New from Nelle Cooper

Follow the recipe!

Follow the recipe! That's what my great-grandmother told my grandma, and my grandma told my mother, and my mother told me.

Those recipes were treasured, handed down like the 'best secrets' of the family. Each carefully handwritten in cursive penmanship. My first recipe, a copy of my Great grandmother Emma Stanley Butterfield's scone recipe. A red plaid tin box just showed up in my life one day with a stack of plain index cards. My mother and I were making scones. Mother said, "It's time for you to start your recipe collection. Sort through my recipe box, copy the ones you like and put them in your recipe box.." My own recipe file. I was eight years old. It was an exciting day. I learned as the years passed, there are secrets filed away on recipes. Little tidbits a busy cook may not notice. One example might be the long dash at the end of "Mother's cream puff recipe. That dash means, when they have finished baking------ turn off the oven and let them dry out! Who would know! A recipe file is more than a collection of cards, it's about the process of sharing and carrying on traditions. It's about the culinary secrets of the women in the family, their friends, their entertaining and what they made when pantry ingredients were sparse and a trip to the store was out of the question. A recipe on my e-reader is not discolored from spatters, or dog-eared from use, and as excellent as it may be, there is no lineage attached. Something is missing, and it's probably the wisdom of the women who have gone before, tucked among the dashes! A recipe box holds much more.... than the eye can see.

May your day land jelly side up!