My mom records when she cooks what and for whom, devoting an entire page of a notebook to a single meal. She’s practiced this since the late 90s. These notes have helped her recall what part of a recipe she changed, rediscover a forgotten combination that will maybe inspire tomorrow’s dinner, avoid mistakes previously made, and to not serve the same thing twice two holidays in a row or for returning guests. Not every meal gets written down, but the ones that do are worth remembering, a day, a few weeks, a couple of months, or years later.

She currently has six journals full of notes. These pages above are from her third journal, documenting the early 2000s. I have followed this tradition by writing about my own meals.