I never had a cute little recipe box where all my recipes cards where alphabetized according to food category with colored tabs for easy access. When I wanted to make something, I opened drawers bulging with cards, notes scrawled on torn envelopes, pages ripped out of spiral notebooks, and newspaper clippings, torn rather than neatly clipped. Many recipes had been in service as bookmarks over the years, so you can imagine what I went through when I couldn’t find what I wanted anywhere else. The largest share, however, were in an oversized manila envelope with “XMAS” scrawled in large letters on the outside.
I’ve always wanted to compile this cache in a reasonable facsimile of “orderly,” making them easier to locate, but spent years never getting around to it. So, what began as a brief collection of my grandmother’s Slovenian “resips” (as she called them) and family favorites morphed into a labor of love that consuming my days and nights for more than a year. It was a profusion of papers, books, pictures, memories; the more I found, the more I remembered – and wanted to include.
I found myself remembering bits and pieces of family history and anecdotes – many of which I’ve included by way of little asides, and many more incorporated in the resips themselves as I went along. I added pictures of family dinners and collective holiday baking, and pictures taken to show the steps involved in producing Grandma’s potica and strudel.
These are more than simple recipes. They are family. They evoke memories, laughter, tears. They represent love and devotion that lies beneath those bursts of anger and hurt feelings that have sometimes veiled those things we leave unsaid, both good and bad, which grace even the best tables.
These recipes are a celebration of what it means to be a family and as much a history of family as are pictures, family trees, or baby booties.
There is so much to be learned, not just from the best times but from the worst times, too. Remember them all for each experience can enrich our lives in unexpected ways if we keep ourselves open so we can see what might be there.
It’s about opening, rather than closing, the doors that block your way. That’s the best “resip” for living that I can offer.