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Recipe For Happiness

I should have remembered the recipe by heart. I’ve made this banana nut bread a thousand times. Yet I still pulled out the batter-splattered cookbook which holds the old recipe. I propped it up on the metal cookbook holder on my counter. My sister Denny gave me this very useful item one year for my birthday. She bakes all the time and knows all about these gadget things.

As I read the recipe, I laughed to myself. I could make this in my sleep. I really did know the simple ingredients that continue to produce the same delicious results each time. Simple stuff: 1/2 cup of butter, 1 cup sugar, two eggs beaten, 3 very ripe bananas, 1 and 1/4 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Of course, I always add walnuts for the crunch.

No, I have not decided to write a food column. My point to sharing my recipe is to remind myself and you readers, how important the written word is in our lives.

I can look up a recipe online, but those are from strangers. I probably have more than a dozen cookbooks in my home. Some I inherited, others were gifts, others I purchased.

Several of my favorites are cookbooks compiled by local church groups or firehouse auxiliaries. It’s fun to look at these recipes which include the names of the people submitting them. A favorite was an orange sugar cookie recipe from Gertrude Beltz who passed away many years ago.

However, the most treasured of all my recipes are the ones written on index cards and scraps of paper by my mother-in-law. Each time I pull one of her recipes from its storage box, I’m reminded of the delicious meals she placed before us at that large, round kitchen table. Even more, seeing her handwriting on those cards keeps us connected in a special way. Her DNA is among those words that tell us how to make her sweet and sour meatloaf or icebox cake.

Don’t think I’m slighting my own mother. She just was not one to follow any recipe exactly or write it down. She preferred to throw things together without benefit of measuring cups or spoons.

For all the benefits of recipes at the touch of button, do the next generation a good deed. Write down a few of your favorite recipes and tuck them in an envelope. Years from now, someone will smile as they read over your recipe for happiness.

Heather Ziegler can be reached at hziegler@theintelligencer.net.

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