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Creating a Tried and True Cookbook

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I hoard recipes. I rip them from doctor’s office magazines, download them from Facebook, and print off enticing ideas from recipe websites. Trouble is, my eyes are bigger than my stomach, and the new recipes crowd out my REAL cookbook. Pretty soon I feel weighed down with uneaten calories.

In an effort to downsize (no pun intended), I went through and discarded many of the “maybe-I’ll-make-this-one-day” recipes and scaled down my Tried and True to the recipes I actually make. This really put my recipe book on a diet and made finding recipes so much simpler.

Then I took this slimmed down recipe book to the copy store and ran off a copy for each of my kids. We sat down together and I talked through each recipe and the cook who had shared it. With a colored pen, they made notes on the recipes. I pointed out my grandmother’s handwriting and her Dutch Sinter Klaas Cookies and Apple Crisp. We savored my mom’s English Muffins, Rosy Rhubarb Cake, and Blueberry Buckle. The typed oatmeal cake recipe from the grandma they never knew took on special meaning.  Then they slipped each page into a plastic sleeve to protect the recipes from inevitable cooking disasters.

And the remaining magazine tear-outs and Facebook downloads? This is the best part. My daughters chose which ones they’d like to try cooking. This summer they are each making three selected dishes per week.

This week Julia made a Thai Coconut Chicken Soup, Christine made a Berry, Goat Cheese, and Arugula Salad with an amazing strawberry dressing, Chicken Artichoke Bake, Curried Chicken Pita Sandwiches, and a Grilled Romaine Salad. For breakfast we’ve feasted on Banana-stuffed French Toast, and Carrot/Apple Pecan Muffins.

As we eat, we talk about whether the new recipe was worth the effort, the cost, the time, how we would tweak it if we made it again, and whether the recipe will make it into the Tried and True Collection.

My kids are learning to cook, I’m going through my hoarded recipes at triple speed and, except for the “Mom, where is the _____?” and “What does it mean to cut the carrot on the bias?” questions, I have a break from the kitchen.

But the best part is–not only do my girls have a Tried and True Cookbook–they will remember the generational love and memories behind the recipes. And with each new recipe, they add more love and memories that will one day be handed down to their own children.

About Ann Stewart

Ann just won the Christy Award for Best Debut Novel of 2017 with Stars in the Grass, originated AMG’s Preparing My Heart series, and writes “Ann’s Lovin’ Ewe” for The Country Register. When she's not writing, she's waving her arms directing musicals, teaching middle schoolers, or watching UVA Basketball, This is Us, or Madam Secretary. In her free time she hangs out with her husband, raising two lovely daughters and a whole flock of fuzzy sheep on Skye Moor Farm, in Virginia--where unscripted drama provides plenty of entertaining material.

Encouraged? Share this post...

Ann Stewart

Ann just won the Christy Award for Best Debut Novel of 2017 with Stars in the Grass, originated AMG’s Preparing My Heart series, and writes “Ann’s Lovin’ Ewe” for The Country Register.

When she's not writing, she's waving her arms directing musicals, teaching middle schoolers, or watching UVA Basketball, This is Us, or Madam Secretary. In her free time she hangs out with her husband, raising two lovely daughters and a whole flock of fuzzy sheep on Skye Moor Farm, in Virginia--where unscripted drama provides plenty of entertaining material.

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