Monday, May 28, 2007
My recipe book
One of my favorite things to do is cook and bake. I must have gotten this from my great-grandmother, MamMaw Ritter. Anytime I went to her house, she cooked something yummy. She never followed a recipe, she just KNEW how to make something taste good. I can still smell her little apartment at the retirement community. Her apartment always smelled of something delicious. My favorite smell was fried salmon patties, fried potatoes and fresh squash. The ultimate southern, comfort food! A friend of mine, Courtney, totally surprised me one day when I heard her talking about Salmon patties. I never knew that anyone else made them besides MamMaw Ritter. So Courtney encouraged me to add them to a menu I was making for the week. My mom reminded me of how MamMaw Ritter made her's so I copied and now make them for Jeremy and he loves 'em!

My bag of potatoes had gone bad so I couldn't do fried potatoes today. But I did do the squash and the salmon patties. I can remember my MamMaw saying, "Don't let the squash get gritty!" So I made sure not to let the squash get gritty and fried up some amazing salmon patties. My entire house now smells of grease but it was worth every splatter! While I was cooking them, I took notice that I don't use a recipe anymore. I know they need green onions, lemon juice, mayonnaise, bread crumbs or saltines, an egg, some cayenne and a dash of this and a dash of that! I know that I can add some garlic to give it that extra punch of flavor and I know to cook them for an extra 30 seconds to make sure they crunch! MamMaw cooked 'em her whole life and at thirty-one years old, I think mine are just as good! She would be proud of her Mandi.

Sometimes I miss my MamMaw Ritter so much that I can hardly stand it. I will never forget spending the day with her at her apartment one afternoon and her talking to me about the Bible. This was a woman that rode in a covered wagon when she was a little girl. She had lived through time periods that I can't even imagine and she endured times in her life that were very difficult. She experienced The Depression, World War I and World War II, the Vietnam War and even the Gulf War. Her faith was everything to her and she felt without it, she was nothing. So that afternoon sitting in her apartment, she told me that she read her Bible every, single day. That afternoon I was going through a very difficult time with my Dad who was in the midst of a horrible addiction, alcohol. I watched him try to kill himself, I watched him fall and get a concussion, I watched him walk in the door almost every night and pass out. Many nights I was so afraid and worried about him that I could not enjoy being a kid. While the other girls at school worried about cheerleading tryouts, I worried about my Dad and whether or not he would live to see another day. That afternoon at MamMaw's apartment, she knew I was sad and worried about my Dad. But I was afraid to let it show because I lived with him at the time and I was worried she would tell my Mom (her granddaughter). Then my Mom would force me to live with her. If I lived with her, who would take care of my Dad? But without me saying anything, MamMaw knew.

MamMaw knew that I had a relationship with Christ. She knew that I would understand what she was saying. So she told me that day to read my Bible and that I would find strength. The Bible was her recipe book. She may have cooked a hundred different dishes without a recipe card or recipe book but she didn't live life without seeing what the Bible had to say about her situations in life. She knew what the book said, she knew that she was important, special and loved. She knew, because she read it. It was there that she found out how to live her life, how to get by and how to not be afraid of life's heartaches. But most of all, she knew how to have joy!

I still have a Bible that I got in the 7th grade. That year was the hardest time I can remember as a kid. I failed the first year of 7th grade because my Dad never could get me to school and I hated leaving him alone. As a result, I failed the entire year. When I look at that Bible given to me in the 7th grade, I can't help but to cry. I see page after page, mostly in Psalms, where I highlighted and underlined so many verses that brought me comfort. But the thing about that Bible that sticks out the most is a huge patch on the back of it that is pretty roughed up. One night when my Dad was drunk, he threw it down the stairs at our apartment complex. In his pain, in his rage, he knew it would hurt me. A few months ago my Dad told me that he remembered that night and how it haunted him still to this day. It was then that I told my Dad to not worry about it anymore. "I love you and I know you were sick then. God has restored those years." I can't even begin to tell you how much I love that Bible. It was there for me when I needed it the most and I am thankful for it being thrown down those stairs because it reminds me of how much I clung to it back then as a child. If it wasn't for the pain I endured, I never would have needed it as much as I did. It truly became my recipe book.

When it comes to making salmon patties, banana pudding or anything else, I don't really need those recipe cards anymore. I've got those delicious things mastered. But when it comes to this life I am living and the pain that comes with it, I can't live without the Bible. It's always been a part of me and my heritage and the long line of Bible believing women in my family have taught me to keep it close by my side. Each day as a wife and as a mother, I lean on it more and more. Someday my Bible will be left behind. My loved ones will see the highlighted verses, the pen marks and the notes inside of it. It will be worn, torn, tattered and old but it will be a gift. And even now I pray that I can show them how life changing it really is. My recipe books will go to my granddaughters and they will get to make all the great dishes I made but more than anything I pray that they will get the recipe book that has made the biggest impact on my life, my Bible.

I love you MamMaw and I think of you everyday.

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  posted at 6:09 PM
  11 comments



11 Comments:
At 7:45 PM, Blogger Shelley said...

Beautiful post.

 
At 9:10 PM, Blogger Amy said...

Awesome...really wonderful. In your last few posts you've been writing about what to do regarding your blog. I think you've found it!

 
At 5:44 AM, Blogger Dee said...

Well again I say - you should write a book! I love your transition from cookbook to Bible.. you always can tie the ordinary into spiritual matters. AWESOME! I agree - many things from my childhood - I have had to let go, but the Bible and my relationship with Christ are two steadies!!! :)

 
At 5:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

from Mom:

I needed this today. I miss MamMaw so much. I wish she could eat your cooking -- she would be so proud of you. She would love your children and make pretty things for Ava Beth to wear. Most of all, she would be proud that you read your Bible. MamMaw really did read her Bible over and over. None of that One-Year Bible stuff for her -- she read the King James Version over and over again. We come from Godly women!

Will you PLEASE have salmon patties Saturday night? I can just smell them right now. Do you remember how we used to walk in the lobby and as soon as we got on the elevator we could smell MamMaw's salmon patties cooking?

I love you.
Mom

 
At 6:00 AM, Blogger Gwen said...

I've not been online much all weekend but I see so much is going on in your life! I'm praying right with you!

I love how God works in you and how you let it show!

 
At 6:18 AM, Blogger Lolly said...

I have read your blog for a long time. I don't know how I found it, but have really enjoyed it and appreciate your vulnerability. I believe God has used and is using you and your experiences to touch others. May He continue to bless you.

 
At 10:10 AM, Blogger Christina said...

I think this is the most beautiful post you have ever written. You made me cry.

I read your blog every day and it blesses me.

Thank you.

 
At 12:35 PM, Blogger Brenda said...

What a beautiful legacy that your grandmother gave to you. And, every step of your timeline is priceless. I love how you tied in the recipe book w/ God's Holy Word. :)

 
At 7:17 PM, Blogger Paula said...

What a tribute to your Mammaw. So beautifully written. I agree with Dee, you need to write a book or better yet, get on stage and have a conference.

 
At 6:22 AM, Blogger ruth said...

This was so beautiful!
You are so blessed it have memories of your grandmother like this. I didn't have this with my grandmother and could imagine through your writing what that kind of relationship is like.

Maybe your new blog name should be something like what this post was called "Mandi's recipe book",or something along those lines. I love how you used this analogy!

Truely Great!

 
At 7:52 AM, Blogger ruth said...

Oh I forgot to say how great I thought it was that your Bible is something that you will be passed down to your child and your children's children. What a great idea, that's the best journel that they could ever read!

 

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