Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Family Cookbooks

My Tuesday morning women's group just printed a cookbook of expatriate's favorite recipes, 'Cookin' in Kigali', using ingredients we can easily find in stores around town. Combined with a little imagination this book offers instructions on how to create almost anything we've left behind. Recipes that result in meals with familiar tastes and smells. Recipes that hopefully won't leave you with a husband saying, "rice, again!?"

I thumbed through the bound pages as bible study began, and I thought what a special book. It brought back memories of the old country church cookbooks my mom and aunts kept around. Guides well worn and well marked. You could always find the family favorites by the amount of food staining the pages. Tomato sauce, oil, and melted chocolate awarded the tried-and-true recipes as badges of honor.

As a little girl, I'd love to flip through, page by page and pick out family names, second and third cousins, follow different family lines and watch maiden names turn into married ones. I'd pepper the women of my family with questions while joining them in the kitchen. "Mom, was this Grandma's neighbor?" "Aunt Margaret, how am I related to the Treadways?" Those cookbooks were my geneologies. I'd daydream about family gatherings complete with the many recipes I found in the books and of family passed that I'd not had the chance to meet.

After I married, I realized that Rob's mother also had these wonderful treasures. I again set out in search of family names, learning a new family history introduced to me by my husband. I recognized his grandmother's salad as the one that we had shared last Christmas and his sister-in-law's soup that was our niece's favorite when she was sick.

My family circle has once again grown since coming to Kigali and this cookbook will be a way to remember them. Hopefully, one day I'll have a little girl who sits in the kitchen with me and thumbs through my book. She'll ask me about the names she finds there and how I knew them and if we were friends. We'll cook our favorite recipes and I'll share stories about our time in Rwanda and the family we met there.

1 comment:

  1. This post made me cry. How special to think about all of those memories and recipes being passed down.