The stories that start out with, “I have this friend…” usually refer to the story teller. That being said, I have this friend—who decided one afternoon to get organized. Well to at least organize her recipes. Truth be known I, uh she, decided to make Fleish Kieckle. A German recipe which produces these wonderful little fried garlic spiced dough wonders, filled with this hamburger, onion and spice mixture that can feed a small army for a few days. Kind of like the pasties the ‘49er miners would take with them into the bowels of the earth to have for their lunch. This is a recipe given to me from my sister years ago and I make them every so often especially on week-ends when I don’t expect I will want to cook or decide what’s for dinner. Just pop a few Fleish Keikle in the microwave grab some ketchup and voila – dinner! Okay, I put out some cottage cheese and fruit too. Don’t let it be said I don’t offer a well-rounded meal! Back to the organizing part.
So in my zeal one early morning I made said Keikles, you have to start early because they take a while, and you want them done by lunch so you can put your feet up and relax until the next “Honey, where’s my___” (fill in the blank) comes towards your ears! So I got the little puffs of goodness done and was putting the recipe back in its designated place, (I’m getting to that designated place part!), when I decided that maybe it was time to organize my recipes.
The designated place I referred to? Is it a neat and tidy box? With all things filed in order of alphabet or maybe food group? No, of course not, it is my 1975 Betty Crocker cookbook that has the honor of holding all my and my husband’s recipes. And a “windowed” card we picked up somewhere that is in two parts which slide inside one another to give hints and suggestions about exchanges for say a cup of sour cream in case your recipe calls for a cup of sour cream and you don’t have any. Hint; use a cup of yogurt instead. See how valuable that little card is? Well, it needs to be part of the collection of recipe cards, magazine tear outs, slips of paper with hand written notes, and my Fleish Kieckle recipe on a piece of notebook paper that is yellowed with age and spotted with who knows what from years of sitting on the counter becoming covered and sticky with flour and eggs and whatnot while I make the little Kieckle puffs. That cookbook is stuffed to the hilt with so many extras it looks kind of like a chicken that has been shaken and is all ruffled. Its feathers are sticking out every direction all askew and rumpled. The poor spine of the book is stretched to the max, like your tummy is after over indulging in too many Fleish Kieckle. If it were ever to be dropped, Heaven forbid, there would be a scattering of years of life affirming, time tested goodness spilled everywhere. I won’t say my book is as important as my Bible, but it holds a near and dear second.
I saw a commercial that tried to talk me into buying a little machine that sits next to your computer and you scan your important papers thru it and magically you can organize your recipes, business cards, receipts just EVERYTHING you can imagine in your computer. I watched with a little interest and as I opened up my Betty book I thought about that scanner and how I could become organized. Neat. Tidy. I could spend my days scanning and organizing until there would not be a shred of paper to my existence left anywhere in my house. Then reality smacked me up alongside the head, as it usually does when I get these wild, hair brained ideas. Really I thought? Could I just scan Grandma Machacek’s Molasses cookies recipe, hand written by her, into a machine then get rid of the original? What about my mom’s Fairy Pie, English toffee or Fishhouse punch recipes? How would I feel if I wanted to make Gingerbread boys on page 151 in my book, that page marked with the clipping from cousin Mutts’ Czech recipe for these wonderful, fruit filled pastries called Kolace’.
Nope, can’t do it. There are just some things that are built over years that turn out messy, out of control, without having the slightest bit of organization to them except in the eye of the beholder. Am I alone in this? I doubt it. Will I stop adding to my book O’ yumminess? Never. Just a few weeks ago I added a wonderful recipe for white bean chili from my soon to be new neighbor Sheri. It is just to die for and can be found stuffed in my treasured book next to the fruit cocktail cake recipe from my mother-in-law. Are you getting hungry too?
Trina Machacek lives in Eureka. Her book ITY BITS can be found on Kindle. Share your thoughts and opinions with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.