Salita Council is one of our family's best cooks. Her four boys enjoy putting their feet under her table as often as possible.
Yesterday I attended our NCWN West picnic in Murphy NC. The table was loaded with good food. I filled my plate with new potatoes and green beans, fried chicken, and pasta salad but barely got to eat because I made introductions and announcements.
I have never heard writers exclaim over food as much in my whole life. I once told my husband that writers were not good cooks. They want to write not cook, but the folks who came to this picnic proved me wrong. Some of our group suggested everyone bring recipes next year to go with the great dishes.
I seldom if ever saw my mother use a recipe but she made good food. My mother-in-law, Helen, was a fabulous cook also. Today I ran across some of her old recipes I’d saved because I cherish anything in the handwriting of those I love. Helen’s recipes are unfinished for the most part.
I found this one, printed on the back of a Beall Printing Company invoice slip, dated Oct. 24, 1970.
1 cup flour
1 “ shredded cheese
1 “ Rice crispies
1 stick margarine (melt)
That is it. No other instructions.
Helen made the best Bread and Butter Pickles.
This is what I found written in Helen’s handwriting on a scrap of torn tablet paper.
7 lbs. cucumbers, washed and sliced, 2 cups lime to 1 gallon water – soak overnight.
Take out of lime water, wash three times until water is clear.
A corner of the paper is torn off but it looks like it says “soak in clear water 3 hours, drain. Add 1 cup sugar for each cup of cucumbers, 2 tablespoons pickling spice (tie up in cloth)
add vinegar to cover, soak six hours. Simmer 35 minutes. Pack in jars and seal.
I’ve held on to this recipe although I doubt I’ll ever make these pickles. I can buy excellent pickles in the grocery store. But it brings a picture to my mind when I see the words written in her hand. I can see her standing at the kitchen counter or sitting at the little breakfast table with morning sun streaming in as she wrote the words.
Helen was one great mother-in-law. Do you save old handwritten recipes, notes from family members who are gone now? Tell us about them.