the cookbook


Easy peasy as I typed “braised short ribs” into the search bar on my I Pad and up popped a list of recipes. All I had to do as open the pages and follow the directions.  Exit out and done.

Then I remembered I already had a hot-damn recipe in the cookbook from Grandma and downstairs to the bookshelf I went on a hunt for a long neglected look back at my collection of cookbooks.  I guess I’ve gotten lazy since the last time I moved ten years ago when I put them on a shelf in the basement and I most often surf up a recipe on the computer rather than pull up a book. After all, we are in the age of immediacy aren’t we, with technology tour fingertips.

Still, I am of the generation when we got the  red and white checkered Betty Crocker pretty much as a wedding shower gift, usually from Mom, and then gauged our kitchen and wifely savvy as our shelf of cookbooks expanded.  So when my Grandma gave me this cookbook when I got married, it was par for the course of the times.


My Grandparents had a farm in Molalla, Oregon where they raised polled herefords, and since I grew up loving the big white-faces, this was special from the association Grandma belonged to as a farm wife.   So special that I still have it long after she is gone.   I can open the book and find the pencil notes she put in there marking the best recipes for me.

These are more than bookstore cookbooks that there continue to be a plethora of even though I believe Pinterest, Safari and Google have become our go-to sources for inspiration and I haven’t bought a cookbook in awhile.

These cookbooks are moments. They were carefully and lovingly put together by  women in support of the groups they belonged to. They are like a potluck of intimacy into the kitchens of these groups of women who sat around tables with handwritten recipe cards and notes, choosing some and rejecting other favourite dishes, probably with some strife and hurt feelings. The glow of seeing your name in print under the recipe you shared with the world.


So, I turned off my I Pad and ended up sitting with a coffee and some nostalgia looking up recipes and the names of women I knew in Grandma’s farm days.  I went with Mrs. Blankenship’s rib recipe and thought about her in her kitchen in West Alexandria, Ohio writing out her recipe for this book, pretty standard short rib recipe but I’m sure it was made with love because Mrs. Blankenship wouldn’t have put it in the book without her family knowing she made the best ribs ever.  I like that she shared that.








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