Call me old fashioned but I haven’t fully embraced the digital age. I don’t want Facebook to become the scrapbook of my life. I’ve grown up in a house where my dad still calls a computer “the machine upstairs.” I know that there are a lot of cooks that enjoy their iPads in the kitchen. With a flick of your thumb, the Joy of Cooking appears and then disappears without a trace. Gone are the tomato stains! The olive oil blotches! The impermanence of paper and memory! I pile my cookbooks in a deep drawer.
I prop my cookbooks open with spoons. I don’t wash my hands when I turn the page. I get messy. After the recipes dry from all the spilled sauce, lemon juice and chicken broth, they become something different, something mine. They go back into the drawer, next to my grandmother and mother’s recipe cards.
Technically, there are four generations of women in my kitchen: my great grandmother, grandmother, mother and me. My great grandmother’s practicality hovers above the stove. Her ceramic containers define staples so true they feel like truths to live by.
I like physicality. I like finding the faded coupons my grandmother cut out to save money on cornmeal. I like the old rusty tin her recipe cards lie in. What will I pass on?