Cooking Up Childhood Memories

By chance, both Fanny and I stumbled upon some relics from our childhood. Fanny found a book she wrote in 1992 when she was 7 years old and in 2nd grade. I found a cook book that I made in Mrs. Butler’s 5th grade class in 1964. It is no surprise that what we both saved childhood memorabilia about cooking.

We both share a passion for the kitchen.  I think she would tell you that I am her inspiration, where in my own case, my mother Bea, my beloved Aunt Annette and the patron saint of cooking- Julia Child is mine.  

A casual walk on the street with Fanny will lead to long conversations about appetizers, how to properly roast garlic and how much fun nutmeg can be as a surprise element in a dish.

Fanny’s book, The Monkey That Liked to Eat needs little introduction. Her drawings and language tell the story.  And I am quite confident that in her lifetime, this will not be the only food book she writes. Two of my favorite things from this book are that she illustrates Kanki, her favorite restaurant in lower school and that the monkey ordered fried fish. I don't think Fanny has every had fried fish so where this came from is a mystery to me. 

My cook book is compilation of recipes that Mrs. Butler asked us to get from our mothers that we could assemble into a gift for the holidays. It was a class project and I seem to remember us making some of these dishes and bringing them to class. I'm surprised I don't have a picture from this fifth grade festival. 

My cook book is a wonderful reminder of my 5th grade classmates. Seeing everyone's childlike signatures brought me back to those fond memories of Chisholm School. My recipe, which was hand-written by my mom’s was the celebrated Confetti Jello Mold. This delight had a special place at family celebrations and makes me jiggle just to think about it. 

Recipes from my classmates like Anne Apgar, Tommy Sutton, Connie Miller, Cindy Madison, Kathy Vezza, Paula Kaufman, George Siessel, Philip Argyris, Mark Sherman, Arnold Blumenthal, Jane Hopping, Philip Yanonne, Kathy Neville and of course, Jamie Farber, Philip Norulak and Rachel Kalem. 

Jamie and Philip were my best buds in 5th grade and Rachel was my first girlfriend in the way that 5th graders had boyfriends and girlfriends.  Memories from seeing their handwriting leapt off the page as I read through this relic. There is a note of irony that Jamie's recipe should be for brownies and spent about 15 years of my life in the brownie business. 

Over the years I have tried to eat healthy giving up red meat, soft drinks, excess sugar and artificial colors and flavors. I eat more vegetables and salads due to the influence of my wife Ra El. (someday she will share her Tripp Lake-French Toast story). Although I don't think I have eaten Jello in the last 25 years, I suddenly have a jiggly kind of craving. 

If only I had a recipe. 

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