I blinked, I did a double take. I think I may have even squinted. As I crouched forward, I let out a little squeal. I recognised the binding, the colour, the printing. Flashbacks to my childhood became vivid as I remembered sitting on the kitchen stool lovingly turning each page over as I had my first experience of food porn. I couldn't believe it. What was the Hershey's 1934 Cookbook, Revised 1971 Edition doing on Janet's cookbook shelf? I slid the book out of its place on the shelf and lovingly opened the stiff front cover. A card flittered out - "Dear Donald & Janet, I hope you can find a place in your new kitchen...." A house warming present for Dan's Mum and Dad back from 1977 and all the way from America. "Oh my God", I let out, "this has the most amazing Red Devil's Food Cake recipe!"
I turned to the content's page, exactly as I remember it. Chocolate Crumb Cake, Chocolate Brownie Pie, Chocolate Marshmallow Pudding, Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge, Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate....
My mother had the identical cookbook, sitting in her cookbook collection back home in Australia. She in turn had either taken the recipe book with her from the States, or had had one sent to her, probably about the same time, 1977. "Have you ever made anything from it, Janet?" I queried when I noticed that none of the pages had endearing food stains across the pages. She hadn't, mostly because all of the ingredients were in US measurements, she explained to me and that she didn't know what corn syrup was. When I asked whether I could copy down some recipes, she did the sweetest thing! She bestowed the book on me!
I am so excited to be reunited with this cookbook and when the cooler weather starts to wrap itself around us, I will begin the journey of cooking my way through recipes I'm very familiar with. And I couldn't help but wonder, had that Hershey's cookbook been sitting on Janet's shelf these past 30 odd years waiting for me to lovingly take it up as my own?