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Family Recipes

Our anniversary is coming soon; next month in fact. Buck and I would have been married fifty-six years on August the 18th. It was a good marriage. I miss him terribly.

Our backgrounds could not have been more different. I was from Chicago, he was from rural Illinois.

The first time I was introduced to Buck’s family, I felt as though I just stepped into a segment of,” Leave It To Beaver.” Beaver’s family didn’t drink, they didn’t smoke, and they sure didn’t fight, and come to find out, neither did Buck’s. Talk about total opposites attracting.

Buck’s mom, Margaret, knew how to make a home. She was of the era when wives home cooked meals and hand washed dishes. She sewed clothing for her kids and knitted baby blankets and baby outfits. She was accomplished at needlework and seemed always to have a project. Something else was present in her home too, it was laughter. My mother-in-law was a good mentor for her poor son’s new bride who didn’t have a clue.

It seemed to me that her kitchen always smelled good. She was a gardener, so she made jellies and preserves from her own fruit. She baked bread and served up potatoes and gravy and pot roasts that made our stomachs growl.

On holidays and special occasions, she created sweet endings to her meals.

Her signature dessert was her son’s favorite. Meringues with vanilla ice cream and strawberries. She always allowed for his portion of an enormous sandwich made of two meringues with strawberries in the middle and on the top.

One of my favorites, and there were many, was her angel food cake with seven-minute frosting that towered with gooey peaks. Her burnt sugar coconut frosting on spice cake was pretty darn good too.

I recall one Mother’s Day when she and Earl Sr. came to visit. It was a dreary Sunday and Margaret decided to make popcorn balls. These weren’t the size of small golf balls. No! They were the size of softballs. With buttery hands the kids and she worked together most of the afternoon.

Today cooking the way she did is time prohibited. Today, most people work and let us face it; her cooking was not what people eat today. We are a no fat; no sugar no carb, health conscious society.

But, I have to tell you, without regret, her homemade cinnamon rolls were the absolute best! And, I am thankful to have eaten my fill and then some.

When Buck’s Aunt Annie died, and the auctioneer was at her door, I took her recipe box. I still have it even though I don’t use it. There was just something about some stranger buying it. Recipes are personal, like a journal of family and friends.

Take some time to look at some of the recipes that were your family favorites. Reading them will remind you of special events like birthdays and anniversaries and Christmas. Close your eyes and smell the sugar cookies. Good food makes for good memories. Enjoy! Betty

“People who love to eat are always the best people.” Julia Child

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