The Black Box


I’ve had two black box’s in my life.  The first, my first record player.  A beast of a thing that no child could carry and sat in the corner of my room.  I used to think little people lived in side.  Amazingly for a 1950’s bit of kit (it would have been a good 30 years before I got my hands on it!) you could stack it with 6 records to play in a row.  I’ve just found a you tube video and the clunk click as the record drops, and the needle moves into place takes me back.

The second an inherited black box of recipes from my mother in-law when she passed away.  A treasure trove of recipes and notes that she’d meticulously copied for herself and recipes that had been written down on the same index cards passed on by friends.

The recipes really belong to my wife and food is a powerful thing in terms of evoking memories.  At the time the box was too great to tackle, to have a look and explore would have been painful.   Now a good few years on, the memories are of fond ones rather than sad.  The box has sat by my desk for some time as I had the notion to transcribe them, modernise and bring into our way of cooking.

For some this box would just be a standard index card system with recipes that no doubt feature highly across the web if you were to search for them.  For me though it’s a journey, the box wobbles and whispers.  What will I find in there.  Do I start at the beginning and work my way through or is there a method that I should apply.   Deep down I’ll be looking for the baked Alaska recipe that was presented effortlessly when I met my future in-laws for the first time.  Or the apple betty that is spoken about as legend between brother and sister.

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