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    Post #1 - June 27th, 2008, 12:56 pm
    Post #1 - June 27th, 2008, 12:56 pm Post #1 - June 27th, 2008, 12:56 pm
    I got some surprising and wonderful mail this afternoon. A few months back at a family event I had a chance to look through my Grandma’s old recipe box that one of my aunts keeps. I already had most of the recipes on my own cards, but seeing those old cards, the ones I used learning to bake and cook in Grandma’s kitchen, was quite a trip down memory lane. Most of her food can’t be made directly from the cards unless you grew up cooking and baking with her, since many involve “secret” ingredients or creative measurements like “up to the deep chip in the blue cup, little less”. My personal favorite is the one that starts with “thirty-two cents worth of salt pork”.

    Unbeknownst to me, my Dad decided to take on quite a project. He borrowed the recipe box from my aunt and scanned every card into the computer, color adjusted them in PhotoShop to match the real card, and printed them out on index cards for me and sent me my own set. Now anytime I want to cook something I learned from her I can pull out a card and see her handwriting and those familiar food and water stains.

    Now if only I could figure out how much “32 cents worth of salt pork” really is. Hmm. At least I inherited (and still have!) that goofy blue chipped cup she measured everything with. :D

    In an unrelated email from an aunt on the other side of my family, I just got a recipe for salsa that starts with "28 tomatoes, seeded and chopped" and another for the taco meat that starts with 21 pounds of meat. Is it any wonder I have to invite my closest 37 friends anytime I cook anything?
  • Post #2 - June 27th, 2008, 1:00 pm
    Post #2 - June 27th, 2008, 1:00 pm Post #2 - June 27th, 2008, 1:00 pm
    Quite a gift!

    I've been privy to the s/o's family's "recipe box" (faded, stained index cards and odd increments). Such a boon in both family history and the evolution of recipes. There are a couple vanity-printed books of my own family's recipes, but I haven't been offered them. I get to peek when I visit.
    Being gauche rocks, stun the bourgeoisie
  • Post #3 - June 27th, 2008, 1:11 pm
    Post #3 - June 27th, 2008, 1:11 pm Post #3 - June 27th, 2008, 1:11 pm
    Annabelle wrote:In an unrelated email from an aunt on the other side of my family, I just got a recipe for salsa that starts with "28 tomatoes, seeded and chopped" and another for the taco meat that starts with 21 pounds of meat. Is it any wonder I have to invite my closest 37 friends anytime I cook anything?


    My reaction those may be food preservation/canning recipes or did she really cook for a crowd?

    You are fortunate your family is taking such reverent care of this family treasure. I have heard these recipe boxes can be often found at garage sales with the recipes and clippings still inside.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #4 - June 27th, 2008, 1:20 pm
    Post #4 - June 27th, 2008, 1:20 pm Post #4 - June 27th, 2008, 1:20 pm
    I have heard these recipe boxes can be often found at garage sales with the recipes and clippings still inside.

    I can't imagine selling off the recipe box. Even if someone doesn't cook (and my aunt really doesn't), I'd think they would hold onto it just for the memories, seeing the person's handwriting, etc. If I ever saw one at a garage sale I'd be so sad! My Mom isn't a big cook, but I'll still treasure her recipe box someday (hopefully not for a good many years!) for just that reason. It's just part of the family memories. There is even a recipe card filed under "A" for me with a list of all my "firsts" from when I was a baby. Hey, it was easier to keep track of than a baby book.

    My reaction those may be food preservation/canning recipes or did she really cook for a crowd?

    The gigantic recipes from my other aunt were from a large event, yes. Though it is a standing family joke that there is always more of whatever she brings to family events. More in the car, more at the neighbors, more at the Johnson's down the street. She was the oldest in a family of 11, she learned to cook BIG.
  • Post #5 - June 27th, 2008, 7:49 pm
    Post #5 - June 27th, 2008, 7:49 pm Post #5 - June 27th, 2008, 7:49 pm
    My aunt's "Edwards Soil Service" cookbook (a popular central Illinois item) was sold at her estate sale, including all her handwritten recipes and notes. Even though I already had the book, I bought it anyway, because I couldn't stand to see her personal writings be sold to a stranger.

