Age Old Recipes


Someone once said that age is just a number by which we discriminate. I think it’s true. I worry about why I feel so attached to someone who is still so in need of growing up. Twenty-nine seems like such a fledgling when I say it out loud. Someone told me they thought I was trying to hold onto my youth when we were dating, that my attachment wasn’t to him but to my own younger years. I thought about this for a long, long while and then I asked myself, who else do I have such an attachment to? How old are they? I am trying to hold onto something vicariously through them?

A few people came to mind right away. My students are certainly a group of young people that I have a strong attachment to. When I fist stopped teaching it took at least a year before I could talk about them without getting teary. When I think of them I do not think of their ages, but of their personal nature. My grandmother is another. She has been dead for five years and I still miss her as much as the day of her funeral. And B, my love for him has not diminished in fifteen years. He brought invaluable things to my life that made me a happier person. I don’t think I live vicariously through these people, I think they have made my life more rewarding.

Age comes with such expectations. I feel younger in my forties than I did in my thirties. That was a surprise. I thought I would feel more sophisticated, exude an aura of what people think self-confidence looks like, look strong to the outside world. What age has brought me is the self-confidence to not care about any of that. I care much more about pursuing the things that I love regardless of whether they “belong” to my age. It can be difficult at times to accept those people like B or JJ who show the world more than just their momentary age, because they do not conform to your expectations. But then again, who am I to talk. I am the same.

Age really means nothing if you do not think of your life in a linear way. I prefer to think of life as a spiral. I think JJ is naturally more inclined to think of life as a cycle too and, perhaps, that is why there were so many times when we did not feel our age difference but instead felt each other. But he said to me once, “Sometimes I wish you were 33.”  It broke my heart a little, but in all honesty, sometimes I wished he were too. We should have taken each other for who we are because we were much happier together when we let ourselves forget those confining numbers. If it serves us at all to think of age, it should be to remind us of the exquisiteness of our temporal existence no matter how old or young we are.

I have this beautiful old cookbook from my grandmother. It’s beautiful to me anyway. It’s called the Das Weiße Haus Kochbuch, printed in 1893.

My kitty loves it too.

Admittedly, the instructions for butchering a pig or a deer are a bit impractical these days. I just don’t know where I would find the time.

And it is a lesson in patience because it is in German, and old German at that. But there are still fun, practical and yummy recipes in it.

Pan Fried Oysters (my own recipe)

  • 1 pint medium oyster
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons dried, chopped rosemary
  • 3 cloves garlic , minced
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • lemon

Mix dry ingredients. Dredge oysters in this and let sit on paper 5 minutes.Heat oil and butter until sizzling hot. Add oysters. Brown lightly 1-2 minutes on each side. Serve immediately with lemon and aioli.

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One thought on “Age Old Recipes

  1. I really loved this post. I love your grandmother’s old cookbook… what a complete treasure. Even if you don’t ever butcher a pig or deer. In German. And it’s almost unsettling how much we have in common. I have also dated some much younger guys, and I wonder what this says about me. Or does it say anything. Lots of food for thought here. Thank you 🙂

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