What’s the oldest thing you own? (Toys, clothing, twinkies, Grecian urns: anything’s fair game.) Recount its history — from the object’s point of view.
Ah, I remember the day I left my sister cookbooks and was mailed off to my new owner. Such a glorious day that was. I was new, fresh, smelled like newly printed paper. I was so excited to be whisked off to my new home. I just knew I would be put to good use.
Inside of my shiny new covers was one thousand recipes, tested and proved at the Priscilla Proving Plant. I was even a special edition! I was so proud! Class of 1928.
Now 86 years later, I’m still going strong. A lot older, yellowed with age, lots of brown spots. My binding might be weak, loose, but I still have all my pages. I have a few handwritten notes on some pages in different handwriting. I’m into my third generation of owners, all from the same family.
I started with the grandmother. She was so happy to receive me in the mail. She was a young mother then with six children, two more would be born after I arrived. She had a hard life, poor, with a stern husband. She ordered me through a catalog in the hopes of finding new dishes to please her young and growing family. Always an excellent cook had been Martha, always wanting to improve. She used the recipes in me for many years. Her youngest son Russell, would be my next owner.
Russell received me after my beloved first owner died. He too had a young family to feed. He loved his mother very much and wanted the one thing that was so special to her. Me! So there I was, in a new house sitting in a cupboard, bored, neglected. The man was so distraught over losing his mother it took him years before he would even look at me again. I stuck around, waited, patient, for his grieving to end. He enjoyed cooking and baking, so I knew if I was patient, I would be used once more.
Then one day it happened. The cupboard opened and he took me in hand! Oh my that was an exciting day for me. He wanted a bread recipe. He knew his mother used a recipe in me that was simple yet so good. He felt like baking. So I was used again and it felt wonderful!
For many years this family used the recipes inside my covers to make satisfying meals for their family. I opened up to find new cookie recipes, new casserole recipes. It was during those years that many new stains were left on my pages. New comments were written in my margins. I was happy and fulfilled my duty well.
Then the man died. He fought a great fight against cancer for years, but just grew tired. The cancer spread and took the mans life and I was once more put in a cupboard and forgotten. Or so I thought I was forgotten.
One day the cupboard door was opened once more and the widow took me out of the dark. I was packed into a box with many other mementos of the family’s life. I was being shipped away from the family! I was so scared. Where would I go? Who would cook my recipes now? It was such a sad, dark time for me. Till I arrived at the door of my new owner.
She is the youngest daughter of the man. I was still in the family, but a long ways from home. I was even in another country! Canada is where I ended up. I remember the woman taking me out of the big dark box. She lovingly opened my covers and looked at all the favorite recipes that her grandmother and father used to cook. I remember the tears that fell upon my pages, the soft caress as she saw her father’s handwriting.
She made me famous as she blogged about me. She used recipes out of me just as her father and grandmother had done. I might be old, yellowed, a bit brittle with age. I have a few new stains, like the tear drops that fell on me those few years ago. But I am in the same family, being used once again.
And truly, a cookbook cannot ask for more.