keeping the past alive {through food}

recipe box



I am feeling a bit under the weather today which makes it the perfect time to work on a project in the house. I feel like I have been running constantly these past few weeks and haven’t taken time to just stop, look around and work on something quiet.  Today my body is telling me that the time has come.  It is dark and damp out and the fireplace is warm and inviting.


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While on the east coast last month I was given an amazing gift.  A friend came across an old box of hand-written recipes from the 20s through the 70s.  It is an amazing collection of family meals, baked goods and mostly lost recipes we no longer make.  The papers are delicate and worn- some so fragile I worry they won’t last much longer.  When I hold them I imagine the woman who sat at her kitchen table carefully writing them out.  I imagine the family she fed, the girlfriends she exchanged the recipes with and how she spent her time in her own kitchen.  I want to know her, and through her recipes maybe I will in some small way.

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My goal is to copy her recipes and compile them into a small book with the best ones.  I hope to make as many of them as possible- although I’m not certain I can find all of the ingredients called for!  I would like to share them occasionally with you as I love the idea of keeping some of the past alive through food.

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19 Responses to keeping the past alive {through food}

  1. i have my grandmothers recipe box…i took her cranberry nut bread recipe out and framed it. it means so much to me to have this box of treasures. it is like going back in time. :)

  2. Hi Kim!

    When my Grandma Vivian passed away, my aunt took her recipe box and created a book of her recipes and gave a copy to each of us – the recipes appear EXACTLY as my Grandma had written them – phrases such as ‘a pinch’ , ‘a hand full’ etc….There are some strange recipes – many Swedish dishes that were passed down from her mother – others that really reflect the time they were written – jello molds, casseroles etc…. I don’t refer to the book often – more just to reflect and spend time remembering my sweet Grandma and family memories.

    That is a precious gift –

  3. one of my treasures is a notebook of my grandmother’s recipes that my aunt put together as christmas gifts for the family. she typed out all of the recipes & included copies of the handwritten recipes as well as some notes and exerpts from letters that my grandmother wrote to her sisters during world war II. in the letter exerpts, my grandmother wrote about war rationing, how she was adapting her meals to the shortages, etc.

    the title of this collection is: ” ’til it stands in stiff peaks, not dry..”. this is how my grandmother taught each of us to know when meringue was ready.

    not only do i use this for her recipes, i sometimes just sit and read it when i’m missing her.

    great project, can’t wait to see what you do with it!!

  4. Great idea. I came across a box of recipes at an estate sale. I thought it was so sad that her family didn’t wish to save them. Such a keepsake of memories.

  5. Love, love, love this Kim!!! I have been longing to put together a cookbook with old family recipes for a bit now but just never took the time to start. Perhaps I should make some time soon.

  6. If this doesn’t make you fee a little better I not sure what would, love this treasure you found I’m sure that is why she kept them for others to use.

    Feel better soon!

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