Random 5 for November 29 – Cookbooks, recipes, anthropology, weather, moving

Mom as a young woman

Treasures – We are cleaning out and packing in anticipation of our move. I have found some real treasures. Okay, only one real treasure. I found my mother’s notebook with recipes in her own handwriting. I hugged the book and felt her hug back. It’s the handwriting that matters not the recipes.

Speaking of recipes – Looking at someone’s recipe collection should be an anthropology research project. The ones I collected early in life were easy and quick (think spaghetti and egg salad), followed by more exotic ingredients (back then nutmeg was pretty exotic). Then came the beautiful creations. I still have a book on how to cut up and ice cakes so they look like rocking horses and fish. Then came the “Bon Appetit” part of my life. Stunningly beautiful and classy (the pictures were. My own creations didn’t always live up to the pictures). Now I’m back in easy peasy no weird ingredients that I would only use once. It’s a life story. If I can’t pronounce it or spell it, I don’t want to eat it. Yes, I can say croissant!

Crisp and clear – On my Starbucks run this morning, I noticed how clean and cold the air was. Yesterday it was in the 50s when I woke up. This morning we are twenty degrees cooler. More sun. This fall has been delightful. No complaints here.

Surprises – We are knee deep in this moving stuff. I forgot how hard it is. We have to make our home, which is fully lived in by two peeps and four cats, look like House Beautiful every single day. It’s a challenge for sure. No water glasses on the counter or chip crumbs on the table. We have three cat trees. Any cat person would understand that but a non-pet person may be totally turned off by it. There also isn’t any place to box and store without it sitting “indaway.” We have settlement in two weeks so at that point we can clear some items out of our home and work on a “Pottery Barn” look which seems to be so popular in homes on the market.

It’s an age thing – I don’t like a lot of clutter especially on the kitchen counters. When the beloved husband and I got together that was a negotiation. We have a coffee maker and a toaster out. Everything else gets stored in the cabinets and taken out when used. That includes my stand mixer that weighs at least 800 pounds! Then as we got older, we needed to keep vitamins or medications out so we don’t forget to take them. Another evolution. Maybe I can hide them in a pretty basket. We’ll see. I hope our home sells reasonably fast so I can stop being neurotic.

So how was your week?

 

 

 

58 thoughts on “Random 5 for November 29 – Cookbooks, recipes, anthropology, weather, moving

  1. I would love to find such a treasure like my Grandma’s recipe book. But knowing her, she probably had them on index cards and alphabetized in a filing cabinet. We framed one of my husband’s Grandma’s handwritten recipes and hung it in the kitchen.
    I’m a bit like you. I like using my old 1970s cookbook written in the days when people weren’t afraid of things like fat and sugar and cholesterol and salt . . .

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  2. My week was full of cat trees. I’m babysitting one of my grandcats, so that makes seven, which makes me Snow White. Your move sounds awful to me. But that book of your mom’s recipes!!! What a treasure. You made me think about those early recipes I collected. LOTS of appetizers. For all the partying I did in my twenties . . . .

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  3. The handwriting – so important – it tells so much about a person – and you have a bunch of it! It is a treasure. Got a laugh at what dishes used to be fashionable and exotic in various times. Real sociological studies as much as fashion in pictures.
    Clutter gets me, too…but the darn meds have to be out for reminders. Sigh. I understand now why mom had pill bottles in the kitchen. Used to drive me crazy (or crazier HAHA)
    Keeping things clean for showings is stressful. We always threw cats into crates and dog into the car and drove around…talk about stressful. RC had been an easy to travel with cat up to that time. draped herself and looked around calmly…but with the sudden house showings she started throwing up as soon as she got in the car…and then the dogs..and of course it always happens when you are the only one home to run and clean and grab and get out before they come. Cat hates the car now.
    I know people who are house hunting here – and it appears people are looking for yards. Can you print out a few pix of the pond in full spring glorying casually place on screen porch? Your pond is such an oasis.
    Fingers crossed the right person spots your place quickly. (and the cats are not “traumatized”…or use it as an excuse for bizarre behavior as desired like RC does HAHA)

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    • Four cats is too many to crate. As soon as you catch one, the other three know what’s going one and hide! We are putting together a “picture book” because the house looks wonderful front and back in the spring/summer. Can’t believe we ended up with this lousy timing!

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      • I know. We had 3 cats and 2 dogs….crazy town. (I’m down to 1 cat crate out of self defense and in defense of sanity…)
        I was going to suggest a picture book – House Books are a big thing here – with all sorts of info about repairs ( and who made them) warrantees and info booklets about AC, Heaters, appliances, sprinkler systems, and stuff….and lots and lots of pretty pictures – summer porches/patios and Christmas decorations…even maps/suggestions to find local places to wander, shop, eat…if we ever get back getting out out fearlessly again. Buyers here go nuts over that stuff
        Seriously that screen porch and yard. That alone should do it!

