Over the 64 years of their married life my parents lived in only three houses, but in each of those houses the bottom drawer in the kitchen was always the Recipe Drawer. That is until the drawer overflowed and the recipes had to be transferred into boxes.
Growing up the Recipe Drawer was a mystical place to me. There were small notebooks with handwritten recipes, scraps of paper with handwritten recipes with headings like ‘Mrs Wood’s Christmas Cake’, there were cuttings from magazines, newspaper clippings, recipes on packet labels and some printed pamphlet recipes picked up from who knows where. But the true mystery of the drawer was that Mum always, yes always, knew what the recipe she was looking for was written on. I’d be asked to look for the apple sponge recipe written on a small piece of ruled paper or the rice custard recipe in one of the handwritten notebooks and after much hunting there it would be, just as described.
During the search though all sorts of other recipes would be found, Mum’s comments would be “Oh I’ve been looking for that” or “I must try that” or my personal favourite “I bought the ingredients for that, but couldn’t remember what it was I was going to make with them”. The Recipe Drawer was a much loved part of my childhood and the memories of sorting through it with Mum are one of my most treasured.
Being a much more modern young thing when I married, in 1971, and started cooking and collecting recipes I approached the whole ‘Recipe Drawer’ very differently. I bought several folders and put tried recipes on sheets between dividers and recipes to try in the front of each section. Much more organised I’ve always thought, but I doubt it will leave my daughter with such lovely memories.