I always thought the idea of starting a baking blog was great, but I could never bring myself to take the first step and go for it. It wasn’t until months of convincing from my family and friends and a ballet injury that left me with a surfeit of free time that I finally acted on my vague ambitions.
I think the reason that I’d hesitated for so long was the fact that I wasn’t sure how to start: I was just a girl who enjoyed spending time in my kitchen and sharing dessert. By no means could I call myself a recipe developer.
That’s why I decided to look to the tried-and-true for inspiration: family recipes. Excited but with no concrete plan, I called both of my grandmothers, asking if they’d be willing to share their recipe collections with me. Of course, both cheerfully obliged, and by the next week I had a heavy stack of church cookbooks, magazine/newspaper clippings, and handwritten recipes waiting to be explored. The best part, though, was that not a single page out of the stacks was simply a piece of paper. With each set of ingredients my grandmas handed me, they also handed over a story.
“This sugar cookie recipe was given to me by my neighbor who was a home economics teacher. Her husband performed your parents’ wedding.”
“This peach pie recipe is my absolute favorite! I’m sure you can tell by how messy it is.”
“Your great grandma used to make these candies all the time, but no one makes them anymore. You have to give it a try, I just know you’ll LOVE them.”
I could see joy take over their faces as each paper I delicately held transformed from a list of materials and steps into a living puzzle piece of their lives. These breads, cakes, and pies had survived cross-state moves, marriages, and new generations. Suddenly my internet-acquired baking repertoire seemed overwhelmingly dull. There is something about touching a batter-stained, faded notecard with penciled-in adjustments that can never be replaced by a pristine, widely read website recipe.
No matter how simple or complex my families’ recipes are, they will always have a sort of exponential value that comes from love. Their wealth expands each time they’re used, revamped, and shared between friends (or grand daughters 🙂 ). In a culture of instant recipes that are just as instantly forgotten, I hope that I can keep alive the beautiful tradition of sharing, of love, through baking. With a pile of old, worn books in my lap, new inspiration in my heart, and the warm smiles of my grandmas across from me, I knew I was ready to start.
Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They will spread out in all directions–to the west and the east, to the north and the south. And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants.