I pull out a file folder called “Recipes” and paw through the wrinkled, stained papers to find Sharon’s “White Bean & Barley Soup.” She has translated the quantities for a crock pot and I follow her pencil marks sideways up the page.
Later, when the soup is bubbling in the pot, I reflect that it is seasoned not only with oregano and thyme but our long friendship. Sharon and I have been trading recipes since our daughters were toddlers, crawling around at our feet. Today we are both grandmothers, still sharing menus and cups of tea.
My recipe folder is full of these connections. A page copied from a magazine features my neighbor’s bold printing: “Excellent Fall Salad,” exclamation point! I know he’s right because I tasted this Butternut Squash & Kale concoction at his house.
Well, today’s culinary scene is vast and various—from cooking shows to cooking blogs, from free range to fair trade. But sometimes I don’t want new and different; I want tried and true. That’s the comfort in comfort food—and why I go back to my messy folder with the handwritten notes in the margin.
“I’ve made this many times,” Kathi scribbles alongside her “Lentil Chickpea Chili.”
That’s good enough for me.