mantra you've shared in this post - you always need a place to start.

Denise said...

Ruth - I came across your blog on Sheri's Monday Motivation and I'm so glad I did. I can totally relate to your situation. My mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's about 6 years ago and it has been devastating to me. There are times when it is almost too much to bear. I love how dedicated you are to preserving your mom's legacy in your life. What a great mantra you've shared in this post - you always need a place to start.

Ruth F said...

Denise,
My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family. It is a challenging time. There are now many resources available that can help on this heart wrenching journey.

Do you live close to your mother?