A Recipe for Time Travel

DEBORAH CROMBIE: In a comment last week, Hallie mentioned a recipe she'd seen in the Boston paper for a cabbage and tomato soup served with sour cream and dill. That reminded me that I used to make a similar cabbage soup called Schi, which I loved. But what, I wondered, had happened to the recipe?

First, I looked in the big, messy (I mean really messy!) three-ring binder where I stick newspaper recipe clippings and appliance instructions. No luck, although a lot of stuff fell out on the floor. But I knew I had a printed recipe, so I kept thinking about it, and eventually I remembered my little recipe notebook.

Lo and behold, there it was on the kitchen shelf, hiding in between cookbooks!

I hadn't looked at this in years!

What a treasure! It's filled with typed (on my old Smith Corona, no less) recipes, some from family and friends, others I must have read somewhere.

Here is my friend Franny's recipe for oat scones. Yum. I'd completely forgotten about those.

There was my aunt's mushroom pate, our old neighbor's Velvet Black-bottomed Cupcakes, my mom's Seafood Gumbo, and so many more.

In the very back of the notebook, I found the recipe for Schi, the cabbage soup. Eureka! But it calls for boiling beef, which these days sounds very unappealing. How our taste--and my cooking--has changed. (I'll probably make a vegetarian version.)

One recipe had a note that read, "Similar recipes in the February 1986 Gourmet," which places the little notebook in time--about three years before I started my first novel. How, I wondered, with a small child and a job, had I ever found the time to type up these carefully curated recipes and put the little book together?

Then it occurred to me that my daughter doesn't even own a cookbook. She's a good cook, but she gets Hello Fresh every week, and everything else she finds online. No newspaper clippings or hand-typed recipes!

Were we less busy in those days, before the Internet and social media? We're certainly spoiled for choice now--with a quick Google search we can learn how to prepare just about anything. But the little notebook has charm, and connections to people and a certain time in my life. I'm glad I kept it.

What about you, dear REDS and readers? Do you have a time capsule?

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