Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Recipe to Die For?

Just a Few of My Recipe Books

Recently in Dear Abby a gentle reader complained that a family member wouldn't reveal the "secret ingredient" to a much-loved pancake recipe shared at breakfasts attended by family. She was quite angry about it. How could she force the woman to give it to her? Could Abby give her a "shame on you" word of advice to the offending woman? The subsequent letters to Abby both defended the offending family member and chastised her and they offered what they thought the secret recipe ingredient was.

Recipes. When is a recipe a recipe to take to the grave? When is the time a recipe is protected to the point where it becomes not only a guarded secret, but also something that is given under lock and key to an heiress (or heir) during the reading of the will?

My brother, mother and me at home for a special dinner (dad took the photo)

I own maybe 100 cookbooks. Yes, I know. A serious addiction. I have stacks of recipe cards and a computer folder filled with recipes I've been given. I've even written a few down of my own making. However, never have I felt I needed to guard a recipe and refuse to give one to someone who requested it. I have a really good friend who is an amazing cook/baker. She not only will ask for a recipe or technique, but generously gives out any recipe if you ask her. Will she be remembered for her Honey Cookies (a recipe she got from my mother-in-law?) Probably. Will my mother-in-law who gave the recipe to many people, including my friend, be remembered for Honey Cookies? Well, yes, I think so.
Books and recipes just go together--Dining with Joy by Rachel Hauck

We associate the recipe with the person who not only shared the recipe, but shared the finished product. Some of my recipes have been requested by local bed and breakfast establishments. While I never got credit for it, I had the heart-warming satisfaction that these people loved the product. Plus, if I ever lost the recipe, I just give my friends a call and say, "I lost it. Can I get it from you?"

But not everyone is so generous, and I respect if those people have their own reasons for not giving it out. Still, I have a difficult time understanding the motive. When that person is gone, what happens to the recipe? I can understand if it's a recipe for your bakery or restaurant or for a contest, but what if you're just a matron of the family fixing meals for family, friends, the church potluck?

Here's something I will lose when my nearly 93-year-old mother-in-law dies(her birthday is April 1st.) Not some recipe that can be forgotten, but a special woman whom I cannot duplicate no matter how many of her recipes I have and cook. No matter how hard and how I try to duplicate her pies, noodles and potato rolls, I miss an ingredient that only she possesses--that special spice that is contained in her soul. The prayers she says over the food as she joyously prepares the dish, and the love she sprinkles into those things that she's not that crazy about eating, but knows we love to have them. And while I cannot duplicate her recipes exactly, I will always try to duplicate the love and generosity she put into them with a warm, sweet topping of nostalgic remembrance.

So, share those recipes. It's a legacy of love. Here's a favorite concoction for Sunday dinners!

Mountain Dew Apple Dumplings recipe: From the Kitchen of Imy Miller
Preheat oven to 350, or 375 for crispier dumplings.

2 apples cored and sliced into 6 to 8 pieces each depending on # of rolls in tube
2 cans croissant rolls
2 cups sugar
2 sticks butter
2 tsp cinnamon
1 can Mountain Dew(TM) soda

Wrap 1 apple slice in each raw croissant triangle and place in 2 rows in 9X13 pan.
Melt and mix sugar, butter & cinnamon together and pour mixture over dumplings.
Pour partial can of Mountain Dew around the perimater only.
Bake for 30-45 minutes depending on whether you like the dumplings crispy or soft.
Serve alone or smothered in vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

Sherbet Punch recipe:
2 liter bottle of Ginger Ale
2 liter bottle of either 7 Up or Sprite
1 container of red Hawaiian Punch
1 block of frozen rainbow sherbet

Mix together in a punchbowl, serve & enjoy!

Crystal Miller

1 comment:

Rachel Hauck said...

You are such a sweetie! I'm digging that mixer! XO