It’s that time of year when we go all Norman Rockwell. We get out the good china, the colorful tablecloths, the pretty glasses. Gourds and autumn leaves decorate our houses. Families do their best to get together and we deeply miss the ones who can’t be with us.
And then there’s the food. Always too much but always appreciated. We resurrect our old family recipes. Year after year, out of respect for our heritage, we re-create the good ones. And, sometimes, the not-so-good ones.
And so it was last week that my relatively small food contribution to this year’s dinner was discussed.
The family knows that my grandmother put lard in everything she cooked. It was yummy but we can’t go there anymore. My mother was big on adding generous dollops of rum to nearly everything that left the kitchen. That, too, was yummy but best not to go there either. For those reasons, the recipe collection from my past is slim and iffy, at best.
Thus, I’ve always relied on my friends to share their simple and always delicious favorites. This year, I offered to bring Mrs. Willard’s Zucchini Casserole to our table. Surely, I remembered the recipe from our recent downsizing and deeply purged move. Didn’t I?
Where might it be? My recipe box? Nope, not there. Maybe it’s in one of the few cookbooks I brought with me? Not there either. Panic swells up. If I pitched that, what else went out by mistake?
Aha, my memory said. Maybe I stuck it in my old…really old… Joy of Cooking. Surely I brought that with me. But not so fast. It’s nowhere to be seen. And I can’t exactly Google “Mrs. Willard’s Zucchini Casserole”.
Then memory did me another small favor. That old…..really old…..Joy of Cooking has no backing. It just looks like an old stack of papers. Take another peek.
And there it was. One old friend embracing another. Mrs. Willard will be with us, after all. Of course, there’s still that little matter of proper preparation but I think I’ll be okay. Mrs. Willard understood my kitchen limitations. Good friend that she was.
And a happy Thanksgiving to all.