Foods We Love, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, The Writing Life

Heritage Lost

I rely on the internet for information. A lot. More than I should. That was brought home to me when I opened a cabinet door I rarely use and saw a familiar sight: my mom’s handwriting peeking out of an old wooden recipe box.

I pulled the box down and opened the lid, and I was swept away on a wave of nostalgia. My mom has been gone for almost sixteen years and yet seeing her handwriting was so…her. I recognized it immediately. And it made me think. Have I done that for my children? Will they be able to one day look at something like a recipe and see the essence of who I was? recipes

I don’t know. And that makes me sad. If I want to find a recipe nowadays, my first instinct isn’t to go to that treasured box. Instead, I go online and try to find the best of the best of that recipe. How many positive reviews has it gotten? What hints do the reviewers give for making the recipe even better?

And once I’ve made that recipe, I’d be hard-pressed to be able to find it again. How have I come to this point and why? Maybe because I think it’s faster. But what about future generations of my family? Am I losing something in the process?

It could be that it’s time for me to slow down and leave a trail of breadcrumbs so that my children can find their way back to me. Don’t they deserve the same bits and pieces like the ones my mom left me?

I think they do. So I’m going to start thinking a little more about the way I do things. And hopefully one day, my kids will find a treasured recipe or a journal or a photo album that contains my handwriting.

Do you have a special way of passing something down to your kids or relatives? I would love to hear it. Or maybe there’s a special recipe you’d like to share. This is the perfect place! I’m taking notes.

13 thoughts on “Heritage Lost”

  1. Love those recipe cards, Tina!
    I’ve kept aside a copy each of all of my print books for my kids so one day, when they’re interested or maybe even when I’m not here, they’ll be able to thumb through them and still feel connected.
    I hope anyway….

  2. Wow, what a thought-provoking post. I used to love my mum’s recipe tin, she had them all on index cards, she probably still does but sometimes I see her propping up her iPad in the kitchen and following Jamie Oliver instead of her own mother’s hand-written recipes, which she probably still has too. Leaving a trail is important!

    1. I do the same thing…prop my iPad and use recipes I’ve saved on it, or even look for new ones. I’m still trying to figure out ways to leave tidbits for my children. At the same time, maybe the things they will treasure are different from the things I find special. 🙂

  3. I typed all my recipes into a Word file, which I’ve copied for my adult daughter to use (and she does so often). On MY copy, I have also stuck my mom’s original recipe cards on a few so that I can see her handwriting. It means something to me, but, alas, I don’t think it means anything to my daughter. Different generation; different priorities.

    I scrapbook. I’m only on 1994 right now, but every time I finish an album, my kids are first in line to review each page painstakingly. Even our friends want to see new books when they aren’t even in them! Women like checking out how clothes fashions have returned; men like looking at all the older cars.

    I created a scrapbook detailing my mother-in-law’s life when her memory got bad 11 years ago (and she was soon after diagnosed with Alzheimer’s). She only had 14 pictures in her drawer, with family photos on frames everywhere else. I asked my husband’s 5 siblings to provide pictures with dates and events noted – and received a dozen or more from each. I asked my MIL’s sister 1000 miles away, and she provided 16 originals (she was very ill and noted that her own kids wouldn’t know those in the pictures and would throw them out, so she figured she’d just send them all to me instead). I asked my MIL’s sister-in-law over 3000 miles away and she sent me 144 pictures (half and half re originals versus copies). I ended up making copies for my own albums too (and taking the time to insert them all on previously done pages, as they were mostly from the 1940s to 1960s). MY MIL’s album got made in time for her 80th birthday and was a resounding success. Before her 90th birthday, I got family to send me more pictures from the last 10 years (and some sent me more from long before that, so I had to take the time to insert them chronologically on previously done pages too). Just after her 90th, I inserted dozens of pictures taken from that party, now totaling 100 pages with 3-6 pictures on each page. Mom died last week. All we did was haul out the now up-to-date scrapbook for friends/family to review at the funeral home – plus my BIL took digital photos of all relevant pics and put them into a PowerPoint presentation for others to watch while lined up for the receiving line.

    My FIL passed away in 2002. Shortly before then, he converted all the old home movies from the 1950s and 1960s onto a VCR tape, and another BIL had already converted it to DVD – so it too got played at the reception. What a hoot seeing these kids in black and white (no audio), their Christmas trees toppling over, sledding outside, and even seeing my MIL fast asleep on the couch so often (she must have been exhausted raising 6 boys and working full-time in a plant, on her feet all day).

    Special memories….

    1. Wow, Laney, what a wonderful tribute to put those cherished memories into scrapbooks. I’m sure it meant so much. We had a dear family friend who made a scrapbook for each of our kids to record the time when they were little. She sent them to us a few years ago, and it was so neat going through them together and realizing how many things we’d forgotten..

      And you are so right about different generations placing value on different things. I guess it pays to learn what they value and work from there. Thanks for the wonderful ideas! You’ve inspired me to print my digital pictures and get to work!

  4. Hi Tina

    hat a lovely post I have a book that has a lot of recipes that my Mum has written her recipes in so I often pull that out and I also have a little note book which she has listed the Mils & Boon books that she read over a period of time with stars next to them rating them 🙂

    As for me I ten to print out recipes and put them in a file so as my kids can look at those maybe I should start writing them out 🙂

    Have Fun


    1. Me too, Helen! I am going to start writing more things out by hand. I think maybe I’ll try to write a journal for each of my kids with memories of when they were little.

      How neat that your mom listed the books that she’s read. I still remember the very first Mills & Boon book I read. It was a free book. And I was hooked the moment I finished it!

  5. The thing about passing things on is, it only works if the recpients have an emotional connection to it. I too have my books to pass on but I reckon, with two sons, the books will go to the tip. They might keep the ones they have read. Who knows? And like Helen, I have typed a lot of reccipes for the boys to cook at college. They complain they can’t read my writing! I think that asking the adult children what item they would like is a good idea. My husband’s parents did that and he got a painted photo he loved that is a depiction of the logging camp his father was born in. Even so, that was tainted by them cutting it down to half its size (!) when they moved house even though they had written his name on the back to make sure he got it. Again, it’s all about the emotional connection. I treasure my mother’s copy of Pride and Prejudice because that was the book for me that started it all for reading and writing romance. My sister wouldn’t feel the same about that book. Lucky for me! So this is rambling but it’s early sunday morning. I guess my feeling is, we can leave things for our children but no point unless they have an emotional connection that ties them to it and you. Ask your kids. You might find they connect you more with your horses than recipes xxxx

    1. Fiona, that is such a great point, and you’re right. I connect with my mom’s recipes because it’s a reminder of the meals we ate around the table. I think asking my kids what they’d like to have is a fabulous idea!

      And I didn’t find your comment rambling at all! I truly wanted feedback on how to pass memories down. Our family has traveled to a lot of places, so photos of those times together might be the most meaningful thing of all! Thank you!

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