CookbooksOdds are you probably have something like this tucked away in a closet or in a storage unit.

To be honest, I thought about it too.

I changed my mind after posting a picture on Facebook and reading the responses about the value of my little family treasure.

You see, I’m lucky to have the very first cookbook AND recipe box from my grandmothers on both sides.

In between each cursive line is the recipe that created my grit, my silly sense of humor and unconditional love for every member of my small family.

They’re now in their 80s and still kickin’.

One, Grandma Black Book-Hill, raised her family on a wheat farm in Kansas and didn’t have running water until her first-born was 13.

The second, Grammy Red Book-McMillin, was the wife of a grocery store businessman who traveled to other countries and sometimes lived a life of luxury.

The women come from two different worlds, but their cooking legacy looks so similar to me now.

Grandma Black Book-Hill used tape and Grammy Red Book-McMillin used rubber-bands, but they both used one single book and one single wooden box to learn how to cook for their family. All that work now weaves the threads though my small, tight-knit family.

CookbooksTo me… the contents are priceless, the first items I’d grab if there was a fire.

If I tried to sell these, the wooden boxes would probably go for more than the contents (and that wouldn’t be much).

Many of you have family heirlooms like that too.

You may have a cook book like me, maybe an old radio flyer or even a horseshoe.

Some of you may have something passed down from generation to generation and know nothing about the story behind it.

You will never know until you ask.Signature

A few months ago, I sat down with Grandma Black Book-Hill at her apartment on the fifth floor of an assisted living facility in Independence, Kansas.

I spread the recipes from the box out on the floor.

It was a huge mess and Grandma Black Book-Hill looked timid, as if going over each recipe card was a look into her soul.

Her shyness quickly subsided once we crossed the intersection of Memory Lane Road.

Each card, written in grandma’s careful teacher-style cursive, has a story.

There’s the pie recipe that Grandma Black Book-Hill says won my papa’s heart at the tender age of 17.

Another recipe card holds the ingredients of my father’s favorite hot home-cooked meal and the dessert grandma made and mailed to Vietnam. Then, there’s Grammy Red Book-McMillin who is known for every single delicious dish (too many favorites to share).

Aunt NormaLast night I sat down one more time and went through the cookbooks page by page.

The memories are still coming to life.

Aunt Norma’s elementary school photo (pictured on left) was tucked in between several pages.

I also found my grades written down on a piece of paper stuck to the inside.

SO.. here’s what you do.

Dig out that old rusty whatever it may be, from deep down in where ever, and place it where you can see it every day and as often as possible.

Oh, one more thing.. don’t you dare change a thing.

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