It’s just a recipe, right?

Are you a recipe kind of person? I have friends like that, they love their cook books, and if you mention you really like something they made, they have a pretty recipe card ready for you the next time you meet. Or at the very least, they point you to their pinterest page to find the recipe.  And then there are people like me.  I consider a recipe to be more of a starting point– most recipes that I do use have notes all over them– omit this, add this, add twenty minutes baking time to use the size pan I have instead of the one called for. I dread friends asking me for my recipe for the things I make everyday, I rarely look at one at all.

Thanksgiving is no different.  This year, Emma Clare wanted to be in charge of the cranberry relish. She wanted to do it all herself. It’s a good dish for her to take the lead. One orange, one cup of sugar, one bag of cranberries. As long as you put them in the food processor in the right order, there’s really no way to mess it up. Apparently she’s destined to be a recipe gal, though, and she wanted me to write it all out, step by step. As I was writing it out, I realized that I didn’t have a recipe for anything I was making for our Thanksgiving meal, save the pie. (Which, yes, is marked up so it’s just like I like it!) The dressing, the potatoes, the Brussels sprouts…

And so I set about writing out some recipes. I didn’t do all the things I make, but I got a good start.  I’ll have to remember a few more every day staples like chili, potato soup, and Shepherd’s Pie. Last year, I was so in the moment. I just wanted to make my Thanksgiving meal and enjoy it, and I did. This year, no longer on chemo, I was technically healthier, yet in many ways, life after cancer really is harder. So, with the occasional tear in my eye, I wrote out the steps to make dressing to go with our turkey. Kind of a morbid exercise, really.  I’m hoping that I’m the one in charge of that meal for decades to come. Yet, somehow, it made me feel better to know that my family has the recipes to enjoy that special meal even if I can’t be the one cooking it. And I suppose, now it will be a little easier to share my favorite dishes with recipe-loving friends.

It’s fun to look through our recipe box and see who has contributed their recipes to our regular dinner and dessert rotations. I have no idea who she is, but Mary Bahn really is a rockstar in our house for her chocolate sheet cake. I doubt she knows it, but she has a legacy in my family. Sometimes a recipe is really just a recipe. But sometimes, it’s so much more.

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