Thursday, August 11, 2011

Recipe for Nostalgia

Recipe for Nostalgia:

1 part index or recipe card
1 part handwriting (preferably cursive); in a pinch, typing will do
1 part coronary-inducing ingredients, like lard
1 part stains

Mix well.  Pour into blog post and let marinate.  Serves 350 (hopefully more!).

Here's something that all of us probably have in our drawers or cupboards somewhere  (or if you don't, then your mom or grandma do for sure) - handwritten or typed recipes!  Seriously - is there anything more nostalgic than those recipes that you knew were used by family members?

Brian and I went to La Crosse (western Wisconsin) this weekend with his family and of course, I hit the antique mall.  There was this HUGE packet of recipes and booklets, all for THREE bucks.  How could I pass that up?  It appears that there was more than one cook or baker that contributed to this huge packet, judging by the handwriting.  Friends, perhaps?  Mother and daughter?  Some kind of recipe club?  Random collected recipes?  As you can see, most are on index cards but there is a "From the kitchen of..." card here and there.  I love those!

And as is the case with most of the stuff I collect/use in my art, I wonder about the origins of the paper - did Myrtle cut it out for her bridge club?  Did Helen need that recipe for a family reunion?  Was Bea on the funeral luncheon committee at church and thought that the "boiled cookie" recipe would be good, as it serves a bazillion people? (Okay, who here besides me thinks that "boiled cookies" sounds pretty gross?)

I do have some recipes from my own family and I hold them very dear.  My dad's is just from a Betty Crocker cookbook but it has his notes on it (in that gorgeous handwriting of his - yes, he wrote the dates of when he made it!) - he LOVED to cook and bake and was really good at it.  My sis gave me this salad recipe a few years back and it's fantastic.  I love the card she used!  And although it's not original, all of us in the family now own the famous French Creme Cake recipe that has been guarded in my family since the Twenties, first made by my Great-Great-Grandma Petry.  My Grammie, who passed away in June, was the real star of that recipe, though.  We have no idea who has the original recipe, with all of the years of use and the inevitable tears and stains, but I'm happy to at least have a copy, which is in my Grammie's handwriting (blurred for its protection - still have to guard it, or at least try!).

But what's to become of these recipes?  Are we going to scan our favorites and toss the rest?  I'll be honest - 99% of the recipes I use come from because of its convenience.  Are we going to see a recipe at a friend's house and write it down for ourselves?  No, we're going to use our camera phones to take a photo of it and then scan it in a file later (or right then if we have an iPad).  I fear that handwritten recipes are just another former ubiquitous item that's being relegated to the dustbin.

Seeing as how I just got these recipes, I haven't used them in my art - yet.  I most certainly will be utilizing them somehow - I'll definitely let you know!  :D


  1. I use my Mom's recipe box all the time. But, all the soups are missing. I can't figure out what happened - she loved making soups. Perhaps the caregivers that helped while I worked used them and didn't put them in the right place.

    We've only used one recipe online. The rest we make up or find in old cookbooks - handwritten and published. But the ones I like best are those from clubs that were self-published....some real sleeper suppers in those!

  2. I bought an old tin recipe box full of recipes recently. I've already used them to decoupage a wooden recipe box, and they may find their way into some collages. Of course, I kept some of the yummier looking ones for myself! I wonder if, years from now my recipe file box will be considered "art".