I wonder if writing may be in my DNA. I always knew about an aunt on my dad’s side who published several regional stories via a university press. I recently learned my mom typed up her own cookbooks years ago.
I was at my mom’s house a couple weeks ago, and she showed me something – two somethings, actually – she found in the back of a closet. They were homemade books of her recipes she typed up so many years ago, she doesn’t remember doing it. The thicker cookbook was a wide range of desserts, and the thinner cookbook was other things, such as bread, main dishes, and salads. Almost every page had two or three recipes on it.
The book pages were all typed on an electric typewriter. And not only did she punch three holes in every page for binding, but every single hole included one of those white reinforcement rings. She even made covers from heavy cardboard covered with pretty shelf paper. I can’t imagine how many hours it took her to complete this project.
This was actually the first of two collections she created. Five years ago, she showed me a more recent collection she did on her typewriter one long winter. I made copies and put them into binders so each member of my family could have a set of her recipes. I knew there were recipes from my childhood which weren’t included, but I had no idea they were typed up and hidden in the back of a closet, waiting to be discovered. When she showed me these other two books, I scanned and printed them so all of us could add them to our first set.
Two things excite me about this find. First, I love having more of her recipes, and knowing they are saved for posterity. I now have recipes like her Sweet and Sour Pork, Spoon Bread, and her Chess Pie.
Secondly, I am amazed by the effort that went into creating these books, especially given the few tools she had at the time to help her. I would love to know what drove her to do this. Was it her own urge to write, coming out in the form of recipes? Unfortunately, since she doesn’t remember, I don’t suppose I will ever know.
Those of you who have been reading my blog for some time know I occasionally share one of my mom’s recipes. Now, I have even more to draw from! So stay tuned, because one of these days I will pick a recipe from the new collection to post on my blog.
I write historical fiction, and I invite you to share the journey to published author with me.