One day several years ago, I received the phone call that so many moms have received several times from our sons — the kind that begin with, “Hi Mom, I have someone I want you to meet.”
I had been on the receiving end of these phone calls several times from my bachelor son Kim, but this time he used the word “really” before “want,” and he finished the conversation with, “Will you cook dinner for her?”
It was a request he had never made before this particular telephone call.
A few days later, that specially requested dinner was cooked and eaten, and as I closed the door behind Kim and Cindy, I felt I had just cooked for them the first of so many dinners that would follow.
On Mother’s Day three years and many dinners later, Cindy gave me, now her mother-in-law, a very precious gift — a beautiful and later-to-be-treasured recipe album.
“For you, Mom,” Cindy said as she handed me my gift. “I want you to write down in this album all of your recipes your son loves, especially your crab cocktail one. This way, none of your recipes will be lost, and I want you to keep putting in your new ones too, until —”
Her voice trailed off. Instinctively I knew she meant when I go to meet my maker. This thought, at that moment, did not make me a very happy mother-in-law.
Just thinking of all the recipes I had saved in a hodgepodge manner — some from friends and family members, their paper now yellowed and torn in the folds, butter-stained and even with fingerprints still detectable — was overwhelming.
“Let that box with the album in it sit on the shelf for a while longer,” would go through my mind each time I looked at it.
A year passed, and another Mother’s Day approached. I was in a pharmacy passing the Hallmark card aisle when the Mother’s Day cards caught my eye.
Even though my own mom died several years earlier, I still have a hard time looking at those cards and quickly turn my head away from them while swallowing the lump in my throat.
But that year, for some reason, I was drawn to those cards. One card with large lettering stood out among the others. It simply read “Memories.”
I believe each mother wants to be remembered by her children, both for her love for them and for family times spent together. I know I do.
And as I sat that evening remembering that Mother’s Day card, I realized my daughter-in-law had given me a most precious gift — a vehicle whereby I could document recipes of foods that I have lovingly cooked during our years together.
While taking the album down from the shelf after so many years had passed, I realized how precious this would become to my family after I am, well, you know.
Three years after having received the album, it is now chock-full of my handwritten recipes with notes written on the edge of pages. Notes that say I love them, and some with briefly written memories of our days past, and some with smudges and, yes, even fingerprints.
There remain a few empty pages in the album for yet-to-be-discovered recipes.
And on the last page of this album I have written: “Recipes and Memories, from Mom.” There is no date. It is yet to be determined.
The Family Recipe Collection Book is 9-by-12 inches with beautifully designed pages and cards to document your personal recipes and pockets to house other family members’ handwritten recipes.
This album would make a wonderful Mother’s Day gift for your own mom, or for yourself to pass on to your children. It can be found on Amazon.com. The price is $75, and it should arrive well in advance of this coming Mother’s Day, May 13.
n Colly Gruczelak, a Ben Lomond resident, loves people and loves to cook. Contact her at email@example.com.
CRAB COCKTAIL (KIM’S FAVORITE)
4 to 6 servings
1 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Worchester Sauce
2 teaspoons horseradish sauce
½ teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
¼ cup finely diced celery and or radishes
One 1¾-pound to 2-pound crab, cooked, cleaned and shelled, or 1½ cup crab meat, chilled.
Combine all ingredients except crab and mix well.
Divide crab into chilled balls.
Pour sauce over crabmeat and serve with lemon slice and traditional oyster crackers.