November 20, 2017

A Treasured Surprise: It’s About So Much More


Stuck between jelly-stained pages of recipe cards and cookbooks, I found a treasure.

A treasure assumed lost forever.

A treasure deemed worthless to the typical bystander. In fact, with its faded, photocopied pages, it resembles trash, but as my fingers pried it loose from its confined corner, memories surfaced. Senses were stimulated, and carefree days of life as a 17-year-old catapulted back to the present.

I remember feeling empowered. A young mom took five high-schoolers under her wing and decided to teach us to cook. Every week, throughout the summer months, we gathered together and she introduced us to new foods, new cooking techniques and new kitchen tips.

While she shared with us tangible and practical life skills that still impact me today, she also poured her life into us. As we chopped the veggies, she shared on the “dicey-ness of marriage” and the importance of putting time into making a marriage a true partnership.

As we stirred, the wisdom and love of parenting came through her heart. As the desserts baked, we gathered to talk about typical stresses we dealt with as senior-high students and how to combat peer pressure. As the meal finished, and we piled our finished results on serving trays, we invited the high school guys’ small group to join us to partake in the meal.

It doesn’t get much better than that. If the old adage, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” rings true, we gave it our best shot at that stomach.

So as I pulled out this treasure, these hand-written recipes, I was reminded that cooking isn’t just about feeding stomachs.

At its finest, it’s about feeding the soul. It’s about sharing life around a table – meant for food, yet at its pinnacle, meant for so much more.

I look forward to finding some wonderful Tasty Tuesday recipe inspiration.

As we all cook and prepare our recipes this week, let’s all remember that it’s about so much more than the food.

Whether you are a reader or blogger, MSN’s Kitchen Cookoff  would love to give you some great ideas.  Head on over there for quick tips and cooking ideas or submit some of your favorite recipes there as well. If you are a blogger, it’s as easy as copy and pasting the recipe you are sharing for Tasty Tuesday. They would love to have your ideas, and you can spread the word in two spots at once.

Remember, link up to your blog post, link back to me and then go shared the comment love with some other bloggers. Please refrain from linking up multiple posts.


  1. Tanya Stewart says:

    Oh, Jen! How true this post is. My husband’s grandmother passed away in September so last week we were at her house going through things and I chose to head to the recipe cabinet. I had seen on Pinterest the idea of using old family recipes handwritten and framed as kitchen decor. I immediately called my dad and told him to hunt for some of my mom’s recipes that were in her handwriting. I have most of her “classics” already but they were typed and I wanted the handwriting to bring back the memories. Smudges from food are an added bonus. Back to last week, Nanny ALWAYS made a pound cake and had it under the glass covered cake plate whenever we would visit her. I was so happy when I discovered several of her recipes tucked away. Once we move, I can’t wait to frame them and display for all to see and remember.


  2. Thanks for hosting.

    I enjoyed your piece about treasured memories. My cookbooks are full of pencilled notes, glued- or taped-in pieces of paper, and photocopied inserts. Each has a story behind it that has become a part of my personal folklore. Cooking is a wonderful medium for developing that sort of history.

    I’ve linked my olive bread pizza crust today. Pizza from scratch is a favourite family meal in our household and this crust adds a flavourful twist to an old standard.


  3. Great post! A few years after my Grandmother passed away, we found a handwritten recipe for a special dessert she made every Christmas. We had thought that dessert was lost to the family forever, so it was a real gift when it turned up! Now, I make it once a year, only at Christmas . . . such terrific memories.


  4. Finding those hidden treasures are always the very BEST!! And what wonderful memories & blessings to share.. Thanks!


  5. Jen,
    Please share the two recipes that are partially showing in the photo. They look so yummy! You are so right about food being about fun and fellowship, etc… feedng our souls in addtition to filling our tummies. THANKS SO MUCH for your many contributions to adding joy to my life!
    Love, Bettie


    Jen Reply:

    Bettie – you are always such an encourager. I will definitely share those recipes. There about six pages of them that we did and they are great staples for everyone to have on hand. I need to make them and take the pictures. 🙂


    Bettie Reply:


    Oh, Jen, thank you in advance for the recipes. I will be looking forward to those posts!
    What a treasured gift that young mom gave to you teenagers. A gift that just keeps on giving to others.

    That’s the way it seems to be when we teach others a skill… like when I was in the bathroom (afraid I have to have a mirror at this point… ;o)), half braiding my hair yesterday, and giving thanks to God for you and all the neat things you teach us. Such a simple and attractive day brightener for me that brought joy, thanks to your willingness to teach us how to do that. I can’t wait to share this new skill with my sisters and nieces now. Hard to tell what the rippling effect of your ‘teaching’ is, but I’m sure it is a gift that will keep on giving… and it keeps on encouraging us all! :o)

    Thank you for your kind words.

    Wishing you much joy in all your days, Bettie


  6. Great post! Brought tears to my eyes, because you’re right, food is about feeding the soul as well, and connecting with our families through mealtimes.

    This year for lent, I gave up eating out. I wanted to honor God through serving my family, and that was one area I felt like I was struggling in. It has taken a little more planning (packing picnics for the park if we’re going to be out at mealtimes, etc.), but it has been awesome!

    I also recommitted myself to always eating meals at the table. My husband works long hours for certain months of the year and in those times when it’s just me and a 2 and 4 year old I had gotten lazy about it.

    Just those two things has made such a positive impact in my family over the past couple of months.


    Bettie Reply:

    @Crystal Brothers,

    Good for you, Crystal! I predict many happy family memories and bonding times for you and your family! :o)


  7. Wow! What a gift that young mom gave you all, pouring herself into you all and giving you so much more than cooking skills. And what a gift to find those recipes again and enjoy those memories.

    Thanks for hosting.


  8. So true Jen, I enjoyed your post and thought of the memories we also make through food, fun and family. We shared a camping trip over break and I posted my simple shortcut smore to show how simple food can bring smiles galore. I love family recipes and traditions. You do such a wonderful job sharing your family events and creating a legacy for your family!


  9. I just linked my first post…not sure if I did it correctly, nor do I know how to link your blog at the bottom of my post! sorry if I didn’t do it correctly…I am trying to learn…btw, LOVE your blog!


  10. I love the idea of teen girls learning to cook and learn about life this way. I am not a great cook; wish I had learned this at a young age. 🙂


  11. What a wonderful experience you had! I love old treasured recipes – food is so much more than just nourishment! This week I have shared my Carrot Macadamia and Cranberry Muffins, an update of an old family recipe. Thank you for hosting.


  12. Such lovely memories! Thank you for sharing them! I love how different recipes have stories and memories attached. 🙂



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