Monday, October 08, 2007

Are You Talking to ME?!

"Today is the first day of the rest of your life."

That's a pretty common aphorism. We hear it often, and, if we give it some thought, we realize it's true. And then we usually forget about it and move on in the normal way.

For me, today, this is more than just a casual saying.

This is going to be a long story, but I think it's worth it to include the details, so here goes.

A number of years ago I endured a life-changing illness. I regained full health a long time since, but going through a serious illness can and did alter life patterns for me and for my family. Also, we currently find ourselves in a particularly busy season of life as a family, and that is compounded by my own choices of working and going to grad school.

Through all this it's really been quite a task to balance the many facets of life - to find new direction, new footing - and to be fully engaged in each of those facets.

In recent weeks especially I've been playing with different routines and approaches to find the best fit for me and my family.

I have never been much of a cook (and even less so while ill when my husband took over entirely - what a great guy!!). In spite of my lack of skill and interest in cooking, I inherited a couple of cookbooks from one of my grandmothers when she passed away 8 years ago. I treasure them because they were hers, but I've NEVER in EIGHT years actually used them to COOK from. Their purpose has been to sit on the shelf and remind me of Grandma.

In my search for new directions I became inspired today to cook!

Let me pause here a moment while those of you who know me personally take a moment to revive yourselves before reading on. I understand if you've passed out or something.

Are you ready to continue?

Anyway, I had beef stew in mind, but when I grabbed the standard red Betty Crocker book, the recipe looked daunting (refered me to ANOTHER page for the recipe for Parsely Dumplings that had to be made first - wait, I have to make ANOTHER recipe BEFORE I make this one??!! Dumplings?! That sounds hard. It also called for parsnips - an item I would not recognize if I saw it and wouldn't know what to do with if I did! I just want to make stew - you know - potatoes and carrots and meat . . .).

So, on a whim, I grabbed Grandma's cookbook off the shelf.

I opened the front cover and found a label she'd pasted in there - one of those "from the library of" labels, the one at the top of this post. The one that says:

"Today is the first day of the rest of your life."

Not only had she signed her name on it, but she had dated it.

Although the year was 1980, the date was TODAY'S DATE:


Check it out. Scroll back to the top of the post and compare the date of posting to the date on the label. Then somebody cue up the "Twilight Zone" theme song, OK?

Today's date - today - TODAY is the first day of the rest of your life.

Umm . . . whoa . . .

Maybe this is one of those "you had to be there" things, but given all the circumstances surrounding this, that sure caught my attention! I am certainly going to seriously consider today the first day of the rest of my life.

Here is the recipe I ended up using from Grandma's cookbook.(Click to enlarge.) I still didn't find a recipe for stew that I wanted to make, but after all that I figured I'd better use one of the recipes in that book today!! I'll post a comment later to let you know if it was good.copyright 1979 from the above pictured cookbook


Tony said...

I hope you saved some for me! Happy cooking!

By the way, I figured out I've got to root for Dave in the Magic tournament because of his shirt!

Heidi said...

It was YUMMY!!

. . . and there ARE left-overs. Come on by!!

Your strategy for rooting makes sense. We aren't quite finished with all the pairings yet, so keep cheering.

Currently David and I are both 1 and 2.

Anonymous said...

Wow...I can picture, in my mind's eye, grandma's book shelve on the side of her fireplace with all the books she collected. I too have a few cookbooks that belonged to her. I love the fact that she always dated and signed the front cover of a new book. What a wonderful idea to continue that tradition. Maybe soon I'll have to try a new meal as well from one of the books....Paula

Amy said...

Wow that is amazing -- Grandma must be sending you a sign -- she probably wants you to make her delicious German Chocolate Cake (baking is more your thing). I too need to open up the Cookbooks that I was given from Grandma's collection and cook up something for my Honey.

Heidi said...

Thank you for reminding me that I do have skill at baking - makes me feel better given my lack of skill at cooking!

Yes, as I've been posting this week, Grandma's German Chocolate Cake has come to mind. I wonder what recipe book that was in or if it was on a card or what. That would be a good one for her grandaughters to have!