In 1977, my mother Ann died at 51 years old. She left me a few possessions including a wooden recipe box filled with now yellowed index cards. Most are hand-written with a few pecked out on old manual typewriters. Except for a handful of pies, none of these recipes made any lasting impression.
But that's not why I keep the box and cards. They give me a glimpse into Ann's life in the 1960s. It was slower. Dad was a minister and as a minister's wife, she cooked for church potlucks and Bible studies held at our house. She and her friends and relatives shared recipes. This was a time to be frugal. Life was deliberate, more planned, not such a race and not wasteful. If they lived far apart, they shared these dishes by mail. On the edge and sides of many cards, they'd add personal notes, like "Alta," who took the time to type out this Chili Con Carne (no wonder I don't remember this dish - I hate green bell peppers).
Some cards even note the time and day.
These recipes are not anything brilliant and some are not so healthy dishes, including the one she clipped one from the San Diego Tribune.
I plan to pass the box and cards on to my kids, even the many recipes for jello mold salads and chicken casseroles that they'll also never make. Hopefully, they'll also see these as a glimpse into the past, when life was simpler, when the grandmother they never knew didn't know what we know about canned foods but she knew the importance of taking the time to share.