Friday, June 12, 2009

Chest of Memories

I enjoy cooking and over the years have collected hundreds of cookbooks. But even with all my cookbooks I often resort to my faithful box and drawer of scraps of paper with recipes scribbled on them. It's quite a sight if I tumble them all out on the counter and paw through them in search of the recipe I have in mind. And I always end up going on a memory journey and could no more replace them than what my Mom could a few years ago when she tried and then sent me this poem about the event.

My Recipe Box
A little gray box, on a shelf up high,
Contained such clutter, 'twas weary to the eye,
Now down it will come, I decided one day,
To recopy the slips in an orderly way.

They all spilled out on the table for me,
What a rumpled heap, I'd end it you see
A stack of fresh cards and a brand new pen,
A nice comfy chair, I'm ready to begin.

"Custard Pie" read the first, from Emma my sis,
She lives far away, I'll have to keep this,
"Zook Cookies" yes, from my own Mother dear,
I'll treasure her handwriting on thru' the year

Now next came one with a big splotch of grease,
From my Aunt Malinda who is now deceased
I laid it aside with the tenderest care,
To throw it away would be most unfair.

Oh here's a pink card with a worn bent and twist,
That took place in baby John's chubby fist
He has grown tall now, is a Daddy too,
I'll just have to keep that one, wouldn't you?

A splatter on the edge of this big white sheet,
The hot drink son David invented so neat
Filling up fast was my little box gray,
But the stack of new cards untouched did stay.

Here's the mixture of crumbs, that tasted so good,
When used to fry fish as Mahlon oft would
Standing at the stove, cheeks red from the heat,
He'd fry two bowls full delectable treat!

Cheese Bars, cookies, and Angel Crust Pie,
Remind me so much of an era gone by
When daughter would work ambitiously late,
She'd try something new when expecting a date.

Bologna with garlic and spices for zest,
When done how Liz says is really the best
I'll keep her whole sheet with her greetings of cheer,
It will keep us in touch through out the next year.

Mom-in-law's method of planting of peas,
"Dessert" from dear Sarah our company to please
"Pickles" from Rosemary, far in the north,
Bring memories of old times, plenty of worth.

"Popcorn Balls" yes, with blue marker framin'
Made when Mom wasn't home by Ivan and Raymond
A whole pack of cards, in schoolboys hand printing,
By now my eyes through tears had been squinting.

By in-laws, aunts, cousins, and friends galore,
A box full of memories stuffed in by the score
Back up on the shelf, my precious small chest,
Just the way it is, is really the best!


  1. Such a lovely poem. I have a box just like this! :0)

  2. Sweet poem! I have quite a few cookbooks as well but yet often refer to the recipes that are handwritten in a box in my cupboard. I wonder how many other people have one as well? Great post!

  3. What a dear, sweet poem! How many times I have tried to redo my own recipes...with exactly the same sentimental results~! Beautiful! Thank you for sharing!

  4. I told Monica at the Mennobrarian a month or two ago that my husband thought he was "helping" me and decided to throw a BIG stack of recipes away that were sitting on the kitchen counter on top of my recipe box. He thought he was cleaning up and since they'd been there awhile, figured I didn't have time to go through them. Wahhhhhhh. He felt really bad and was going to go outside and go through the trash, but those kinds of stains on the cards aren't quite as treasured if you know what I mean! Most of the really good ones were in the recipe box, but it still was a shame to lose the others.

    I didn't want to squelch his desire to help clean, but recipes are a no-no - and my sewing stuff - and my craft stuff... :)

  5. What a lovely and very accurate poem! It's funny how we collect cookbooks in good faith for new ideas but keep turning back to the old favorites. The recipe box that holds my standard pie recipes and a binder full of lovingly copied standard "classics" are truthfully, my most used resources. It won't stop me from looking for new cookbooks, though!

  6. I have a notebook like this, instead of a box! :) About a year ago, I sat down and cut, pasted, rewrote and reorganized mine. It's time to take another shot it! LOL! Really cute poem! Enjoyed that! :) ~Rhonda

  7. That's a really cute poem. I love it!!!!
    I love cookbooks too. I collect them whenever i can afford them, especially the amish and mennonite ones. You guys cook so good. (How about that for grammar, lol.)

