Hey Kay – we had that recipe box in the kitchen, too, growing up. I hope my sister has it, or maybe it’s in with the cookbooks my father packed up last year during moving season. The layers of recipes snipped from papers and packages my mother had taped inside the kitchen cabinets – vertical collages that stood in for a box later on – must have been hard to take down.
That’s my recipe binder up there, filled with sheet protectors that hold everything from pages photocopied from Gourmet in 1999 (Did I do that? Can’t remember. And if it was me, what was I thinking, Gourmet? – I had three kids under 5), to the (urban) legendary Neiman-Marcus cookie recipe (“It cost me a lot! You can have it for free! This is a TRUE STORY!”), to bits and pieces pulled from the pages of Southern Living and the Washington Post. The only ones I really use are right up front, five or six at the most.
There are only a few handwritten recipes, way farther back, and just one from my mother, jotted down on a scrap of paper:
1 cup milk
1 cup choc chips (6 oz pkg)
1 tsp vanilla or almond
Pour milk into sauce pan & bring just to boil – Combine rest of ingred. in Blender jar – add hot milk Blend on Lo – 1 min 6 custard cups
That was it – nothing about actually cooking it, but I figured I could track down the rest of the recipe in one of the old standards. And it was there, more or less, in the red plaid Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, as Chocolate Pots de Crème, in a version where the eggs do get to cook a bit in the saucepan. (It also instructs you to let the filled custard cups chill until firm, several hours or overnight.) The time in the blender with the hot milk must cook the eggs just enough in my mother’s version, certainly back when we all ate cookie dough without the spectre of salmonella hanging over raw eggs. She’d always serve this with a star-shaped squirt of Reddi-Whip right in the center, and I’d almost swear that the crème de menthe (which lurked in the refrigerator door among the salad dressings and the saved take-out soy sauce packets) sometimes stood in for the vanilla extract.
I’m not particularly sentimental, but it made me smile to see her handwriting, my mother, who died almost seven years ago (that long? really?) when I wasn’t really looking for it. Thanks.