Mormor was my mother. When my oldest son was born, she refused to be called Grandma “M” or Grandma Mary; she wanted something with distinction: Mormor, which means Mother’s Mother in Swedish. When my boys grew up and brought friends and girlfriends around to meet her, they were proud to say that this was their Mormor.

Between my junior and senior year of college, my grandmother moved from the house where my mother lived as a girl to a newly built senior living facility. When they couldn’t sell the dining room furniture, my parents talked my grandmother into selling the house to them. It was a hot summer when we moved in, but the one thing I don’t remember moving were the vast number of cookbooks that seemed to have congregated in the pantry room off the kitchen.


When I was a kid, the room had one purpose that I can remember: an extra cool room where the vast number of Christmas cookies could be stored.

Mom had always clipped interesting recipes out of magazines and newspapers. She would use a ruler and draw a crisp line along each side of the recipe and then use a sharp scissors to crop it down to size. The clipped recipe found its way onto a page in a three ring notebook. I remember seeing these as I was growing up, but I don’t really remember seeing her do much of the clipping. If they didn’t find their way into one of the notebooks, they found their way onto a 4X6 index card and filed accordingly.


Several years ago, Mom decided that she needed to start selling off some of her cookbooks at the yearly garage sales. It wasn’t until I saw the numerous volumes on the table that I realized how many books she had. She was selling the grocery store checkout display volumes. You know, Pillsbury’s Bake-Off Volume 27 or Betty Crocker’s 100 Best Cookies.

Until she started picking through her collection, I hadn’t realized that her addiction had become mine. I had been clipping recipes and buying recipe books since I can’t remember when.

I don’t remember when it happened, but Mom’s collecting became more specified: she began to purchase cookbooks of recipes compiled by churches, PTOs, and other community organizations. She looked for specialty cookbooks when she traveled. She subscribed to Taste of Home. If not to try the recipes, to just read the recipes.


Mormor passed away in August 2013, and I have inherited her collection of clippings and cookbooks, but not the recipe room.


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