When I was old enough to understand the significance of this cookbook in my mother's life, I told her it was the one thing that I wanted her to leave me when she died. The book had been my grandmother's, passed on to my mom at a young age.
Several years ago, my mom decided that I shouldn't have to wait until her funeral to have my own copy. She found another one online and presented it to me as my very own -- yet still promising me her heirloom edition one day.
I have several old cookbooks from yesteryear, but this one is by far my favorite and I use it frequently. Recipes may have changed over the years, but some things are still classic -- like Yorkshire Pudding. Now I have my own notes and bookmarks falling out of my copy.
Nowadays, I also appreciate the back section of the book with wartime recipes on a budget.
Around the same time my mom gave me the book, I had recently returned from the Sailor's hometown. During my stay there, I made the Sailor's family a pie. I searched high and lo for a rolling pin -- frustrated that I didn't know where anything was in the kitchen. (Read more about that here.)
My mother-in-law saw my frustration and dug into the cabinet. She handed me what appeared to be a glass bottle.
I looked at the lid on one end and then I looked at her.
She explained that it was for keeping pastry cold -- you load the rolling pin with ice-cubes and then it keeps the dough chilled while you work with it.
This was ingenious! I had never seen such a thing before. I somewhat joked with her that she could leave it to me in the future. Sometime later, I realized I needed to acquire my own rolling pin, before I continued to covet the one in the South African cupboard.
Last week, I found myself in the throes of antique hunting in Tennessee. I have spied a few glass rolling pins over the year, but they were always out of my price range. This time, on my second trip through the store, I found one for only $8. It's missing the lid, but I'm sure the Sailor can find something for me that fits. Besides, once the ice-cubes are in there, they're not really going to 'fall out'.
This week, I realized that I now own two kitchen items that are symbolically related to my mom and mother-in-law -- and I still get to ask them both cooking advice. A perfect family history and merger. The only question remains is which recipe from that cookbook am I going to try out first with my new rolling pin?