Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Recipe Box

Food is a powerful source for stories. It’s hard to think of a food without having some sort of memory or reaction—either positive or negative. On Emeril Live on the Food Network, reactions from audience members are both visible and audible with groans and lip licking.

I have a friend who’s writing a memoir using family recipes. She collected many of these recipes from her mother. Each recipe had a family story associated with it. Her mother died many years ago from ovarian cancer, so she collected the recipes as a way to keep her mother’s memory alive. Up until recently, she kept the recipes in boxes. Now she’s compiling them on her computer and writing the memories associated with each one.

Whenever I eat bean soup, I remember a family reunion I attended as a child. It was in a church grove and attended by every arm of the family who lived in Schuylkill County. We had the usual picnic fare like potato salad, hot dogs, and hamburgers. My dad carried a steaming Styrofoam bowl of homemade bean soup. My little sister turned her nose up at it, so my dad had to coax her to try it. Corn on the cob roasted on an open fire. Butter dripped from my chin. My sister and I were most fascinated with the barrels that dispensed homemade root beer and birch beer. We drank cup after cup until our stomachs hurt. My Grammy won a hat during the Pinochle game. It was made of green yarn and Christmas cards. Grammy wore it to church in the winter.

Open your own recipe box. What are your favorite meals? Your family’s? When did you eat it for the first time? Who made it? Also, think about the meals you hated. Why did you hate them?
What happened during certain meals? Which dishes seemed to turn up at every family gathering? Make a list of as many foods as you can think of. Do this quickly. Jot them as they come to mind. To get started, open a cookbook or a recipe file. When you’ve finished the list, choose one or several from the list and freewrite. Go back periodically and add to your list.

If you haven't already, visit the sister site, CS Writing Workshop. I've added a new section called CS Notes.


Bacem said...

Hi, I'm extra_man from mylot,
nice blog friend, really cool, good subject, just need to invite one read it, it's good!

Rita Marie Keller said...

Thanks for stopping by and reading. See you around Mylot!