Sunday, February 26, 2012

My Ol' Recipe Box

My Ol' Recipe Box

   This week found me digging in my kitchen cabinets for my stuffed, much used-and-abused recipe box. Why? Because I'm contributing to an upcoming group cookbook. And as always happens when I go through that box, I was immediately assailed with the memories which each and every tattered card evokes. Memories of the friends and family members whose handwriting is now fading. So, for a change of pace, my post today is about food. Hope you enjoy the following.

Pear Honey 

9 cups of chopped, fresh pears
1 large can of crushed pineapple (undrained)
5 cups of sugar Cook until thick and seal in hot jars

I have no idea why the recipe bears that name, since it doesn’t contain any honey, it was given to me by my mother-in-law, a wonderful cook. The combination of these three ingredients produces a unique flavor, delicious as a topper for toast or homemade biscuits (yum-yum). It’s one of my husband’s favorites

Catfish Charlie (9-day slaw)
1 large cabbage, thinly slithered
1 large onion, sliced thin
 ½ cup of sugar
 Sprinkle sugar on sliced cabbage & onions and set aside. Then combine the following in a small pan:
 1/3 cup of sugar
 1 t. dry mustard
 1 t. celery seed
 1 cup of white vinegar
 ½ cup vegetable oil
 Bring this combo to a boil and pour over cabbage/onion mixture. Chill thoroughly (overnight is good). Stir well before serving. Keeps well.

    Another of my recipes with an odd name, the above was my mother’s specialty and requires a very large mixing bowl. She and my step-dad were big on fishing and fish-fry gatherings, so I’m pretty sure that’s where the Catfish Charlie name came from. (Note: Splenda may be substituted for all or part of the sugar.)

 Fresh Tomato Relish 
 1 qt. fresh tomatoes
 ¼ large green bell pepper
 1 small white or yellow onion
 Chop into a tall container and top with
 1 t. salt
 2 T. sugar
 2 T. of white vinegar
 DO NOT STIR. Let set overnight till ready to serve. Then stir

  That recipe came from my mother-in-law’s sister, also a wonderful cook. We love fresh sliced tomatoes, but when I have an abundance, this relish is a delicious change.

   All of these people are now gone from my life, but the recipes -- and the memories -- will always remain. I hope it’s the same at your house, and you have a recipe box of memories like I do. Bask in those wonderful memories, and use the feelings they evoke in your writing. The result will be true-to-life emotion and very real characters.

 Ramona Butler


  1. Yummy recipes & smooth connection to writing. Maybe that's what inspires the writers of cozys/cozies(?) that revolve around food. Though I'd hate to put a favorite recipe in a murder mystery!

  2. These sound great! Granted, I'm hungry right now, so maybe I shouldn't be reading about food. I should be eating it!

  3. I am so glad you still have these special recipes and memories. I love that I have some of my own from years of baking and cooking at your house with you and Grandpa. I love you guys. :)

  4. I confess that I don't do a lot of cooking, but recipe cards, even those with food stains, and especially those hand written by the family member who gave it to you, are true treasures.