When I was growing up my mom spent a lot of time teaching me how to cook. She would say, “When you leave home you need to be able to know how to cook a good, cheap, healthy meal yourself.” She had this fear that if she wasn’t around I’d starve to death. 🙂
One of her main concerns when I got married in March 1997, at the age of 19, was that I wouldn’t know how to cook a meal for my hubby (I know, I know…but I’m old OK? Back then (20 years ago!!) women were still expected to cook for their husbands, at least that was my mom’s expectation).
So when she threw me a wedding shower, she passed around this little red recipe book and had each guest fill out their best recipes.
My mom asked which one of her recipes I wanted her to write down and without hesitation I said, “your chili”.
I loved many of my mom’s meals, but her chili was my favorite. Each guest wrote down their beloved recipes and my mom even threw in several extra, filling the book with all of my favorites, including her no bake oatmeal cookies, chicken -n- dumplings, chocolate pie and gingersnaps.
I’ve taken out this book again and again throughout my 20 years of marriage. Each time I make her chili, it isn’t just a meal, but a piece of my childhood. It brings me back to the dinner table in my small house on Calumet. I can see the yellow formica counters, wood paneled walls and laminate table with the edges peeling off. I feel how I felt then, loved, comforted and safe.
My mom is now gone, but the recipe book remains. Worn, stained, tattered and well loved. It is a piece of my mom that I will always have. I pulled out the recipe book today and made her infamous chili. I saw her handwriting and laughed at the fact she wrote “Debbie Spurling” on top of her recipe, like I needed her full name instead of just “Mom”.
And for a moment, she was with me again.
That is why I do what I do. That is why I have a love of cooking and sharing my recipes. I hope my kids will remember the meals we shared at the dinner table and want to recreate them for their own kids.
I hope you find a recipe that you and your family love. And maybe it will be the meal that your kids ask you to write in their wedding recipe book….
A piece of you that will live on forever.