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Treasure family recipes by documenting in honor of lost loved ones

In the wake of losing a dear friend, columnist Sherrel Jones writes about the importance of preserving family recipes.
BY SHERREL JONES Published: January 15, 2014

I cannot express enough the importance of documenting the recipes you love: your own special ones along with favorites you've gathered from family and friends over time.

The issue moved to the front burner after a dear friend, Ruth Wiles Freeman, lost her battle with Parkinson's disease on the last day of 2013. She was 85 years young in spirit and downright beautiful, inside and out.

Like everything else Ruth did, she was a wonderful cook who left a legacy of recipes that will continue to grace the kitchens of many of us who loved her and loved good food.

Ruth not only collected teddy bears, she named each one, often after historic or local characters. She even created Christmas plays, dressing them in costumes. The bears' own Christmas card once depicted a group of suitably dressed bears participating in a Nativity scene complete with shepherds.

She was the kind of person you liked instantly, and she had the innate ability to draw folks into most any civic project with the aplomb of a snake-oil salesman. She put me under her captivating spell right away, first with Friends of the Library and several Cherokee Strip projects to follow.

Many of Ruth's most-traveled recipes were from dear friends near and far: Cappie Addison's Hot Rolls were also made into cinnamon rolls, tea rings and her memorable Teddy Bear Paws, complete with an almond paste filling and little slivered almond claws.

Ruth was a history buff. She was founder of the Heritage League of Enid and the Keeper of the Plains Foundation, dedicated to spearheading volunteer recruitment for many events and activities centered on the history of the Cherokee Strip and Oklahoma. Another of Ruth's favorite recipes was from Joan Mason, former curator of the Museum of the Cherokee Strip. The recipe for Old-Fashioned Ginger Cookies was brought by a member of Mason's family at the time of the land run in 1889.

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