ANN BAILEY: Paper-shredding dog mangles cherished family recipe

In this day of identify theft, paper shredders, once reserved for business use, have become more popular in the private sector. My family is among those who own a shredder. However, ours does not require electricity and not only shreds private do...

Ann Bailey
Ann Bailey

In this day of identify theft, paper shredders, once reserved for business use, have become more popular in the private sector.

My family is among those who own a shredder. However, ours does not require electricity and not only shreds private documents, but also cardboard, photos, drawings and anything else she can get her teeth on.

This four-legged shredder, my daughter's dog, Rosebud, is the ideal canine in my many ways. She is sweet, gentle and loving with humans and a rough and tough wrestling companion for our yellow lab, Maggie.

However, Rosebud, like the rest of us, is not perfect and shredding paper is one of her transgressions. Knowing that she has a penchant for paper, we try not to leave anything in her reach. Occasionally, though, someone forgets and a magazine or newspaper that was forgotten on the kitchen counter in the morning has become scattered piles of tiny bits of mushy newsprint by afternoon. Rosebud also is adept at ripping pictures that Ellen has drawn off of the refrigerator. She accomplishes this feat by standing on her hind legs and stretching her neck so she can reach the artwork held in place by refrigerator magnets.

While having newspapers, magazines and drawings torn to pieces is annoying and requires some major sweeping to dispose of them, I don't get too upset because they aren't irreplaceable. Ellen is a prolific artist, churning out dozens of drawings and other creations monthly. Meanwhile, most of the magazine and newspaper articles are online, so if I really need to read them, I can find them.


Recipe for disaster

However, I admit I was more dismayed by Rosebud's latest shredding adventure. I came home the other day to find that the latest casualty of Rosebud's teeth was part of a box of recipes. She somehow opened the recipe box, pulled out a mouthful of recipes and chewed them up. While a few of them remained intact enough to decipher and record on another card, some of them were destroyed.

Among them was my grandma, Anna's, scalloped corn recipe. At first, I wasn't too concerned because I thought I could find it on the Internet. But after checking several recipes, I couldn't find one with the same ingredients. My next step was to ask my sister, Bonnie, if I had given her a copy of the recipe. After going through her recipes collection, Bonnie told me she didn't have one for our grandma's scalloped corn.

My last hope was to go through my mom, Marcia's, recipes and see if I could find it. I found two recipe boxes and a handwritten book of recipes in her farm kitchen and figured there was a good chance I'd find the recipe for scalloped corn among them.

I was wrong. Not a scalloped corn recipe to be found. However, there were dozens of other recipes my mom had made over the years and each one brought back memories of meals I had shared with my family when I was growing up on the farm. Some of the recipes were for things that I had forgotten about and now will make again.

The recipes that I had searched through the first time were just a drop in the bucket, so I made another trip to my mom's kitchen and this time unloaded the contents of two kitchen drawers stuffed with recipes into a box. On Christmas morning, I sat down with a cup of coffee and started going through the heaping pile of recipes, some in my mom's handwriting, others she had cut out of magazines and newspapers and several more given to her by friends and family members.

Striking gold

I knew that the only way to find my grandma's recipe was to go through each recipe one-by-one. This search, like the first one, yielded recipes for dishes that my mom had made our family over the years. I also found many recipes for desserts, salads and entrées my mom had never made. Like me, my mom enjoyed collecting recipes and entertained thoughts of someday trying them out, but never did.


When I had gotten about a third of the way through the box, I found my grandma's scalloped corn recipe written on the page of a notebook. I felt like I had won the lottery.

In an effort to make sure that I never again lost the recipe to Rosebud's teeth or anything else, I made a copy of it, placed the original in one of my mom's cookbooks and made another copy to give to my sister. I carefully put the copy that I had made in my recipe box, which has been relocated to the ledge of the stove, out of Rosebud's reach.

I made the scalloped corn to bring to Christmas dinner and it was, as always, a hit. That made me doubly glad that I had persevered until I found my grandma's recipe. Not only can it not be substituted for sentimental reasons, but it really does yield the best scalloped corn I've ever tasted. Now, thanks to Rosebud, I have a "remember when" story to tell when I bring it to family gatherings.

I can't say that excuses Rosebud from chewing up the recipes, but the tale I have to tell, combined with the trip down memory lane that going through my mom's recipes provided for me, does make her paper chewing offenses a little easier to swallow.

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