I just got another evite to a bridal shower, asking me to write my favorite family recipe on an index card and bring it as a special gift from me to the bride-to-be.
It’s a nice thought, but it raises a few challenges.
1. I don’t have any index cards. The last time I used them was in the last century, when I was writing research papers and needed to keep track of who said what so quotations could be accurately attributed. The memories are not fond, and I didn’t keep any of those little cards as reminders.
2. I don’t have any family recipes, favorite or otherwise. My mother cooked nothing. Neither did her mother. Since I never met my father’s mother, I certainly don’t have any recipes from her.
3. No one wants my only recipe.
But getting back to that recipe–OK, I did try cooking, when I was newly married. I was in grad school and, since that semester’s classes hadn’t started yet, I had time on my hands. So, I decided to celebrate my new husband’s first day at a new job by making a home-cooked meal, instead of relying on takeout.
Since I was truly a novice, and accustomed to going to an expert for guidance, I decided to ask the butcher at the local supermarket for directions to help me make the easiest possible meal. He said meatloaf was hard to mess up, and helped me buy all the necessary ingredients. This all predated Epicurious, a site my children can’t live without.
Once home, I took out one of the bowls I got as a wedding gift. In that bowl I dumped the meat, the spices and other ingredients he’d told me to buy. Then I mixed them together, as instructed. I warmed the oven to 325°, put the mixture in my new loaf pan, and was about to put it in the oven when I remembered that the last time I’d eaten meatloaf, it had an egg in the center.
I thought that was really cool. So, I dug a small hole in the meat, put a raw egg into the hole, and then covered it with chopped meat. I put it in the oven, and set my new timer. So far, so good.
Feeling quite proud of myself, I took out one of my new pretty platters and set the table.
When the timer went off, I removed the cooked meatloaf from the oven, placed it on the platter, and announced that dinner was ready. I sat down, fully ready to accept accolades.
The first slice looked great. So did the second. Then, when I cut the third slice, some bright yellow goo ran onto the platter.
“What’s that?” asked my husband.
Momentarily stunned, I replied, “An egg. I thought it would cook in the meat.”
It did not cook. And thus ended my cooking career, almost as soon as I started.
So yes, I’m not suited to contribute an index-card recipe for this shower. But it’s not just about the recipe. Can we talk for a moment about the absurdity of elaborate bridal showers in today’s world? We all work, whether it’s inside or outside the home, and time is a most precious commodity. The bride-to-be has likely been living with her intended for a while, so she really doesn’t need an entire new set-up for their home. No towels, no knives, no extra material objects from her friends, and–for sure–no recipes.
Yes, it’s lovely to toast her passage to the world of newlyweds. But can we, please, maybe, just meet for lunch?