A recent cooking adventure left me spinning my thumbs, while waiting for the oven to run its course. Not one to waste time, I began cruising the internet for new cooking ideas or themes. After running through several of my favorite publications or blogs, I began to feel like I was seeing the same things over and over again. If I was wanting new ideas or inspiration that really separated my flavor and cooking style from the rest of the pack, I wasn’t sure if this was the place I needed to be looking. I stopped what I was doing and looked around, remembering I was sitting at my mother’s kitchen table. This meant I had access to her tin recipe box.
Since I was a little girl, the recipe boxes in our family have always appeared like treasure chest. Each relative had a different one. Some were put together, orderly, alphabetized, and themed. My Great-Aunt Bootz or “Auntie” was so organized it was the card catalogue of recipe boxes. Nan-Nan, my grandmother had one theme, but it was stuffed full enough it wouldn’t quite close shut. And you could always find a few recipes in the wrong spot when you were looking for another. Sometimes, a bonus surprise! My mother’s, well there’s nothing like it. She wouldn’t dream of closing and is stuffed with such an enormous variety of cut outs, printouts, typewriter cards, and hand written notes it is impossible to not feel your heart smile.
Maybe it was because I have been especially missing my grandmother’s cooking, but fumbling through the box and recognizing not only her handwriting, but differentiating it from the others, followed by spotting out Aunties and other relatives that have long been deceased reminded me they are all still here with me. Thank goodness for food. Recipes allow us to time-travel whether it is because we personally know we need it, or just want to share a part of who we are with others.
Today I have included some of my favorite personal touches from the tin box. These recipes are simple sauces or accompaniments and can be used in a variety of ways.
Good luck and enjoy!
1 1/2 cups tomato ketchup
1/2 cup vinegar
1 large onion, chopped (Sweet vidalia was my grandmothers preference)
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Mix and cook for about 9 minutes. Add 1/2 cup butter or salad oil for chicken. Great smothered on meat before or after putting on B or baking. Also delicious as a simple dipping sauce.
1 cup ketchup
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp prepared horseradish
salt to taste
Dash of tabasco
Mix ingredients. Keep in the refrigerator to chill before serving.
Sweet Onion’s Nan-Nan Style
3-4 medium sweet vidalia onions, sliced finely keeping circular shape 1 cups apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups water
dash of salt
Mix sugar all ingredients except onions. Add onions. Cover and chill before serving. Make sure onions are completely submerged in mixture. Add a little more water and a small pour of vinegar if necessary.
Makes 3 1/2 cups
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup water
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 cups shelled pecan halves or whole pecans
Bring sugar, butter, water and cinnamon to a boil. Stir constantly at a slow boil for 2 minutes. Continue to watch throughout time on stove. Stir constantly at a slow boil for 2 minutes — no longer. Mix pecans into mixture. Cool. Turn on wax paper.
Thai Sweet Sauce
Recommended to serve with apps, meat such as pork or ribs. 1 jar orange marmalade
3 tbsp orange juice
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp horseradish
1 1/2 dry mustard
1/2 tsp dry ginger or 2 small pieces freshly pressed
Mix all ingredients (except ginger) in blender or food processor until fully blended. Keeps well in covered container in refrigerator for several weeks.
The recipes and photos used in todays article are from the kitchen of Chef Babz ([email protected]), with a little help from her family and her mothers tin recipe box.