    Now my copy will be up for sale on eBay soon....
  • Post #6 - June 27th, 2008, 8:32 pm
    Post #6 - June 27th, 2008, 8:32 pm Post #6 - June 27th, 2008, 8:32 pm
    About two years ago looking for an old recipe of mine for brandied fruit I asked my daughter if I could borrow my old recipes which she had on her bookcase. Its an old notebook, falling apart with recipes falling out. I started going through it and kept saying I remember this one, my mother used to make this one, my aunt developed that one, this is grandma's tsimes and heres my notes for gefilte fish. Well to make a long story short, I never found the brandied fruit recipe although I do have the recipe for a cake using the fruit, but I started baking. I never baked while the kids where growing up something VI would attest to, though he says I made bar cookies and bundt cake. Now I am asked to bring dessert whereever I go and the old mandel bread recipe has become the favorite not only of the family but several at our temple. It turns out I was the only one who had the recipe and my cousins thought it was lost. I've since branched out into other cookies and some cakes but what I still love to bake and loved to do 40 years ago was bake bread. I've fallen in love with Peter Reinhardts The Bakers Apprentice and have made his challe and bagels several time. I also bake his hearth bread from the whole grain book. But family still reaches for the cookie jar and asks for those whenever I go somewhere.
    Paulette
  • Post #7 - June 27th, 2008, 8:40 pm
    Post #7 - June 27th, 2008, 8:40 pm Post #7 - June 27th, 2008, 8:40 pm
    No recipe boxes, but our rather large family has a history of making cookbooks as a way to share old family recipes, like Bourbon Balls. In fact, my cousin is putting together a new one now. Yes, some of the recipes are rather quirky (e.g. Elephant Stew). [Warning: contains inside family references.]
    Keiths and Kin in the Kitchen, 1984 wrote:Elephant Stew
    Ingredients
    One Elephant
    salt and pepper to taste
    two rabbits (optional)

    You are most apt to find an elephant at the back of the Island in early spring, as they have trouble crossing Big Lake while the ice is thawing, and may get stuck on the Island.
    Shoot the elephant. This recipe may seem odd but it's okay, as hunting elephants is not prohibited in Wisconsin.
    Cut the elephant into bite sized pieces. (Takes about two months. You should be done by June.)
    Add salt and pepper and simmer gently for two to three weeks.
    This recipe will serve 3,801 people and should take care of feeding everyone at the Island all summer. You might even have leftover stew.
    If you do, you can bring it to Cattail Cove, Scotch Point and the Farm; however if you need more stew - add two rabbits. But use caution doing this as some people do not like "hare" in their stew.
  • Post #8 - June 28th, 2008, 9:55 pm
    Post #8 - June 28th, 2008, 9:55 pm Post #8 - June 28th, 2008, 9:55 pm
    Annabelle wrote:Now if only I could figure out how much “32 cents worth of salt pork” really is.


    What a great story!
    This may or may not help you with figuring how much 32 cents worth of salt pork would be at today's prices, but it's fun reading either way.
  • Post #9 - June 28th, 2008, 10:25 pm
    Post #9 - June 28th, 2008, 10:25 pm Post #9 - June 28th, 2008, 10:25 pm
    Last time I visited my mom, I spent an afternoon going through her old recipe boxes (three of them). There were recipes in her handwriting, in my grandmother's handwriting, and even a few in my great grandmother's handwriting. Mom still has the boxes, but I copied down some recipes for items I either had never had before or that I remembered fondly. So at some point this summer (or maybe I'll wait until fall), I'll probably try out my great grandmother's raisin pie and my grandmother's blanquette to veau. Great memories, great heritage, those recipe cards. I agree entirely with those who think it's an odd, sad thing to sell -- even if you don't cook.

    (And while I don't have the recipe boxes yet, I do have my great grandmother's heavily annotated first edition of the Boston School of Cooking Cookbook. Boy, have cookbooks changed in the last 100 years.)
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #10 - June 29th, 2008, 9:27 am
    Post #10 - June 29th, 2008, 9:27 am Post #10 - June 29th, 2008, 9:27 am
    You might also try the inflation calculator to back calculate today's salt pork costs....although that doesn't take into account a bunch of other factors that go into food pricing.

