Sometimes a cookbook becomes more than a cookbook. When you've used a favorite enough times, its pages get splattered and wrinkled, the best recipes are easy to find because the spine falls open just at the right spot, and, most importantly, it's filled with notes and comments that tell the story of the people who've used it.
If a cookbook's been used enough, in fact, it's possible to read it almost like a journal. For most people, notes in the margins are simple, like, "Great recipe!" or "Don't make this again!," but they often get more creative than that, too.
Sometimes notes are about adding ingredients, subtracting things that didn't work, or doubling or halving the recipe. Those things come in handy the next time someone cracks open the book to make something everyone loved – and somehow, it seems like if you don't write them down, you never remember them. (Of course, if you're averse to actually writing in your books, Post-it® Notes are a great way to make the marks and comments you want to add without permanently altering your cookbook – or to make temporary changes if you're not sure which recipe tweaks are going to work out.)
Other times, notes are more sentimental – they might be about the first party the recipe was made for, a celebration of an anniversary or promotion, or even just name the people who liked and disliked the recipe. It can be pretty amazing to go back to an old recipe and discover notes in your dad's handwriting that say you hated it when you were five – especially if your tastes have come around in subsequent years.
These kinds of notes, and the memories that come with them, are part of how we define ourselves and our families. After all, sharing a meal is one of the ways we bring the people we love closer together.