Handed-Down Recipes

by Wendy Visser

Hot cakes on the griddle, bacon’s sizzle in the pan, coffee fragrance floating up the back stairs followed by my father’s bellow, “Breakfast’s ready. Last one at the table does the dishes.”

The stampede of feet, the arm punching and head swatting as chairs scrape the floor of their respective places in the mad necessity to not be last. “You’re after me” hollers the middle sibling. “Am not”, shouts the youngest.

“Are too!”

“Am not!” choking on her tears.

Over the din, the parental command, “That’s enough. Another outburst and you’ll both be in hot water and I don’t mean dish water”.

Between the yawns of dawn-time risings and the noise of adolescent squabbles father bows his head then mother serves. . .


Mid-day’s mushroom and leek homemade soup with a just-picked garden salad and dad’s yell upstairs, downstairs and the backyard. This time it’s the oldest and the fourth from the end who don’t see eye to eye around the kitchen table in spite of paternal threats of more hot water. Father bows his head. Between the rush of daytime chatter, mother serves. . .


Within day’s falling, every pot and pan is heaped with mother’s secret blends of home-grown spices-a dash of this-a hint of that. The clang of the porch bell calls us from field chores and bedroom homework. In the hush of twilight prayer, mother serves. . .


Everyone is scattered now to houses of our own, mom and dad no longer a part  of our earthly landscape but when we get together our childhoods are like handed-down recipes fed to us around a table full of memories.

Image: Giovanni Sades / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Wendy Visser is a long time member of the CWC who has served as president, anthology co-ordinator, and membership chair through the years. She is a prize-winning poet and is the author of, ‘Riding A wooden Horse’. Her second full collection of poetry, ‘This Side of Beyond’, is scheduled for publication later this year.

One response to “Handed-Down Recipes

  1. This is a beautiful piece, Wendy!

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