    Many libraries subscribe to Proquest or the Tribune Historical Archives on line. You could search for food ads from the proper time frame and see per lb costs...
    "The only thing I have to eat is Yoo-hoo and Cocoa puffs so if you want anything else, you have to bring it with you."
  • Post #11 - June 29th, 2008, 10:57 am
    Post #11 - June 29th, 2008, 10:57 am Post #11 - June 29th, 2008, 10:57 am
    I have a similiar recipe of my mothers for a Milky Way Cake calling for 5 cent Milky Way bars. I have always thought of contacting Mars but have not done it yet.
    Paulette
  • Post #12 - December 28th, 2012, 11:52 am
    Post #12 - December 28th, 2012, 11:52 am Post #12 - December 28th, 2012, 11:52 am
    I was just going through some old recipes when I found a handwritten one for a Spanada Frosty Float, written either by my mom or grandma:
    Place a scoop of raspberry sherbet in glass. Fill glass with chilled Spanada. Top with raspberries.

    I had no idea what Spanada is. Apparently it was big in 1978, and I don't think it's made anymore. But the wonders of the internets give it second life:
    I want to have a good body, but not as much as I want dessert. ~ Jason Love

    There is no pie in Nighthawks, which is why it's such a desolate image. ~ Happy Stomach

    I write fiction. You can find me—and some stories—on Facebook, Twitter and my website.
  • Post #13 - December 28th, 2012, 12:47 pm
    Post #13 - December 28th, 2012, 12:47 pm Post #13 - December 28th, 2012, 12:47 pm
    I have an assorted variety of recipes from both of my grandmothers that I inherited. Truth be told many of these can be found on the internet now. The recipe you might have thought was your grandma's was also the recipe of countless others. In the old days many people traded recipes. The cards I have are marked with someone's name such as "Erna's kuchen" or "Sophie's cake" denoted where it came from. One of my grandmothers belonged to a church group a "Ladies Aid" and they had meetings, it was a social thing and they all brought their home made cakes and tortes and had coffee. The recipes were shared. Also many people clipped recipes from the Chicago Tribune from their Five dollar favorite recipes. People would send in a recipe and if the Tribune test kitchens liked it they would pay the person five dollars and print it. I also have some church cookbooks as well as fraternal organizations that published some of these. They are interesting to read. This Christmas my mother presented me with a book of family recipes she wrote up and so did another one of my friends. My friend has a few recipes for "snack cakes" from the old domino sugar bags. These are cakes that can be made in a one layer eight inch pans and can be frosted very simply. Easy to make and have simple ingredients, are good and good for small families. I love looking at the old recipes.
    Toria

    "I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it" - As You Like It,
    W. Shakespeare
  • Post #14 - December 28th, 2012, 1:53 pm
    Post #14 - December 28th, 2012, 1:53 pm Post #14 - December 28th, 2012, 1:53 pm
    I have my mother's recipe box which includes both hand written and clipped recipes. The references as to origin are classic- "Nanny's bread and butter pickles" or attribution to a friend-"Leone's pasta sauce" or even just first names-"Lee's artichoke dip" It brings back memories -I can even remember her talking about a dish that was served at some ladies' function that she scored the recipe. I even loved the stained cards-you know these were made often. I have a ton of cookbooks but my clipped and hand written recipes rule.
    What disease did cured ham actually have?
  • Post #15 - December 28th, 2012, 6:14 pm
    Post #15 - December 28th, 2012, 6:14 pm Post #15 - December 28th, 2012, 6:14 pm
    Gale Gand, exec pastry chef @ Tru, was working on a PBS series called "The Heirloom Recipe Project" back in 2009, and even spoke about it with great enthusiasm during her demo at the Chicago Botanic Garden that year. Unfortunately, it apparently stalled for lack of funding. Not much info seems to be available at this point; here's all I could find. Talk about a worthwhile project!
  • Post #16 - December 31st, 2012, 9:16 am
    Post #16 - December 31st, 2012, 9:16 am Post #16 - December 31st, 2012, 9:16 am
    nr706 wrote:No recipe boxes, but our rather large family has a history of making cookbooks as a way to share old family recipes, like Bourbon Balls. In fact, my cousin is putting together a new one now. Yes, some of the recipes are rather quirky (e.g. Elephant Stew). [Warning: contains inside family references.]
    Keiths and Kin in the Kitchen, 1984 wrote:Elephant Stew
    Ingredients
    One Elephant
    salt and pepper to taste
    two rabbits (optional)

