Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Beads and recipes: Sweet and Sour Beans and Hamburger Soup

How's that for a random title? I mostly write about bead projects but occasionally take time out for other topics. Today I decided to write about a journey I have undertaken with my recent retirement from corporate life. First, let me just say I hate the word retirement but I certainly am enjoying the act. It's such an indulgence to face an entire day, knowing I can mold it anyway I want. And, like most freshly-retired folks, I have a list about a mile long of those tasks I promised I would do once I had more time to myself.

One of those activities is to build a family cookbook with my mother's recipes as the centerpiece but interspersed with family stories. Mom was a great cook. By my calculations, she cooked over 10,000 dinners, usually served at 5:00 pm sharp when up to eight of us would be starving, home after school and sports or band practice and before we started our evening routines of homework, music lessons and Dad grading papers. I didn’t think it was a big deal then but now it boggles my mind compared to my bouts of cooking, which are sporadic at best.

Mom was Martha before there was Martha (Stewart). She was always game to try something new and always had an appreciative audience. We all had large appetites and nary a picky eater in the group. The only disappointment for Mom must have been that it took us about 10 minutes to inhale dinner and jump up to whatever came next on our agenda that night, except for me as I was the clean-up assistant - a chore I enjoyed as it allowed me to munch on the rare leftovers, listen to music while doing the dishes and make a cup of instant coffee for Dad, served to him with a spoon in his thick white mug.

Me and sister Greta in the kitchen with our Mom
When my Mom passed away, my sister rescued two recipe boxes just bursting at the seams. We decided that compiling and publishing these recipes would be a great way to preserve and share our legacy with the many offspring, nieces and nephews who never had a chance to know our Mom. So I volunteered to do the heavy lifting and boy is it ever heavy. There are literally hundreds of recipes to review, scan, and catalogue. Then I want to add snippets of family history, which is a whole other project of researching family facts and collecting and organizing photos. I initially thought the project might take me a year but I think I need to at least double that estimate.

Mom's Recipe Jumble
So while I am working, I thought it would be fun to share a few excerpts on my blog along with a link to recipes. To start, I am sharing two recipes that made me smile. The first one is for Sweet and Sour Beans and it made me smile because it calls for one can of odd beans, among other things. Now what in the heck does that mean? I am guessing it is any type of bean your heart may desire. Unlike most of my Mom's recipes which were clipped from a newspaper or magazine or written on a recipe card, this one was written on an envelope that must have been laying by the phone when she was talking to whoever provided it.

Recipe: Sweet and Sour Beans

The second recipe, Hamburger Soup, makes me smile because there are absolutely no quantities listed for any of the ingredients. This more than anything reminds me of Mom for whom recipes were more of a suggestion and road map to which she would add spices, often chaotically along the way, until they tasted just the way she wanted.

Recipe: Hamburger Soup


Mary Redman said...

What a wonderful thing to do for yourself and your family! I, too, have all of my mom's favorite recipes. There is an Etsy shop that will laser the recipe onto a cutting board just as it appears on the recipe card. I had cutting boards made that had my mom's favorite recipes (in her own handwriting) on them for various family members for Christmas. I sure wish my mom was still here to make those recipes for all of us...:( Thanks for sharing your memories with all of us.

Paula, Chief Bead Officer said...

Mary, just wanted to thank you for your kind comments! They sure do brighten my day! Hope you see this because somehow, when my blog was updated, I lost the ability to reply to a comment! And thanks for the cutting board idea - what a great gift. I may have to borrow that one from you!

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