I read a book from the library recently, one that was part memoir and part recipe book. I can’t decide if I like this genre of “literature” that much. I think the problem is that the premise for these books is all the same: details about the writer’s ordinary life with some unique recipes woven in, the overarching theme being a statement about how the food that comes from our kitchens and the people who are present in our lives at these times can become like home for some. I find I’m mainly interested in the recipes, looking for an easy weeknight meal, which these books always seem to regard as utterly cliche, instead they squeeze in recipes for obscure things like Elderflower syrup or plum jam doughnuts. At any rate, I’ve read at least two of these type of books willingly, so if I truly felt this strongly about the subject, I’d probably quit reading them.
The best thing to come of this though, has been the re-discovery of a sweet wedding gift I received when Andrew and I got married a year and a half ago. After paging through the recipes in the book, written by a woman living in Berlin, I decided I needed to write a few of them down for the day when I can source German staple ingredients, like the sour cream-like quark, in order to bake a heavenly German style cheesecake. In the process I remembered the recipe box with blank recipe cards that a family friend, Shirley Finch, had given me as a gift. As I opened it to retrieve the cards waiting to be covered in my scribbly handwriting, I was delighted to find 2 dozen or more of her recipes written onto a few of the loose cards, ready to be used and loved. I tried my first one out this afternoon, Molasses Sugar Cookies. Shirley, they were delicious; crunchy on the outside from being rolled in sugar and warm and spicy with cloves, cinnamon and ginger on the inside. I’m sure the corners of the card will soon be stained and dog-eared from the love I expect the recipe will receive this holiday season. I’m looking forward to Christmas at home. I’ve been prepping my Christmas cookie recipes and stockpiling chocolate chips, peppermint candy canes and pure vanilla extract. My other favorite Christmas tradition is the holiday music program at Church, which incidentally takes place tonight! I’m well on my way to feeling quite a bit more festive this year!