    You are most apt to find an elephant at the back of the Island in early spring, as they have trouble crossing Big Lake while the ice is thawing, and may get stuck on the Island.
    Shoot the elephant. This recipe may seem odd but it's okay, as hunting elephants is not prohibited in Wisconsin.
    Cut the elephant into bite sized pieces. (Takes about two months. You should be done by June.)
    Add salt and pepper and simmer gently for two to three weeks.
    This recipe will serve 3,801 people and should take care of feeding everyone at the Island all summer. You might even have leftover stew.
    If you do, you can bring it to Cattail Cove, Scotch Point and the Farm; however if you need more stew - add two rabbits. But use caution doing this as some people do not like "hare" in their stew.


    Are joke recipes like "Elephant" stew pretty common in old family or community cookbooks? I was perusing my mother-in-law's parish cookbook collection from northwest Wisconsin, and saw at least two recipes of this type, although one may have been of the "stuffed camel" variety.
  • Post #17 - December 31st, 2012, 10:07 am
    Post #17 - December 31st, 2012, 10:07 am Post #17 - December 31st, 2012, 10:07 am
    Some but not all cookbooks have the elephant stew one. There is another one which features someone's recipe as they are cooking and drinking...I am sure many have seen this but I can not remember the book I saw it in.
    Toria

    "I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it" - As You Like It,
    W. Shakespeare
  • Post #18 - January 1st, 2013, 7:26 pm
    Post #18 - January 1st, 2013, 7:26 pm Post #18 - January 1st, 2013, 7:26 pm
    My grandmother and great aunt, who were born around 1900 near Odessa, and immigrated to a farm community in South Dakota about a decade later, didn't seem to have many written recipes or cookbooks. When I asked my great aunt how to make her delicious dumplings, she told me to "start with a lump of butter the size of an egg." We have some of their recipes primarily because my mother watched (or helped) them cook, and figured out and wrote down the recipes afterward. Not a system that works well when a family is spread across the country, as mine was.
  • Post #19 - January 31st, 2013, 7:23 am
    Post #19 - January 31st, 2013, 7:23 am Post #19 - January 31st, 2013, 7:23 am
    When her mother died three years ago, Lynell George, a writer and assistant professor of journalism at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, assumed the responsibility of making the family’s traditional New Year’s Day gumbo. Leafing through her mother’s cookbooks, she heard her mother’s Creole-inflected voice in the margins.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/30/dining/cookbooks-echo-with-the-wisdom-of-chefs-past.html?_r=0
    Hors D'oeuvre: A ham sandwich cut into forty pieces.
    - Jack Benny
  • Post #20 - July 15th, 2018, 6:39 am
    Post #20 - July 15th, 2018, 6:39 am Post #20 - July 15th, 2018, 6:39 am
    Old Recipes, New Format: Spain Puts Historic Dishes on Video

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/12/dini ... ion=dining®ion=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=5&pgtype=sectionfront
    Hors D'oeuvre: A ham sandwich cut into forty pieces.
    - Jack Benny
  • Post #21 - July 15th, 2018, 10:02 am
    Post #21 - July 15th, 2018, 10:02 am Post #21 - July 15th, 2018, 10:02 am
    Dave148 wrote:
    Old Recipes, New Format: Spain Puts Historic Dishes on Video

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/12/dini ... ion=dining®ion=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=5&pgtype=sectionfront

    Direct link:
    Old Recipes, New Format: Spain Puts Historic Dishes on Video

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