Yep. I'm a vintage addict. Most of you know that. Imagine my thrill when I discovered a hidden treasure in a box of my mother-in-law's things packed away in the back of my closet.
I trekked to the back of the closet and pulled out the box of Granny's old cookbooks, hoping to find an extra copy with her handwriting in the margins. I did find one, but I also found one that slipped my attention somehow: a copy of Fannie Farmer's Food and Cookery for the Sick and Convalescent from between 1905-1915!
A vintage find for an old book-collecting-geek!
How did I miss this?! But it's what it evoked in me that surprised me most.
I love the dedication to her mother, because that's the best source I know for good cookery.
My great Grandmother Susie cultivated a large vegetable garden that she "trucked" to town where many summer vacationers bought fresh from her. (Incidentally, she sold to many cottagers in Bay View, Michigan, the setting my debut book coming in July!) She had nine children and cared for her husband, and an invalid brother. Counting all of them and the hired farm hands, she cooked and baked three meals a day--that's close to forty-two plates of food every day!
Great-Grandmother Susie on the right, with her sisters
My Grandmother Emma had a similar garden, and besides vegetables it included an amazing red raspberry patch, and brilliant gladiolas. She used to make fresh homemade bread and took them with the veggies and flowers to the flea market on Saturdays after she'd worked a full week as an LPN.
Grandma Emma's galvanized pan I still use for canning.
My Mom, Edna, is the best in the kitchen. We grew up planting gardens, bare feet in the dirt, bent over to pull weeds and pick berries and beans. She taught me home canning, freezing, and ensured that I knew a balanced diet included a plate with rainbow colors on it. Many hours of family time were spent in the kitchen cutting strawberries for homemade jam after she'd already worked a long day as an RN in a nearby office.
Cooking from the "rainbow"...
So, along with a copy of a cookbook from my MIL, Linda, I will do my duty to pass to Emily the treasures of good cooking, caring, and eating well with your family. I always think of this great legacy as I teach good nutrition, exercise, and label reading to my own patients. I once asked my MIL what she would have been if she could have finished school and chosen any profession. She said without hesitation: "I'd be a cook!" She had recipes stuck in every inch of her cupboards. She passed on hand-written recipes in her mother's handwriting, and those of her Amish neighbor and adopted mom, Katie Hershberger's favorites.
It's not food in a box, through the drive through, or passed through the window of my car that remind me of the loving care from the generations before me. It's the squish of garden dirt between my toes. The handwriting of my mother and my mother-in-law scribbled between the pages on my kitchen counters. It's the food memory of canning tomatoes, making jam, the smell of Sunday dinner in the oven. It's sitting around the table together.
It's the care in those food memories that I treasure beyond everything vintage about my back closet discovery.
What's your best food memory?
What kitchen legacies were passed to you?
What's your favorite passed-down recipe?
What will you do to pass on good care, good food?
Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots.Nurse Practitioner by day.Wife, mother, writer by night.Coffee drinker--any time.
Find me at: www.anneloveauthor.com