Recipe Box

I remember my mom’s recipe book, full of handwritten notes and recipes on small index cards. The index cards were tucked into the plastic sleeves of a photo album to create a family recipe book. It sounds like a goldmine of family recipes, but my mom threw it out long ago. Without the photo-album recipe book, we don’t have a compilation of family recipes. Enter my recipe search. I have been on the hunt for family and church cookbooks close to southern and middle Missouri, written (or collected) by local women and resembling the food I remember eating as a child. Unfortunately, I have hit dead ends.

I sent out messages to all my aunts. Save for a family lasagna recipe, I came up empty handed. But this weekend I saw my Dad’s sister, whom I affectionately call KK, and she picked up this recipe box at a nearby flea market for me! 

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They aren’t family recipes, but it is full of index cards, backs of envelopes, and scraps of paper. As far as I can tell, the recipes were written and collected by a woman in a nearby town.

This mango relish is just the thing I knew nothing about and was hoping to find.

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To be honest, I was surprised to find a dish featuring mangoes. I expected the produce to be a little closer to the midwest. Another surprise were these potato latkes.

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And you better believe there are salads! This ambrosia salad didn’t surprise me too much. I expected a salad recipe or two with a gelatin base.

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But this Party Pork Crown meat salad surprised me!!

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First, notice the categorization in the upper right hand corner. Pretty sure meat is a subcategory of salad. Second, I did not even know about celery gelatin. I suppose that is a game changer for the savory, jello based meat salads. And finally, in case you were worried, the meat-gelatin-salad also has mayo, because of course it does.

I spent yesterday morning pouring over the little index cards, old envelopes, newspaper cutouts, and scraps of paper with recipes scrawled on them. The recipes document a variety of dishes (and gelatin salads!) that were curated by a woman not far from where I grew up. It feels close to home. I hope to bring some of them to life in my kitchen and also make a few modifications to suit my preferences.

More soon. Stay well.

Cassie