Saturday, October 23, 2010

Life Leaves No Time for Organization

At this point, I’d like to say that I’ve thumbed through all of my mom’s recipes, although I would not be surprised if more lurked somewhere in this house. Without cracking any of the 70 cookbooks, I spent 2 hours perusing the shiny box and a large leather folder. Afterwards, I decided to stretch my legs and found a bin harboring more recipes—almost two reams of paper and magazine clippings. This is cathartic, right?

I have to admire my mom’s desire to organize. In the shiny box there were numerous newspaper clippings, handwritten note cards and computer-printed recipes. Through all of the browsing, the majority of oldies but goodies were hidden in the shiny box: Emeril’s Wedgie Salad, Monkey Bread, Pasta a la Puttanesca, Country Breakfast Casserole, Peanut Brittle, and Everything Cookies. Regarding her organizational skills, however, I found a pretty stack of divider cards—which weren’t dividing anything.

In the leather folder, I discovered more recent and healthier recipes: Cauliflower and Roasted Garlic Soup, Dr. Oz’s Energy Balls, Quinoa Veggie Burgers, and Maple-Glazed Parsnips and Sweet Potatoes.

Luckily, the large bin had multiple copies of the same recipe so there was less work to do. I can’t imagine why she made multiple copies for everything but I can speculate. Possibly, she wanted to protect her stash just in case one lot was destroyed. My mom was like a squirrel preparing for winter, hiding food in multiple locations. There are other clues, however. For Martha’s Macaroni & Cheese 101, there were six copies and six pairs of names at the top of each: Mary/Will, Kathy/Bruce, John/Susan, Polly/Mike, Frank/Linda, and Susanne/Matt. For other cherished recipes, there were three copies: Justin, Katie, and Maggie. She had copies of instructions for putting together and sending care packages.

I am constantly surprised she isn’t here. She would be delighted to know that I’m looking at her recipes. I want to tease her about having multiple copies of the same recipe hidden in numerous locations. She’d roll her eyes at her misuse of the divider cards and say, “I just get so excited to cook for you that when I find what I need, I never put anything back!” Then she’d race into the kitchen, recipe in hand, and shriek about how she was going to whipping up something delicious.


  1. Your mom was a great cook! I'm sure she was relieved when you began to appreciate good food... if i remember correctly, when you were really little, one of your favorite things to eat were spoonfuls of mayonnaise when she wasn't looking:)

  2. I hope you'll send the copies to us someday...Mary/Willie

  3. @Jesse and Ryan: Ew! I ate mayo off a spoon! Luckily, I now enjoy lots of veggies, fruits and whole grains--much healthier than mayonnaise!

    @Aunt Mary: Yes, I will send them very soon. Katie and I picked out some special things for all the family members. I think you will enjoy them!