How many of us recycle? That’s a hypothetical question of course, but we still do here at our house, and I’m pretty sure most people do as well. If nothing else, it has become second nature to divide the glass, plastic, cardboard boxes and other items that we can put into the blue, green or brown trash bins provided by the garbage company. Grandpa or I (usually him) cart them off to the curb, or sometimes we share some with anyone recycling for additional income or a drive to make money for charity. Either way we have become comfortable in placing the proper items in the designated bins; it’s how we roll.

Recycling is not just limited to plastic and glass. With the different groups online selling or offering used items for free, one person’s garbage is another one’s treasure. If someone is moving, there may be a lot of usable and fun items to browse through. Children’s clothing that has become too small is a great find, especially for grandparents who are on a tighter budget and want to get some outfits for the grandkids. I have seen games that kids have also grown out of or just got bored with. At a very reduced price and even free at times, there are many local groups that offer some extremely fine deals and are separated by community for easy pick up.

My friend and reader, Bill, had another great idea. He said if you are looking for something wonderful to do during this pandemic, perhaps recycling old recipes can reduce the boredom. I for one have not used a recipe in years but the idea of some new dishes is surely something Grandpa would enjoy. Bill sent me a copy of a post from a lady who went to an antique store and came across two boxes filled with recipes that were handwritten and went back as far as 1925 to about 1986. The beautiful cursive handwriting made it all the more special, and the recipes were perfect for the upcoming and yet stifled holidays. It had everything from Jell-O salads to walnut cakes and things that reminded her of her own childhood. The history over those 60 plus years contained a treasure chest of great dishes but more than that a beautiful look into someone’s past while feeding loved ones. Bill also pointed out that most of these types of dishes bring warm and happy memories of holidays with our families that I am sure by next year we will enjoy with gusto again.

My grandmother was a very good cook. She had nine to feed and everyone got what they wanted. I still scratch my head in wonder of how she made that happen in that small kitchen of hers, but she did. My mom also was excellent in the kitchen, and she documented many recipes that she hand wrote and kept in a small box, much like the one Bill read about. When my mom passed away, my daughter who lives in Mississippi was thrilled to receive the recipes. A little bit of “Bubby,” a bit of family history that was passed down and a lot of good eats made it even more special!

A few of my friends on Facebook have decided to share cooking instructions, and although the recipe boxes are sweet, technology has given us the opportunity to see Michelle make her yummy chicken dishes live while she prepares them for her family. Free cooking shows! Another friend Karen will be posting her how-to videos, and I for one will watch all of them. I have eaten her cooking.

So, thanks to Bill, we have another possible distraction from having to keep inside for a while longer. With the colder weather, soups, stews and chili recipes may be a welcome addition to everyone’s kitchen and tummies. Wear your masks, social distance, wash those hands and please stay safe and well so that very soon we can share a table and enjoy some of those wonderful and nostalgic recipes.

Marla Luckhardt is a Brentwood resident who works with several local senior care and advocacy groups. Reach her at marla2054@aol.com.

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