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The Best Recipes Are Sweetened With Memories

The recipes that I have collected over the years are in an old wooden Army filing box.

Whenever I open one of the drawers to that filing box, memories of people and events that shaped my life come flooding back. The recipe cards that are the most worn are the ones that are sweetened with memories…

Some of the recipe cards are written in the handwriting of the people who passed their cherished recipes onto me. I have several recipes in my sisters’ handwriting. When Andy and I got married, my sisters, Joni and Jami, threw a bridal shower for me and gave me several recipes. The Tomato Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Icing is written in my Grandma Gilbrech’s hand. The handwritten recipe that is most precious is the one written by our daughter, Judah, for No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookies which she made in Mini 4-H. It’s written in her 7 year-old handwriting.

Other recipes remind me of people because the person either made the recipe or it was one of their favorite foods. Gooey Cake which was popular in the 1970s always makes me think of my sister, Joni. She liked Gooey Cake. Bird’s Nest Snacks which are perfect for Easter remind me of our youngest daughter, Sophie, and the year she wanted to be a confectioner and made a “Candy of the Month”. Corn Meal Mush makes me think of my dad, Jay. He liked eating at Bob Evan’s for Breakfast because he could get fried mush and sausage gravy. There are two times I remember Dad trying out his culinary skills once was to make corn meal mush and the other was to help me manhandle pie crust into muffin tins for little pumpkin pies when the uncooperative lump wouldn’t roll out without tearing.

Dave Henry’s Pizza Crust, Becky Grimes’ Chicken Salad, Salad Dressing by Jannett Burns, Ice Cream by Grandma Pell, Mrs. Hayes’ Good Cookies, Ann Atkinson’s Cheesecake, Virgie’s Egg Noodles, Betty’s Egg Noodles, and Betty’s Icing are named after the people who made the recipe and who were kind enough to give it to me. Not only do these recipes conjure up pleasant memories of the giver, but also there is a memory tied to each one when I tasted the dish to begin with and requested the recipe. In the case of Mrs. Hayes’ Good Cookies, the memory is Andy’s and not mine. When he was young, he was helping his dad put siding on Mrs. Hayes’ house. Mrs. Hayes felt sorry for Andy when a hornet flew in his mouth and stung the back of his throat, so she made him a batch of what is now known in our family as Mrs. Hayes’ Good Cookies.

Some of the recipes give no indication on the card of the memory tied to it. For example, the recipe plainly named “Cinnamon Rolls” reminds me of the giver of the recipe, Frieda Miller and the fun times we had going to the Millers’ when I was growing up. Each time we would go to the Millers’ to spend the evening, Frieda would make these scrumptious cinnamon rolls. I thought she made them for her family all the time. Decades later, Frieda’s daughter, Pam, revealed that the only time Frieda made the cinnamon rolls was when our family came over. Who knew? The recipe titled “Potato Salad” came from my Mom’s friend, Dollie Corder. Mom and Dollie literally made a wash tub full of this potato salad for a post prom in the 1970s. I remember how exciting it was to have them both in our kitchen using their hands to stir the potato salad.

These memories and these cards have helped me to realize that the best recipes are sweetened with memories. That’s why you will see several dishes at Honeysuckle Hill Bee-stro named after people to honor them and the sweet memories they have imprinted on my heart and mind. My hope is that Honeysuckle Hill Bee-stro will be a place where sweet memories are imprinted on your heart and mind.

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