Old and Pretty

Every time I visit my parents I end up rummaging through old things in search of I-dunno-what. Sometimes I take things that might come in handy, other times my mom will decide it's time for things to move on, like the rolling pin and bowl that long sat in storage after Grandpa passed away.

Over the years I've called dibs on several "nicer" items for when I grow up and have my own house... someday. Among them are the teacups and saucers - one from my grandmother's collection and one from my aunt Pauline's collection.

And then there's the 'recipe book.' I don't dare call dibs on this one, but I do have to figure out a way to conserve this relic. In our family it's the familiar black book that lives in the kitchen and is filled with notes, drawings and recipes spanning three generations. It started with my grandmother's note to the babysitter, back around 1955, and a few of her own recipes. Those are interspersed with children's handrwriting and drawings. As a child, my mom practiced writing numbers and drawing snowmen in this book and later on she continued to fill it up with her own recipes in a more grown-up elegant handwriting. Some of the wacky little drawings were by my sisters and I, and there's the super impressive backwards writing by a momentarily dyslexic Joanne, or ennaoJ (sadly, I forgot to take a photo of that page). I also contributed my own recipes in my chicken scratch handwriting.

None of the pages are in any particular order. It seems every time someone added to the book, they just opened it to any empty page. After about 60 years of use, the recipe book is still holding (though not strongly) and my mom still flips through the pages as if it weren't about to crumble between her fingers. I was nervous watching her on my last visit home.
Many of the pages have oil marks, or brown spatters of vanilla. Most of them are somewhat grainy from sugar and flower, and some have dried up clumps of batter. Every little detail adds to the history and the charm of that little black book. Here are two of the favourite and most used recipes:

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