The yellow envelope addressed to me was in my mailbox last week. The return address indicated it was from my cousin. Inside the envelope was a folder. In the left pocket was a sweet handwritten letter from her filling me in on a few family things and some very kind words. In the right pocket were several typed pages containing family recipes and little snippets of information about the recipes. What treasures! The precious memories of the people behind the recipes.
The first page of the recipes contained a little family history. My Grandma was the oldest of 3 girls. Oh, how loved was that woman! Next in line was Auntie Mary, a woman affected by polio as a child. She remained single her entire life. She did crossword puzzles better than anyone I had ever met. She cut out pictures from magazines and made the children in the family individual picture books. The third woman, Auntie Jean, was Mom to the cousin who sent me the letter. She was so generous and hospitable to neighbors and family alike. If you left hungry it was your own fault.
One recipe was for Potato Chip cookies that my Grandma made on a regular basis. As nasty as they may sound Potato Chip cookies are delicious, at least in my memory.
There were several other cookie recipes, one for donuts and spaghetti sauce included in the packet. She saved the best till last.
It is the family recipe for Houska. Apparently it is also called (at least in our family) Bohemian Egg bread. Below is a cute quote from my cousin’s notes.
I can’t explain how it happened but, all three sisters made Houska, all of them used the same recipe, and all of the bread was excellent. But…all three of them came out different. Of course, each thought their bread taste better than their two sisters, but the truth be told, they all were excellent.
So true! The dough had to be kneaded, rest, kneaded and then braided before being baked. The smell of the Houska as it baked was divine. That timer could not chime soon enough.
How thoughtful of my cousin to send me the recipes and letter. It brightened my whole day. I’ve picked up the folder and read it multiple times. It has brought a smile each time and just a tinge of longing for those no longer with us.
Isn’t it special that we have those recipes, though?
Do you have any family recipes that have been passed to you? Have you shared them with others and included any details you can remember?