I have a lot of treasured family recipes that have been passed down to me from Mom and my Nannie. My recipe box is filled with photocopied versions, typed versions, email versions, and my own notepad versions from those quick dinnertime phone calls. But I have very few original copies of their recipes - ones that they wrote out by hand. The little blue piece of paper in this illustration is one of those treasures.
On the reverse side - in pencil almost too faint to see - is Mom’s copy of a One Egg Cake recipe. Nannie made this versatile cake every Sunday using it as a base for many cake variations - coffee cake, spice cake, raisin cake, chocolate cake - they all started with this recipe. I loved when it was pineapple upside down cake Sunday. Nannie memorized the recipe from the old Searchlight Recipe Book and never had a recipe card.
One Sunday soon after she was married, Mom stood in Nannie's brown utilitarian kitchen and copied it down from the old cookbook onto this blue piece of paper. She and I used it for years in her blue and white handcrafted kitchen. We didn’t make it as often as Nannie and so never committed it to memory always relying on the paper version.
Not long ago, on one of my visits home, Mom gave this recipe to me and I carried it home like a treasure to my brightly painted kitchen with lazy Susan cabinets. In my kitchen I have changed the recipe in small ways. I like to use fresh eggs when I have them, I choose butter over shortening, and use unbleached flour and a less refined sugar all stored in a dedicated pantry and not just under the cabinet or in a jar on the counter.
I sometimes think about how different each of our kitchens are yet we still make the same cake.