Handwritten Treasures

Happy 2020! It sounds so cool, doesn’t it? I remember being a kid and imagining all the amazing inventions that would exist by the year 2020. Technology has certainly come a long way and I’m grateful for the advances that make our lives easier!

As a foodie, technology has definitely enhanced my life in the kitchen. It’s incredibly simple to find, read and print recipes online in a matter of seconds. Appliances such as my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixers make mixing up anything a breeze and my recent addiction to Instant Pot has inspired me to make new recipes like homemade ramen in a flash.

Mixers

A few months ago, I was looking for something and found the binder that holds my collection of handwritten recipes from family and friends. I flipped through them and couldn’t remember the last time someone actually wrote a recipe for me or the last time I wrote a recipe. In this digital age, handwritten anything feels special.

Some of the recipe cards are from people who’ve passed and I spent the next hour looking at these cards in a very different way than I had before. The love and time that went into making food for family, parties, funerals and holidays came through in the cards that had a few stains and creases. As I looked through them, something deep within me stirred. I pictured my grandma, mom, aunts taking time to sit down, find a decent pen or pencil and share a piece of themselves on a 4×6 index card or scrap piece of paper; writing their best cursive and simply drawing a line through mistakes made along the way. Kind of a nice thought, isn’t it? Simply draw a line through our mistakes and keep writing our stories. I like that.

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Small sample of some of my handwritten cards.

These cards are tokens of love, just like the many meals we’ve shared. Food is our most fundamental way of communicating. Good times and bad. Laughter and silence. Memories and new beginnings.

I pictured my loved ones in their kitchens just as I’d seen them for years preparing dishes using real ingredients and no fancy gadgets. Cookbooks weren’t piled up and the ones that did exist were usually held together with string or tape, the pages were stuck together and notes were written in margins about the latest Bible verse to read or a little tidbit about combining sweet milk and vinegar to make buttermilk.

I visualized them wiping their hands on aprons and finding joy in the simple act of cooking. They weren’t distracted by taking an Instagram worthy photo or making their finished plates look like something from a Five-Star restaurant.  They simply wanted to deliver a plate full of love. Some of my fondest memories are set in kitchens.

Mammaw Brooks
Mammaw Brooks in her Kentucky kitchen.

Once I snapped out of my stroll down memory lane, I realized my daughters don’t have a keepsake of handwritten recipes. What kind of mother am I?! I mean, it’s probably not a big void in their lives but it’s something I value and want them to have. Especially, since they both love to make and eat food! Also, I miss cursive and teaching kids how to write all pretty and…well, I’ll get back on task now.

Hannah and Carrie Buns
Hannah and Carrie several years ago with matching buns!

I went right to my computer for ideas for a recipe box that I could give Hannah and Carrie as Christmas gifts. Etsy to the rescue! I found a sweet little box and adorable dividers and cards at a shop named Gertie’s Attic. I ordered 2 sets right away! The shop owner is great to work with and even sent me extra cards.

I mailed the recipe cards, along with a note explaining to the recipients what my plan was. I received handwritten recipes back within a couple days! Grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends really came through and it was quite a treat to read their selected recipes. Of course, I also included a few from Casey and me.

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Hannah and Carrie were really surprised and had a great time flipping through the recipes! In this year of 2020 (still can’t believe it!), I’m reminded of the importance of technological progress. I’m also thankful for simple, meaningful gifts that are intended to remind my girls they’re connected to something greater and loved beyond measure.

I hope 2020 is full of wonderful times and delicious food!

From the heart,
Shannon

Do you have special handwritten recipes? Feel free to share them with me!

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