October 4, 2008

350

q. shenaynay

Feeding people nourishing and pleasant meals is an act of beauty, but somehow that beauty has escaped any sort of expression in the state of my unsightly, disheveled recipe collection. That collection is actually a very precious thing to me -- those recipes are the hooks on which my memory hangs tales of family history and memories of our best times. But from the looks of it, you would never guess that it's something I treasure.

I've wanted to do something about that for a long time, but hadn't quite figured out what. I fiddled around with personal cookbook software, but the printouts looked so impersonal and all the same-same-same. This annoyed me. The metal index card box didn't jive with my penchant for ripping pages out of magazines and printing recipes online. Finally, I tried a 3-ring binder with plastic page protectors and dividers and all that jazz, and I had high hopes for a while. But good grief, the beast has so run amok that you can barely tell it's a binder anymore and we're all afraid to open it for fear of a recipe blizzard.

And now comes the kicker: Fa the Newlywed is suddenly cooking every day. And suddenly she wants my recipes and she wants them often and she wants them fast, because she's a busy busy college student taking 18 hours with a high GPA requirement to maintain her full scholarship... and a husband who is hungry every 2.5 hours.

All of which converged to point me to the solution: 350.

At first this was going to be just an easily accessible place for me to deposit some favorite family recipes for Fa and Beatrice and myself. But as I began typing them up, the project began to take on a personality. It didn't want to just be measurements and directions. It said it needed to be relational, because that's how I came by those recipes in the first place: through my relationships. I told it to hush, I only had time for measurements and directions. It said fine, but it had to wonder if I really believed all that stuff I say about all of life being about the science of relations. Said it thought I knew that nourishment and provision and serving others are all very covenantal and relational sorts of things. That the dinner table is the guardian of family history. That there are stories in my ugly three ring binder that my children really ought to know, stories of ordinary people doing endearing, remarkable, covenantal things with bread knives and grape vines and chicken soup and birthday cakes and dill pickles, stories that I could pass on if I had a mind to. Or, it said, I could just let them fade and be forgotten. Your choice, it said.

So please go check out the beginnings of my quirky, covenantal, relational recipe collection.

I'll be adding to it often, if for no other reason than Fa's husband is usually hungry.

11 comments:

Other Mother said...

What a great idea! Thanks for sharing it with all of us.

Donna-Jean said...

You're creating again! You're healing in so many beautiful ways. And you're sharing it with US! We are blessed :-)

I will come back to 350 time and again - for recipes, for memories of a special time eating at your table and in your company, and just for the simple reminder that uh, ahem, hate-to-break-it-to-you-Donna-Jean-but "It's time to be thinking about dinner"....

Thank you very, very much!

Lady Mums-alot said...

Yeah, you're back!!!!! I, for one, miss being with you and your family in your kitchen. So many happy memories!

Ceridwen said...

For this, I am VERY happy!

Dani said...

What a marvelous idea!

Owl of the Desert said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Owl of the Desert said...

YaHoo! A fantastic idea! And, thank you, thank you for sharing! I suppose I have no excuse now for finding something good to whip up every now and then. :-)

My mom's recipe book is currently in binder form, too, which is better than the grab-the-recipe-out-of-the-freezer-bag approach we took before. It could take a while to find it that way. :-)

Lady Jeanne said...

This is a most wondermous idea! I love it! Thank you so much for sharing it with us all.

Katya said...

Your description of your recipe collection :) and love of the family table remind me of my mama so very much (a very good thing!) The best memories and most treasured times seem to always have centered in the kitchen. Motherly warmth. Familial love. Good smells. Deep conversations. Making a beautiful thing out of everyday nourishment. Souls being satisfied as well as stomachs.
I look forward to visiting your recipe collection often. Thank you for inviting us!

jules said...

My MIL gave my DH a photo album that had in it a bunch of recipes. She wrote them on 3x5 cards and inserted them in historical order from his birth. She included stories, where the recipes came from, some photos of their life and him then and other tidbits. It's a wonderful collection that we both cherish. It's neat for me too, to read stories of him growing up.

rachel tsunami said...

What a great idea!
I had to laugh when I read about your binder with recipes in plastic sleeves. I finally spent some hours just this past weekend doing that very thing. But it's a step up for me; my most used recipes have been shoved into a kitchen cabinet in a stack I have to sort through when I want to find one. Dumb! So. My binder is still neat and manageable. But I like 350, and I might have to follow your lead. I know Molly will be calling me a lot. I could really get a jump on this. So much family history...