My desk is a mess, as this photo testifies. That huge stack of papers is from my appalling collection of recipes—and that’s only vegetables and appetizers with a much reduced folder of desserts that I’m almost through sorting—and I rarely fix dessert.
I’ve been sorting these, kind of my punishment for being such an avid recipe collector over too many years. I am trying to be hard-hearted, and the number I’ve thrown away is astounding. But I come across old favorites that I may not have fixed in several years but can’t bear to throw away—something from my mom or a favorite aunt, a recipe a child laboriously wrote out, a dish I associate with a good memory. And back in the folder it goes.
When I did this with my mom’s recipe collection—easily as appalling as mine—I began carefully, examining each recipe. I ended throwing out whole notebooks without looking at them.
Jordan got me started on this to put files in my new super filing cabinet (which is not nearly big enough. It’s all part of the big merge in which I go to the cottage, and the Burtons move into the house. Since they’re now seriously working on the cottage, it’s all taken on a new urgency.
It will be a huge lifestyle change for me, part of which is that I’ll rarely be cooking big meals and entertaining as has been my delight for years. And that is part of the larger picture of aging. It’s all making me nostalgic. I realize how integrally food has been a part of my life since childhood.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m excited about the move and looking forward to a cozy cottage for Sophie and me. I expect my friends to come for happy hour in my cottage, and if I want to cook a big meal, I’ll come into the main house. But still, as I throw away each recipe, it’s like saying goodbye to the past. It’s time to move on and treasure the memories of a rich and wonderful past. And I’m now throwing away my apron—just about 9/10 of my recipes!
Want one I decided was a keeper?
1 lb. hamburger
1 lb. sausage
1 lb. Velveeta
1 can mushroom soup
1 jar Pace picante sauce
Brown hamburger and sausage, breaking up the chunks of meat until it is all crumbly. Drain and put in the crockpot. Add Velveeta, cut in chunks, and melt. Add mushroom soup and picante sauce (really works best if you use Pace).Serve hot with chips, or for a light meal put chips in individual bowls and spoon queso over.