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The Blue Binder

(by Sally Hurst)

When my mother gave a blue binder to each of my sisters and me for Christmas several years ago, things still seemed bright in spite of the fact that she’d been battling ovarian cancer. She was strong in between her chemo treatments, cheerful and game for outings. The blue binder was full of our family recipes, with introductions, memories, and lots of photos. As I flipped through the pages she had painstakingly compiled, I burst into tears. It was the only time I’d cried in front of her since she’d received her diagnosis, but it was a gentle reminder that, in spite of her stiff upper lip, she wouldn’t be with us for long.

(sisters Anne and Ellen, mom Kathy, and me)

I’m a chef by trade, and although my path to the professional kitchen wasn’t a direct one, it was my mom who inspired me to get there. She cooked with me when I was very little, pulling age-appropriate recipes from The Moth