Posted tagged ‘Cookbooks’

Cooking Up A Mother’s Wisdom for Future Generations

April 29, 2011

Cooking was not my mother’s passion, but, among other things, collecting cookbooks was. She had a wall of bookshelves in her kitchen filled with cookbooks. I wondered why, with all these recipes available, we ate the same things over and over again. Two well-worn cookbooks I chose to keep may be the answer. The Settlement Cook Book and Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book show wear and tear from years of use.

The book on the right was a Christmas gift given to my mother from my great-aunt two years before my mom and dad got married. It must have been a subtle hint that my mom needed to find a “way to a man’s heart” by learning how to cook first.

The book on the left had a different story to tell. The first thing I noticed was the Sacred Heart prayer fastened to the binder. I’m guessing that each time my mom opened that cookbook, she prayed that everything would turn out alright. She must have done a decent job because my mom and dad make it through sixty-four years together, and the rest of us are still kicking around.

On the first page of the cookbook, my mom had added a leaflet from the Milwaukee Health Department entitled “Food for Children From 2 to 7.” After reading it, it occurred to me the information provided might be the answer to our childhood obesity problems of today.

The leaflet begins by saying a child must depend on his parents to provide proper foods. Do you hear that Moms and Dads? Then it tells what and how much of the basic foods children need daily – foods like milk, vegetables (raw and cooked), fruit, whole grain cereal and bread, fish, meat, eggs, and lots of water!

Foods not to indulge in, but to eat sparingly include (Surprise! Surprise!) doughnuts, coffee cakes, rich desserts, fried food, sweets, soft drinks, and potato chips.

It also suggests that parents make sure their children get enough fresh air, have regular sleeping and eating times, play outside in the sun, and  guide their children toward acceptable behavior. I’m all for that.

The backside of the leaflet has meal plans for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and reminds parents that “regular meals are a part of orderly living which leads to health and good behavior.” It concludes by saying “A child can build a sound body from day to day only if he gets the right food every day.”

I’ll admit some of the suggestions are amusing and out of date, but most are right on target. If today’s parents followed the advice on this leaflet, maybe our children would learn to make better eating choices as they grow, and we could begin to conquer the obesity epidemic that has consumed our society.  

Wisdom comes with age. This age-old leaflet is full of wisdom for families today.

Cooking may not have been my mother’s passion, but she knew what was best for us!

Cooking Up Some Ideas

November 2, 2010

“The worst gift is a fruitcake. There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other.” — Johnny Carson 

Who knew a cookbook could trigger delicious new writing ideas. While searching for recipes for dinner, I came across some interesting tidbits tucked into one of my mom’s cookbooks.

The first thing I found was a bridge tally. On the blank side of the tally was a recipe for fruit punch. It had specific measurements for all the ingredients except for the last one – gin. So how much gin do you add? Your guess is as good as mine. All I know is next to the word gin was the word good. That bridge game must have had lots of punch!

The next recipe I found was handwritten on my great aunt’s stationary. It was for making mince meat from scratch. I tasted mince meat pie when I was younger. Once was enough. When I read all the ingredients that went into it, I knew this was a recipe that would never be used by me. The seven pounds of shin bone is what finalized my decision. And what do you do with the resulting TWENTY-FIVE pounds of mince meat? Give it away? Johnny Carson was wrong. The worst gift isn’t a fruitcake, it’s mince meat!

The last recipe I found in the cookbook was a bit out of the ordinary. It was directions for making a BERNAT BABY PAK – bootees, mittens, cardigan, and bonnet. I wonder what my mom was cooking up for my dad with that!

Now it’s time to let my imagination run loose and cook up some creative writing.

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