In the tiny little kitchen of my childhood home, below the shelf, behind a drawer, lived several cookbooks and a box filled with hand written recipes. On many occasions would I help myself to this little library of culinary delectables. I spent hours scrolling through pages of recipe books, looking at photos of foods, reading the recipes and figuring out what was what. This was before the Food Network, before main stream media featured cooks, before the culinary world was at the status at which it is today. I still have very clear memories of what the little recipe cards looked like, especially the hand written ones. Penned in cursive with all of the little extra notes and personal details that were added on. The frayed material on which the recipes were written always gave me a sense of wondering where these cards came from, how long they had been around and who had passed them to whom? Not too long ago, on a Food Tour stop at My Father's House Southern Kitchen, owner and Chef Adrienne came out to meet and greet with a table and we got to speaking about the sharing of recipes. Chef Adrienne explained that when she was young, she had written down all of her grandma’s recipes and she still has those well-protected. So many of the guests on the tour were moved by what the chef had to say and it spurred quite a lot of conversation. This is the type of conversation that I personally love when it comes up on Food Tour! You could quickly sense the memories stirring in the air, and the warm and very deep connection that these individuals had to this story, which triggered their own memories of recipes and traditions passed down, generation to generation. Not too long ago I had my mini-retirement from the elementary school where I had worked for many years. On my final day I was so pleased to have the kids and staff members and friends share memories and gift me with a whole recipe book that had contributions from parents and teachers and staff - all hand-written and bound into a beautiful book. This moved me beyond words, and I treasure that recipe book. Every time I open it and read it, it brings me to a wonderful memory. I also still have a few cookbooks from underneath my mom’s cabinet in her kitchen back in the good old days, as well as a few cherished hand-written recipes. One of these recipes, for a no bake cheesecake that my mom wrote, still hangs in my pantry to this day. Not too long ago, I grabbed a spiral notebook and started writing down some of my favorite dishes to put together. I really enjoy the time and memory process that the whole experience elicits, sitting and recalling memories and favorite places associated with these recipes. So, what are some of your favorite recipes? Who introduced you to your first cookbooks? What is the first recipe you ever cooked? If you’re not sure, take a few moments to relax, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Travel back to a beautiful experience with food in this moment. Recall and retrace those beautiful memories. Also, if you don’t record some of the food that you are making these days, I encourage you to grab a little notepad and start writing those recipes down! Even something as simple as how you prefer a specific bread or the type of butter and jam - those little nuances about what makes a special treat special. You never know where those recipes might end up living!
Have a delicious week! Joey G & The JGNT Family
PS Looking for an opportunity to slow down and savor delicious flavors in good company? Join our next public tour. Click here to see available dates. PPS Interested in learning more about our arts programming through the Creative Arts Workshop? We begin this week and there are still a few spots open. You can click here to explore adult arts programs and/or sign up for email updates about future opportunities.