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        • We will give info on workmen and instruction books along with summer photos but I’m not sure I’ll go to all that work to make is pretty! Then again, we’ll have to see. If there are no bites there’s no telling what you do!

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  4. What was a wonderful treasure to find…..that’s the only part of “cleaning out” I like – finding things I long ago stashed away that really MEAN something. I can’t believe though how easy it is to accumulate “stuff”. Moving on to a new home will be invigorating – tiring for sure but what FUN to decorate again and enjoy the whole “nesting” process. Hope ALL goes well and current house sells quickly. Fingers crossed!

    Hugs, Pam

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    • I wax and wane on whether this is the right decision. Logically it is. Emotionally, well, that’s a different story. As the child of parents who went through the depression, I get super cautious (that means neurotic) when dealing with large sums of $$. As I’ve gotten older my trepidation has gotten worse. Once things are in motion, hopefully I’ll feel better. We have started to declutter and box but I don’t know where to go with the boxes. We have settlement on the new house on Dec. 15 so we can cart stuff there so the house “shows” better. Winter is my least favorite time to buy/sell houses yet I’ve done it a few times once moving a week before Christmas.

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  5. I don’t know how you do it, Kate–keeping the house decluttered and packing at the same time. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll be able to do it when I need to. And yet, I’ve moved at lease ten times, not counting my childhood moves.

    It is fun to think how our cooking and eating habits change over time. The recipes I used to think were cool are no longer impressive. I do have a few recipes written by my mom. She had wonderful handwriting. Mine was never that good.

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    • My mother’s handwriting was wonderful cursive until she got old and shaky. Now I’m finding my own handwriting a bit shaky. My tastes have changed over the years. I’m not a fan of really sweet things so my cakes often lack icing and I’ll scrap it off if it’s there. Sometimes I wonder where I found the patience to do that cooking.

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  6. I’ve got so much clutter here right now it would be a nightmare to sell. I like the story about finding your mom’s handwritten cookbook – that is a keeper for sure. You might remember I wrote a post about my mom’s red binder with looseleaf paper with the handwritten tried-and-true recipes, and some scotch-taped in until she was sure they were a hit. I bought my mom a “Bon Appetit” subscription one year and she asked “why?” I never looked at the magazine beforehand, but someone was selling subscriptions at work (an obligatory purchase, maybe a boss’ kid?) and I got her the subscription. I had to agree it was not our usual fare. As to me, for cooking – the simpler the better.

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    • I always enjoyed Bon Appetit and my blueberry muffin recipe is from there. It was like looking at House Beautiful. I admired the stuff but there was no way I would cook like that everyday. My cooking is much simpler now. No fancy sauces or anything that takes a lot of attention.

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      • When I got cable TV back in 2000, I remember my mom got a kick out of a Food Network show – she did all the cooking, not me. They used to show how popular items were made – like they took apart a Thanksgiving dinner to show how each item was made/grown. We didn’t have any meals from “Bon Appetit” that I rememberl

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          • After I shut off my computer last night, I remembered the feature on the Food Network was “Unwrapped” and I liked their behind-the-scenes of popular food items shows. I watched a few of the food-eating competitions for the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on social media – very strange, just like the weird food combos.

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  7. I have some “treasures” in handwritten family recipes, too. I agree with you that it’s the handwriting, not the recipe, but I do smile at some of the recipes. One of my mother’s recipe cards is for something called, “Chicken Almond,” and as I read the recipe, there isn’t a bite of chicken in it. I wouldn’t part with the card! LOL!

    I feel for you in keeping the house pristine! Everything about your move sounds like so much work. I know it will be well worth it, and I just continue to wish you well. And a vacation just as soon as this nasty virus is out of our lives. Someplace warm perhaps?

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  8. A nice tall basket corrals pills and looks attractive. I’m with you, can’t stand stuff on the countertop. The only thing I have out is a coffee maker and the 800 lb. stand mixer in a corner. Oh and the Le Creuset container that holds cooking utensils. It’s the rest of the house that needs more decluttering help. 😆 Good luck. It’s not easy keeping everything pristine for potential buyers.

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  9. That all sounds exactly like what my human went through! She even made me stay in the garage sometimes when people would come and see the house. She hid my toys and my favorite boxes and everything! I’m so glad it’s all over. Good luck!

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  10. Hand written recipes are treasured ones. Glad you found some of your mom’s.

    May your home sell soon. Less clutter is better but it is hard to have it show ready every minute. You are brave! Your cats will have fun exploring the new place.

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  11. I have some recipes in my Mom’s handwriting and also most of the letters she wrote to me when I was in college. I cherish them. I even have the last check register before she died. She had beautiful handwriting ( taught by nuns) no matter what writing task she was doing. I understand hugging your Mom’s handwritten notebook. You are conscientious, Kate. Your house is going to sparkle, it isn’t going to smell because you have a nose for stink (as you have said about your nose), and your home is going to be welcoming and warm. I think working at packing a few hours at a time is good. I could only do a little at a time and that is how it got done.

