So, although it survived the rigors of middle school, the binder has a new profession now – just like me. Pressed into service in what I best can determine was the early 1990s and then forgotten in my mother’s garage for the next 20 years (god, has it really be 20 years?) it houses a treasure trove of late-70s to late-80s recipe cards, home ec handouts and grocery store tips that I collected and compiled between the ages of about eight and 15. Its centerpiece is a homemade cookbook – a labor of love between me and my brother, featuring a cover decorated with magazine picture cut-outs of tomatoes, raw onions, a can of Chef Boyardee Beefaroni, and a very suspicious looking stir-fry concoction, ripe with – are those hotdogs? (Delicious!) Inside a are an inspired collection of beverages, salad dressings, main dishes and desserts – lots of desserts.
Let’s be clear – Julie & Julia this a'int. A quick glance at the titles alone proves that point: "Candle Salad," "Beef Roll-Ups." There seemed to be a heavy reliance on gelatin and cakes made with mayonnaise. These recipes are not exactly nostalgic, because, as far as I can remember – aside from the handouts from my middle- and high-school home ec – I never made any of them. But, like a taste memory, they take me back to the large kitchen of my childhood as surely as if they had been served on the dinner table. Who was this kid who carefully cut out recipes for Quick Chicken Chasseur (what?), Guacamole Ring (there’s that gelatin again), and a “Pumkin” Pie made with Bisquick? What will I learn about myself making these creations my childhood self so wanted to try?