Most of them were from Taste of Home Magazine and other magazines from the same company. It is while looking over these that I was reminded of something. Every recipe has a story. This is one of the things I LOVE about Taste of Home magazine, besides the fact that it is cheap. With almost every recipe the person who submitted it also adds a little blurb about where it came from. Sometimes these recipes came from their mom, sometimes they found it at a pot luck and sometimes it is just some thing they made up in desperation to feed their family on what they had in their home.
To the casual reader it doesn't matter as long as it tastes good, but for someone who loves food and the memories that come with it, it is where it comes from that makes it taste so good. You know exactly what I'm talking about. For Stephen it is things like Molasses Sugar Cookies. It takes him back to being a little boy and trying to sneak them out of the cookie jar this along with Strawberry Pie makes him think of his mother. Now if you give him Chocolate Pie or homemade biscuits he thinks of his Great Grandmother Raymer. While for me fried Okra makes me think of my Grandma Minton and homemade noodles makes me think of my Mimi. These are just a few of our favorites, but it is the people they are tied to them that makes them even more valuable.
These recipes have history and weight for our family. They have become part our our children's heritage. They have become part of our family story. Stephen can't eat a Strawberry Pie without telling stories of trying to sneak strawberries while his mom wasn't looking, even though we mother's know better. When he eats Chocolate Pie or makes biscuits, he tells stories of his great Grandmother. These ties that bind generations. This gives my children references not only to food, but to where they came from, and these stories will be passed down to their children and so on.
This has brought me to think about the Raymer/Hatcher cookbook. Several years ago, my mother-in-law blessed me with a copy of a cookbook she had pulled together of family recipes. I probably submitted more than I should have, but she took them all and added to them all of the others. When it comes to things to make, it is my go to source. I think I have tried everything in there at least once. Some of these have become standards for my family. Family traditions being passed down to the next generation. Stories that are part of who we are, where we came from, and why we are here today.
I have begun the process of retyping up this cookbook, not only for myself, but for the rest of the family. With this I plan on adding a family tree of the wonderful women in the family. I want my daughter to have a copy of this, but not only her but her grandchildren and great grandchildren as well. As I told her this is a living cookbook. It will grow as our family grows. It will evolve and develop by adding more recipes and more stories. Though I am only a Hatcher by marriage, I have been blessed and touched by every single one of these women because they helped mold and shape the man who is my husband and the father of my children. It is because of this gift they have given me that I wanted to continue to share their love with the rest of my family for generations to come.
It is while I am doing this that I am also beginning a cookbook of my side of the family. I want my children to have a rich heritage, especially my daughter. I want her to know that she comes from wonderful women who have blessed their family with amazing food. Food that not only fills the body, but the heart and soul. That with her labor of love comes rewards beyond mention. I want her to understand that by doing her part in her family that she will join the ranks of some great women, women who helped make her who she is.
With all of that being said I thought I would share one of the family "secret" recipes. Stephen said if he could only have just one recipe from his family continue it would be this one. The older two children were in agreement. It is their all time favorite. According to Audrey, "this is the recipe that just says Grammy." So without further ado here is my Mother-in-law's Molasses Sugar Cookies.
Molasses Sugar Cookies
By Joyce Hatcher
¾ c shortening (you can half this with butter)
1 c sugar
¼ c molasses
2 t soda
2 c flour
½ t cloves
½ t ginger
1 t cinnamon
½ t salt
½ c white sugar for coating
Mix ingredients. Cool in refrigerator for at least an hour. Roll into 1” balls then in granulated sugar. Place on greased cookie sheet about 2” apart. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes.