By Cheryl Empey
“Home Sweet, Home”, what does that phrase mean to you? As a Family & Consumer Science instructor, I get to teach Beginning Foods. During the semester we learn how to make dishes that are pleasing to both the eye and the taste buds. Each student comes with their individual experiences with food. Some are well trained in methods of cooking while for others this may be the first time they have ventured to create with food. Food is a commonality among us all. The Lord organized it that way. During class we often speak of the use of food in the scriptures. It is used for both physical and spiritual strength; symbolically and literally. Many of my students recognize that their ability to cook can contribute to making their homes sweet places to be.
Think of you favorite smells. Might they include fresh baked bread, Christmas dinners, fresh peaches ready to bottle or possibly a turkey dinner at Grandma’s? What memories do they bring back? Do they remind you of Sweet times in your homes or the homes of those you love?
For Christmas this year, my sister gave me a scanned copy of one of my Grandmother’s date books. In grandma’s date book was hidden treasures. On random dates, she wrote her most often used recipes- those that filled her home with warmth and sweet smells. It was pure goodness. They included her Sugar cookies, Pumpkin- nut pudding, and the ever illusive Chili Sauce Recipe. The Chili Sauce recipe was written in pencil on March 2, 1958. To me this was a great find.
Some of Grandma’s recipes were quiet large. On Thursday, February 6, 1958 she had written her Apple Crisp topping recipe that would serve 100 people. She did not intend to feed only her family. She shared her talent with many around her.
In that post war time, her ingredients were different from what is available today. She used a great deal of dried eggs and milk. No margarine. She also measured more in pounds than what I am used to today. She even included on December 25, 1958her recipe for soap, to be made in a large enamel pan. I recognize that I have been blessed with more convenience items, like soap. And will those blessings I am perfecting different skills. We also know, “where much is given, much is required”.
God gives us a recipe book of instructions for building and establishing a Christ filled home. The scriptures are filled with ingredients and instructions. Fathers and sons, mothers and daughters that follow the lead of those that came before them. They recorded how they served each other and their families. The commandments act as instructions how to return home to our Father in Heaven. Modern day prophets give instruction for how to bring all the ingredients of the past and present together to increase our spiritual strength.
Today,I find that I too want to keep the commandments and enjoy the warmth of a home filled with the Spirit. Just as the sweet smells filled her home the spirit of the Lord made it a comfortable and inviting place. Not only did Grandma serve her family but she lived the gospel. She followed the instructions found in Alma that read, “When ye are in the service of your fellow being ye are only in the service of your God.”Grandmother’s day-to-day chore of cooking, recorded in a simple date book, has left me a legacy of love and service to help make my own home, a “Home Sweet,Home”.
Cheryl Empey is a member of the faculty in the Department of Home and Family at Brigham Young University - Idaho