There’s a project I’ve been busying myself with, working on a little bit at a time for a while now. A lot of people have these. I’ve noticed them on Pinterest and cooking and homemaking blogs. What I’m working on (you may have guessed from the title) is a recipe binder.
My mother has had a recipe binder all my life. It’s a bit of a mess. The pages are uneven and some of them are folded up on the edges. It’s full of notebook paper, copy paper, magazine clippings, the side of a cocoa box snipped out with scissors. The recipes are typed up or scribbled down, some in her handwriting, some jotted down by aunts or church ladies. Honestly, it’s sort of comical. There really is no organization other than the simple idea that she “knows where it is.”
It’s messy, but when I look at it, I smile because I know that she really does know where every scrap of paper is inside that binder. I love her for it because she has spent so much time collecting those recipes to cook for the people she loves. There’s something in there for all of us. Chocolate cake recipes to bake for my sister’s birthday. My aunt’s sweet potato casserole recipe for me.
It was always there with us in the kitchen. It’s been present for all the family dinners. It helped teach me how to cook when I was sitting on my feet to be high enough above the kitchen table to measure and stir. I know a lot of people have these recipe binders, but when I think about the traditions my momma’s binder has been a part of, and the time I’ve spent with my momma and that binder, it means the world to me. I always knew I wanted to have a binder like that for me and my family someday.
One day I was browsing cooking blogs when I ran across something that really inspired me. It was a blog entry where a woman shared a story about her mother’s recipe cards. Her mother had passed away, and she told about how having those hand written recipe cards in her mother’s handwriting meant the world to her. She saw it as a piece of her that she could keep and that she could pass down. When I read that, it almost made me cry. It was such a beautiful thing. I wish I knew where I read it so that I could share the link and read it for yourselves. It was really quite moving. After reading that, I decided to start a little project of my own that I hope will be like my mother’s recipe binder, and like that woman’s mother’s handwritten recipe cards.
I am copying down every family recipe, recipes momma and I love from her cookbooks, all those recipes given to my mother by friends and ladies of the church, my favorite recipes, and those that I come up with on my own. I’m writing each and every one of them down in my binder, by hand. I love the idea of seeing this binder in the kitchen of the home where David and I live as husband and wife someday. I look forward to opening it up to cook a hot meal for him. I look forward to knowing that he’ll be able to cook anything I cook for him even if I’m not able to. I can’t wait to see little eyes peering over that binder someday while our babies watch me cook. I know I’ll be glad that they’ll have those recipes someday, and I hope that it will mean to them what the recipes from the women of my family mean to me.
I love working on this binder. It brings back the best memories I have from my childhood. It reminds me of a lot of selfless love from momma and granny. It’s just a joy for me to work on. I am passionate about feeding my loved ones good food that reflects the care I am willing to put into it. I love working on this project because I know someday I will be a homemaker like my mother and my grandmother before me, and their recipes will be a part our home. My home will smell like home when the one I love comes through the door. My kitchen will always be warm and filled with the love, laughter, and tenderness I grew up with.