APPLE SEEDS: Old tastes from old friends
Wikipedia describes this period in human history as a shift from traditional industry to an economy based on information computerization.
We are firmly ensconced in the “Information Age”.
Prefaced by the “digital revolution” which really got legs in the 1970s, this time is also described as “New Media Age”. It’s digital, it’s interactive and it’s immediate.
The desire for immediacy is a relatively new phenomenon. It’s amazing how much information you can glean in 10 seconds. But at what cost? The answer to that question is probably unanswerable.
Now, this would be a great segue into a rant about acquiring news through social media, and then interpreting everything you read as fact, but I’m not going there today. My inspiration was far less political.I realized just what I was missing when I dove into my cookbook cupboard to find a recipe from an old friend of my mother’s. I could visualize that scrawled set of instructions on a half sheet of paper, lovingly tucked into the cookbook published by the women of the 10th line United Church (or something like that – I have several and had forgotten how much I enjoyed leafing through the pages).
It wasn’t there.
Not to be bested by that cupboard, I sat on the floor surrounded and determined.
I needed to find that original recipe for ‘Whipped Shortbread’, and not take the easy way out and Google it. No Pinterest, or Google search. I was going “old school”.
Within minutes, I was lost in time and memories as I waded through the much loved and stained volumes; some old, some very old, some unread but seemed like a good idea during acquisition, pages ripped from magazines read at the doctor’s office or hairdresser, milk calendars, Kraft promotional booklets, and five recipe boxes, new and inherited, all filled to capacity with folded slips of paper and 3” x 5” recipe cards (okay, I just dated myself with the Imperial reference – and if you don’t know what I mean by “Imperial” – it isn’t the metric system).
I leafed through the red 1945 Purity cookbook, (now referred to as ‘vintage’) handed down from my paternal grandmother, barely held together by its worn-out spine (the beloved cookbook had my sympathies, because I share the worn-out spine affliction). I smiled at the notes jotted in and around her favourite, and least favourite, recipes. Purity nailed it and that book is still my go-to for ‘butter cream icing’ lathered on each and every birthday cake.
I found the November 1990 issue of Readers Digest with the Philadelphia Cream Cheese ad, and Mocha Cheesecake recipe. The cheesecake is way easier than it looks and tastes, which always meets the criteria for “a keeper”. I never transcribed the recipe to a card because it was easier to put my hands on the Readers Digest stuffed in the cupboard.
The volumes of “Company’s Coming” – salads, desserts, squares. For those unfamiliar, these are among the chosen because every recipe has a picture somewhere in the book. I know what my favourites look like, so again… easier to locate. I just discovered the Company’s Coming website, and perused their new volumes, like “better with bacon”, “cooking with beer” and what I probably should investigate “Healthy in a Hurry”.The plethora of ‘tried and true’ compilations for fund raising – My daughters’ Sunday school class, hand-written in childish script and bound in yarn; From churches, curling club, yacht club, grade school, complete with tips and hints.
As I picked through the recipe cards, ‘Summer Slush’ got immediately moved to a prominent position in anticipation of backyard barbecues and bonfires.
I went page by page through my favourites, reacquainting myself with the times and the people that each represented. I re-read my own notes, scrawled in the margins as guidelines and memories in days to come.
I am still in awe of the ability to access information in a blink. Information I didn’t even know I wanted to know.
But as I take the shortbread out of the oven, (yeah, I found it, and it isn’t just for Christmas you know) I am grateful for those landmarks of my life; old tastes from old friends, and doing it “old school”.
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