  8. What a talented writer you are and expressed perfectly how I feel about my old recipes. I have a recipe for sugar cookies that fell out of my Betty Crocker Cookbook I received in 1959. It is torn, greasy, and creased but I enjoy all the memories it brings back.

    Thank you for stopping by my blg and leaving such a sweet comment about my flower.

    Stella by Starlight

  9. How interesting that you grew up Amish!! I have enjoyed reading some of your posts, and am becoming a follower so I can be sure and read them all!! Have a blessed weekend! Thank you for the comment on my blog.

  10. It is clear that your talent for writing is gathered from your mom. What a tender process and similar to one I have gone through.

  11. Thanks for visiting my blog :)

    I am looking forward to reading your as well. I love recipes of any type. I have several ways that I store my recipes: two separate recipe boxes, and two binders that are organized and filled with printed, handwritten and taken from magazines or newspapers. I love looking through them all :)

  12. You are a talented poet! :) Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

  13. Thanks for stopping by my blog. It is so refreshing to read your childhood memories. I am trying to simplify my life these days, and your stories take me back to my own childhood days.
    Thank you,
    Theresa @ Cottage Violets

  14. Thanks for your comment, I really appreciate it!

    I have no box of my own like that, my mom wasn't much of a scratch kind of cook, and my dad's mom just kept them all in her head.

    But everytime I go to an estate sale and find a filled recipe box, I snatch it up and relish the recipes as if they were my own families! I love the little handwritten notes on recipes so carefully cut out of newspapers and magazines. And the scratchy handwriting of a little grandma leaving her legacy.

    It makes me sad that the families don't treasure them enough to keep them, but their loss is definitely my gain! :)

    I love that poem. I think I'm going to handwrite out my favorite recipes instead of just printing them out like I do - Thanks for the inpiration!

  15. Great poem, and so true. My recipe box has all kinds of memories, too. It's kind of chaotic and messy, but I guess that goes with life in general, doesn't it?

  16. Thank you for visiting and commenting on my blog.

    I enjoyed the poem you shared. It was lovely. I look forward to coming back to read more.

    Have a blessed day!


  17. This was so precious. And I have always felt a little guilty about liking my old stained and beat up scraps of paper my recipes are written on. I will look at them differently now. What an EXCELLENT poem.

  18. Hi, This is Pamela from Sojourn's Nest. You're the lucky winner of my giveaway. Please send me an email to to let me know where to mail the gift set.

    Love your blog and all the memories. I'll be back often to take journeys back in time with you. I’m sorry to hear that your mom is gone, mine is as well, but we know they are resting in a better place and we’ll see them again one day.

  19. Thank you so much for commenting over at Sisters Preparing for the future! I hope it is a great blessing to you.
    I have enjoyed reading some of your posts! I was intrigued by your profile, as I have just been reading some books on the Amish! I will be reading your blog!

    God Bless!

  20. It was rather interesting for me to read this post. Thanks for it. I like such topics and anything that is connected to this matter. I would like to read a bit more soon.

  21. It was extremely interesting for me to read that article. Thanks for it. I like such themes and everything that is connected to this matter. I would like to read more soon.

  22. Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

  23. It is extremely interesting for me to read that article. Thanx for it. I like such topics and anything connected to them. BTW, why don't you change design :).

  24. I'm finally reading your blog from the beginning. I loved the poem about the recipe box! I finally started scanning all my recipes onto the computer. Eventually, I plan to print it out and bind it.

  25. I'm not a cook, I'm not a writer. But I am a passionate reader. And I really loved your mom's poem. It is so well-written and touches one's heart. It's clear to see where you got your talent from :-). I enjoy reading your blog very much. Have a great day. Greetings from Brazil

  26. I'm not a cook. I'm not a writer. But I am a passionate reader. And I loved your mom's poem. It is so well-written and touches one's heart. It's clear to see where you got your talent from :-). I enjoy reading your blog. Have a blessed day, greetings from Brazil


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