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  12. Your kitchen counter clutter talk resonates. Our kitchen renovation is now pushed back till much later next year than either of us had hoped. Until then, our kitchen counters remain full of appliances. There’s barely room to butter toast! Good luck on that packing… – Marty

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    • My husband had a lot more clutter on his counters. Things like bagel cutters and knife racks, I stick all of that in counters. Actually I use my bread knife for bagels. We have specialty appliances like crock pots, panini maker (that was a gift!), and few other items in a cabinet in the basement. I don’t use them often enough to give them precious kitchen space.

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  13. I was a dog person all of my pre-retirement life. When we were selling, I always put the dog ‘things’ away and took the dog in the car with me. I’m going out on a limb here so don’t cut off my head with one swoop of a sharp kitchen knife, but I’m not a cat person. If I went to an open house and smelled cat litter or if a cat jumped out at me, I’d be out of there like a rocket. 🙂 But, I certainly understand that having four cats, it’s pretty hard to eliminate all smells cat related and put things away and not upset their apple cart. So, I will wish you the best of luck, and that the first person through is a cat lover and loves the beautiful porch and outdoor areas including water feature. Everything gets tougher as we mature, and Covid is sure not helping matters. I raise my coffee cup to your big job ahead of you.

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    • Fortunately the litter boxes are in a room in the basement so I’m hopeful it’s not too smelly. I also clean it twice a day. You know…four cats and all that. You did remind me of when I was looking. I went into a home and it smelled so badly of dog (not all dog homes do) I almost gagged. The layout wasn’t what I wanted so there never was a second thought about it. I also went through a house with (to me) some really bad cooking smells. I have no idea what it was. Again the house didn’t suit. Quite a while back I sold a home to a couple with a cat allergy. They loved the house enough and had it cleaned for dander before they moved in. My cats will sleep under the bed when people come through. That’s what they do.

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      • If your real estate market is even close to ours, it will sell fast. I watched a state-wide report over the weekend about how many folks are moving all over the place because they can now work from home. A whole new real estate world out there, and I hope it works to your advantage so you can close out this chapter and move on to the next one in your new home.

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    • It’s been hot here too. We had to make a fast decision on the house we bought or we would have lost it. I still worry with the holidays people won’t be as tempted. Here’s hoping the bubble doesn’t burst until our home sells.

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  14. You’re moving AND downsizing. That is a lot of work.

    I don’t have much from my mother, but when I see her handwriting, I’m always struck by how much it looks like mine. I was still taking notes in cursive when she died while I was in high school, but by college my notes were printed outlines, much like hers.

    She was an awful cook, but the bare bones of my pot roast recipe is from her.

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    • Work, yes. Hopefully I’ll stay healthy through this. I found a small paper a few years back where my mom had hand written some financial calculations. I keep it at my desk. I pull it out every so often when I need a touch of mom.

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  15. Wondering how you will keep the cats safe (from running out) when people come to look at the house to purchase? (I know owners are asked to leave when they come). Just thinking ahead for myself about this as I have three cats. Thanks!!

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    • I worry about that too but my cats don’t hang by the door to go out any time. My cats will mostly hide under the beds from people going through. My fear is that they would leave a door ajar while walking away and a cat can slip out because of fear. We close on the new home on the 15th so while we don’t intend to move in right away, we may be able to rehome the cats there at some point. We’ll have to see how it goes. The neighbor across the street sold to the first person coming through. I wish!

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  16. Moving is very challenging, and selling a house with pets in it is a pain in the you-know-what. When I was selling the house I had before Marley and I got married one of my cats got locked in a bedroom by the realtor after a showing and he dug up the carpet trying to get out…sigh. Good luck with all of it. I bet your house will sell quickly.

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  17. I remember when we were trying to sell our last house I was desperate to cover the smell of babies and cats so cooked a curry. I showed a couple round who were obviously racists and started questioning us about Indian neighbours. I am glad they decided not to buy.
    We are still in our second lock down. I did not think I enjoyed Christmas shopping but have missed it this year.

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    • Last time I bought a house I remember looking at an Asian home. It was very clean and nice but had a horrible smell. The realtor said it was a cooking smell. Maybe they were fermenting something. Now I worry that my house smells of cats or maybe old people! 🙂

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  18. I’m impressed with your stamina, Kate. Moving is hard work . . . especially with pets in the mix. Are you moving in 2 weeks, right after closing? Or just moving some things over to the new place?

    Either way . . . best of all good things with the transition.

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    • Just moving some things to hopefully make our place easier to show. Don’t be impressed! I can only work at it a few hours at a time, then I need to take a break both physical and emotional. This house came up so fast we didn’t have time to prep. My garage has about 300 pounds of sunflower seeds we bought for the birds. That holds us over until the spring. Now we have to move it too! That’s one thing I wouldn’t have done had I known.

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