I love the idea of a family legacy; something handed down from an ancestor.
I love the way that an item that once was commonplace, and seemingly of little value or worth, over time transforms into an object that demonstrates that life was lived, and gives insight into certain aspects of that life.
On Christmas Eve, I spent the day with my mother, sister, and grandmother collecting such treasures of legacy from three generations of women who came before me.
Lucy Ann's charm bracelet and crafting supplies, Frankie's sewing basket and it's contents, Virginia's tin of buttons, Nancy's cookbook, the pattern for the dress my mother wore at her wedding reception, and a copy of the Bywater family turkey dressing recipe, handwritten, with all of it's stains and smudges in full glory.
If you know me, then you will know that this copy of the handwritten recipe was one of my favorite treasures of those I took with me that day, as I especially love all things pertaining to food, tradition, and handwritten.
This is the recipe sheet that my grandmother uses each time she begins preparing our family's traditional holiday meal. It is written on the back of a student schedule from Cyprus High school, where she worked for many years as a counselor. It is in her handwriting. It shows the corrections that were made over time as our family grew. When it is not in use, it waits in a little black binder full of recipes, notes, and menus from previous meals for the holiday season to roll around again.
I love knowing that when I use this recipe to make turkey dressing for my own family, I will get to see what she sees each time she makes it. I will be able to make it exactly the way that she does, and recreate the taste of my childhood Thanksgivings and Christmases for my children and grandchildren.
One day, when I am teaching my own granddaughters to cook the traditional holiday meal, I will pull this recipe out and show them her handwriting, and tell them all of the beautiful memories I have of holidays in my grandparents' kitchen.
That is the magic of handwritten recipes.
That is the gift of tradition.
That is a family legacy.