Recently, I received a piece about In Memory’s Kitchen
It is a poignant tome about a group of Jewish women housed in a concentration camp in Terezin, Cz. The women, starving, awaiting death pieced together recollections of family recipes. They wrote them down on propaganda leaflets and wrote them in a combination of languages.
Later the compilation found its way, decades later to a daughter, who had survived the camps. The book was released and as noted in many reviews is a testament to the courage and heart the women possessed. Most touching is they knew they were to die. They wrote there recipes down for what reason? In order to celebrate a past simple life…to offer a memory or record of what was? It is a touching book, not for the recipes, but for the courage and heart of women, who dined on scraps from the garbage heaps while recording their favorites.
So, from a personal point of view, I offer this also as an incentive to record any and all family recipes that are not already written on a note card or piece of paper tucked into a cookbook: my mom made the world’s best potato salad. I have never tasted a better potato salad. Yet, I never acquired the how to steps of preparing it. For, five months my mom laid in my home, in a hospice environment. I watched her slip away in a slow motion dance with death. Not once did it occur to me to ask her how she made that magnificent potato salad. It seemed inappropriate at the time. My daughter-in-law has come close in replicating it, but the recipe would have been nice….that secret combination of ingredients…that edge.
Ask your mom, dad, aunt, mother-in-law for the recipe for that special dish, sauce, rub or cooking technique. So many times it is up there in their head. It has been altered from the original many times over the years. That is ok, get the memory down and celebrate the sharing of a family treasure. Do it soon!