Preserve the past, safeguard the future with heirloom keeper recipes

For the holidays over the past few years, my friend, Lainey Smith, of Bluffton, has baked me a cheese pie made from a special passed-down recipe that came via her late grandmother Nana Sadie (Sadie Sharaf) and mother, Lillian (Sharaf) Smith, also deceased. As if the pie and the act of baking it weren’t enough, Lainey also shared with me with Sadie’s keeper recipe, which, of course, makes Lainey more a sister than a friend.

Passed-down recipes are typically hand-written on index cards or recipe cards specifically printed for that purpose, or on scraps of paper that are full of stains and all sorts of notes that have become harder and harder to read with time. It could be wear and tear that makes reading them so difficult, or failing eyesight, but in the days before computers and recipe blogs, this is the way we traded recipes with family and friends. Most of us kept the cards in metal file boxes, or tucked them away inside cookbooks. I didn’t have so many cookbooks then, so locating the cards wasn’t as hard as it sounds.

Nana Sadie’s recipe for cheese pie, deemed and named “great” by her family, also has pen and ink roots, but for sharing here (and on the Web) has been neatly typed, baked and photographed. In spite of being presented in this manner, the recipe is still a keeper, but holding a passed-on recipe card or note that was once held by a loved one who has also passed-on, is a lovely, back-in-time, experience.

In going through my own file box of hand-written recipes, I came across a special recipe for Fettuccine Alfredo. I make it only occasionally, because while the pasta dish is nothing short of scrumptious (and handy for using up a half block of leftover cream cheese), the dish is also over-the-top rich.

Don’t attempt to lighten up these recipes. Yes, they are chock-full of calories, but they are also bursting with “yumm.” So, when serving them, think small, think special – think Nana Sadie.

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