I wonder why there are certain foods and drinks I reserve just for the holidays. Be it pie, dressing, wassail or the like, I tend to treat these epicurean comforts like home decorations and only experience them during a narrow six or so weeks. Maybe I wouldn’t enjoy them as much if I had them year round.
One of my favorite parts of the season is pulling out old, stained (and standby) recipes. With each worn card or page I am not only filled with the excitement of seeing a familiar friend, but I am reminded of holiday’s past — the good, the great, the failed attempts. With each freshly deposited stain, that year’s particular experience becomes a permanent memory. It’s as if the card itself is a living history. I most enjoy those cards that have been handed down to me from friends or family in their own handwriting. I love that I may not be able to recall from memory how to make my mother’s (and world’s best) no-bake cookies, but I can describe exactly what the recipe is written on. And when thumbing through her worn (and always unorganized) recipe book, I know just the page I am looking for. For me, it’s almost as good as a snapshot. She wrote that particular recipe on a piece of paper taken from a notepad from her old office. It was then photocopied and subsequently folded a thousand times. I know to always look for the dark paper with the specific letterhead and many creases. Each time I see it, it makes me think of my mom and what she was doing at that stage in life. She was so young and raising two girls and working a million hours a week but still finding time to make my favorite cookies — all memories brought courtesy of that 5 x 7 sheet of paper.
So it is no doubt then that although I love technological advances as much as anyone, I completely lament the loss of such personal history with so many (delicious) recipes downloaded onto my computer. But I guess there is a way to combine the two — scan the handwritten ones to preserve them as they are!
This is by far my most favorite holiday drink!