My mom gave me my first cookbook when I was 16 years old. It was Christmas 1995 and my mom made them for all the young girls in my family. Each one was an assemblage, a scrap book of sorts, of recipes my mom had collected from magazines from way back in the day. She compiled the recipes according to how much she thought each of us liked to, or didn't, cook.
I was considered "the lazy one" in my family; I was always too lazy to clean up my room, too lazy to help with chores, too lazy to cook, even when I argued it was not laziness but a young feminist resistance to homemaking duties.
My cookbook reflects my mom's assessment of my dislike for cooking. Recipes are mostly "Light & Easy," "Cooking for Two" (or just one), in addition to campy americana recipes from the 60's and 70's. (My suspicion is that the good recipes from the 90's are in my sister's cookbook.)
But the best part of the book are the blank pages in the back, space for me to write my own favorites recipes, in the case my taste for cooking developed. Little did mom know then, (but maybe she suspected?) I have scribbled recipes in a handwriting I can no longer recognize as my own,
I have glued recipes from newspaper clippings, magazines rip-outs, and have copied recipes from more contemporary, fancy cookbooks.
It's funny, this is the cookbook that has the least information (especially when compared to The Silver Spoon, Chez Panisse or The Joy of Cooking) but it is the one infused with the most love. I look into it frequently and feel transported not only to 1995, but to the decades living bound by mom's labor and now my own.
Thank you mom for my cookbook. I will always have it. I love you.