Writing Prompt: Write about an item you have that isn't expensive but means a lot to you.
I ponder the treasures that fill our home and weigh the importance of each one. Maybe my most prized possession is my childhood favorite, now raggedy stuffed polar bear, appropriately named ‘Polie’ (so creative, I know). Or perhaps I’d choose the postcards from my dad to each of our kids, detailing his cross-country adventures and piquing their curiosity for travel. Certainly it could be the glass Christmas ornament filled with dried flowers from my wedding bouquet.
But I settle on a small box filled with recipes that have been handled and referenced dozens, if not hundreds, of times. This simple little box is delicately detailed with birdhouses and flowers, a few of the things my old soul is quite fond of. However, the value of the box lies not in its exterior packaging, original price tag or value to the world, but rather what’s inside - the words, the history, the memories.
Each card inside contains a recipe, most of which came from family – the one I was born into, the one I married into, friends I consider family, even distant relatives. They’re fan favorites to whip up for a Superbowl party or a baby shower for a friend. They’re comforting casseroles, simples salads, decadent desserts.
Some of the recipes are messy, requiring countless kitchen utensils. Some are laborious, taking time and patience (both of which I typically lack). Some are simple to memorize, while others take up two cards front and back (Grandma's peach pie). Bent corners and rough-cut edges make our favorites easiest to grab. Small stains often coat my dessert recipes, a drop of vanilla or almond extract that dribbled on its way to the mixing bowl.
But above all else, what I treasure most about this little box is the handwriting on each card. Recipes from my mother – a love note of sorts – to ensure I am well versed in the names of herbs and spices, knowledgeable on how to blanch vegetables, and keen on cutting butter into flour. There are cards with both my grandmother's handwriting, their cursive swirling and elegantly outlining each step. And the handwriting of my mother-in-law, imparting on me the recipes which delighted her children, and hoping they will someday delight mine.
We have a sign in our kitchen that says, “If you feed them, they will come.” A slightly humorous décor piece, given we have three boys that are sure to someday eat us out of house and home, but truthful nonetheless.
It’s not expensive taste that impresses new friends. Price tags don’t comfort those in times of trial or loss. Not wealth or fortune convinces family to gather around a table each night. It’s food. GOOD food. Recipes passed down through generations because they’re that good. Mouth-watering meals and deliciously sinful desserts. Even snacks that make children squeal and come running.
Try a new recipe, or an old one for that matter, and see if I’m right. The proof is in the pudding, after all. Maybe even literally.