I don't know much about my maternal great-grandmother. Or my grandmother, for that matter. Military BRATs aren't afforded much time with their relatives if their fathers are stationed hither and thither. Not that I'm complaining; growing up in places like Bangkok, Naples, and Stuttgart is a great way to spend a childhood.
But back to family matters. My mother was a great cook, snipping recipes from magazines and flour bags, learning dishes from the countries in which we resided. When we stayed with her mother, I ate well, too (except for Easter lamb...I never could get used to that taste). And just this week, I got a glimpse into my great-grandmother's culinary propensities thanks to a gift from my mother's brother: one of her cookbooks, bagged in plastic to keep the pieces together as the cover and pages are falling apart.
My uncle told me this was a Depression-era cookbook. I did some investigating, and found out that Ida Bailey Allen was a cookbook author, syndicated columnist, and radio personality. The cookbook I received was part of the National Recovery Administration efforts to build the U.S. economy after the Depression.
The cookbook is filled with handwritten notes, including my uncle's own beginner attempts at writing his name.
It will take me days, maybe weeks to fully explore what this cookbook has to offer. Glancing from its contents to what I have on my dining room shelves, I now know that I truly do come by the habit of collecting recipes and cookbooks honestly; it's my genetic heritage.
|The Better Homes and Garden red-and-white cookbook was my mom's.|
|Just some of my cookbooks; binders are full of clippings.|