My mom has one of those old-school red plastic recipe boxes in the cabinet — the same red box she's been keeping recipes since I can remember. It's filled with index cards, dog-eared and wrinkled, aged and dotted, her neat cursif blotted and fading. I hardly know how she refers to them, peering down through glasses that invariably rest at the tip of her nose.
These are 'legacy recipes,' things passed down from my grandmother, Helen Bovino, who has certainly taught us both more about cooking, canning, and farming than we can remember. I'm not familiar with all the recipes in that red box, but here's one that's very dear to me: Supreme Devil's Food Cake. It's the cake I look for every year for Christmas and on birthdays. Two layers of moist, not-too-sweet cake covered with airy frosting and coconut. I can eat the whole thing, and usually try.