Most people, at a casual glance, would consider my most prized possessions to be little more than trash. They stand on my kitchen counter, battered sentinels on watch until it's time to recreate the warmth and love of my youth. Tenderly, gently I part the yellowing pages, looking for my mother's favorite meat loaf recipe, or instructions on how to make the most tender pot roast. As I turn the pages, I see all the places where my mother penciled in new or crossed out ingredients. It may have originally been Better Homes and Gardens' cookbook, but my mother made it her own over the years. I have to be very careful with it, as the hole-punched pages have ripped over the years and are trying to slip completely out of the three-ring binding. Some pages are missing altogether - I shudder to think how many warm, fragrant lost memories those missing pages represent.
Beside the BHG cookbook is a cheesy-looking, bright aqua-blue recipe book. It's one of those where you write down your recipes or cut them out of a magazine and stick them in the plastic sleeves on the pages. This is where I have my mother's pumpkin bread recipe, her homemade vegetable soup canning instructions and even my grandmother's jam cake and caramel icing recipe. There are even some recipes from my great-grandmother. Here is my history - here is the love the Goldey and Pierratt women have given to their families over the generations. Many people think these recipes were only for filling the stomach. But I know they were really filling our hearts.