My Dead Mom’s Recipe Box

My first mother, Irene, my biological mother, died in 1991 a month before I turned seven. The last time I went back to my childhood home, my sister and I sorted through photographs and finally threw away her disintegrating old purse. I brought her recipe box back with me to Portland and will be digitizing it. I don’t remember her being a remarkable cook. I remember some mediocre meatloaf, boxed mac and cheese, tuna melts, and not much else.

The first recipe is a magazine clipping for “Bacon, Mushroom, & Pea Sauce.” A Google search found a digital copy at, but the origin is unclear. The recipe involves frozen peas and cooking everything in the microwave. Oof. Can’t imagine that’s a good texture. But I can see how that would be attractive to a mother of two young girls working full-time.
ingredientsrecipe directions

Upon reading this post, a long-time family friend, Gini, says, “As I recall from the many dinners we shared, Irene was a pretty good cook. I don’t think she ever used that Bacon, mushroom and pea sauce. Perhaps she got it from your grandmother. I do know Irene made one of the most memorable meals I ever tasted: A beautifully prepared catfish in a delicious white cream sauce. The fish totally tasted like pond bottom, indescribably inedible. We laughed about it for years.”