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A cook on a mission..... 
May 5, 2012 10:47 am 
Updated: May 7, 2012 5:21 pm
I have literally thousands of recipes at my disposal from my own library to ones garnished from the internet. Recently, on an eBay search I discovered multiple entries of recipe boxes for sale; recipe boxes full of someone's recipes.

As I reviewed the auctions, I remembered how much my own Grandmother's recipe boxes meant to me as a kid. They were part mystery, part science and an intimate reminder of the tastes and passions of the women in my life. The pleasure I found in pulling a stained and worn card out of those little boxes and preparing something to eat full of love and nostalgia, and a bit of special occasion.

So, I've started acquiring those little boxes, first the most interesting recipes from the recipe boxes of my two grandmothers, a step-grandmother, and ones I've acquired from estate sales. My Father's Mother's recipe box is a little light in the recipe department, but she also gave me the cookbook she received as a wedding gift in the 1940's. My Mother's Mother's is full of desserts and pickles, and my Mother's Step-Mother's is full of healthy wholesome recipes recipes for whole grain breads, dandelion greens, and jellies.  Those recipe boxes from estate sales and other sources? Each one a literal history of cooks-unknown and a picture of the history of cooking through a generation or more; I love to read through those recipes front to back and imagine the people who wrote and typed and gathered those recipes into a collection. The fact that the collections can be simply destroyed and forgotten and the legacy of our grandparents lost is intolerable to me.

The literal recipe box is becoming obsolete. I am as guilty as the next person at relying on the digital world; most of my favorite recipes are recorded electronically for easy reference via a software program, The Living Cookbook and via websites such as Allrecipes.com.

I'm glad I can share in recipes from cooks all over the world at any time. But there is so much joy on those little index cards that often include a history of where and when the recipe came from and the stains and comments and names from the past. So, even as the recipe box goes the way of everything in the digital age, let's join together on a quest to bring back the recipe card and the recipe box so that we can hand down a legacy of generations to our children and grandchildren.

My first project: paint a wooden recipe box to give as a wedding gift to a young couple. The recipe box will include some of my favorite and most time-tested recipes. I plan to ask the bride's mother for some of her family's favorites to include. We'll start the new couple off right; focusing on the kitchen in which resides the heart of a home, and starting a recipe collection to pass on to their children and grandchildren.
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May 6, 2012 10:26 am
Rebecca-I find the little wooden box filled with recipes a wonderful way to think about my childhood dinners. My mom wrote down a lot of desserts. I think a painted wooden box with your favorite recipes is a wonderful gift for a new couple.
May 6, 2012 1:27 pm
I have purchase old recipe boxes filled with recipes too. It is very interesting especially when you see notes added in on how the cook changed things.
May 6, 2012 2:03 pm
We like to pick up Church/School/Community/Fund Raising cookbooks wherever we see them. So many of those are old treasured recipes and some will have notations in the margins. They are like reading novels.
May 7, 2012 5:21 pm
The recipe box is a good idea. I have stored many recipes printed from the web in a 3 ring binder with notes written along the edge of the paper. Unfortunately I don't have recipes from any relatives but I plan on passing the binder to my daughter.
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Rebecca C.

Home Town
Narragansett, Rhode Island, USA
Living In
Garland, Maine, USA

Member Since
Dec. 2009

Cooking Level

Cooking Interests
Asian, Mexican, Indian, Italian, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Healthy, Vegetarian, Quick & Easy, Gourmet

Knitting, Sewing, Needlepoint, Gardening, Reading Books, Painting/Drawing

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About Me
I love to cook and the older I get, the more I want simple, tasty, wholesome recipes that I can whip up quickly. But I'm not adverse to going out on a limb to try something new, tricky, or unusual if I think it will be a winner.
My favorite things to cook
I'm always open to trying something new, but at the end of the day, I love to bake. Cakes, pies, cookies, or breads. And, I love to can my own produce.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Old Fashioned Ice-Box Cookies: My Grandmother made them with her mother every Thanksgiving, my sister and I made them with my Grandmother when we were kids, and I carry on the family tradition.
My cooking triumphs
The Osso Bucco I made in 2000 based on a "Cooking Light" recipe. To this day it's the best thing I've ever made.
My cooking tragedies
The organic chicken I tried to roast in 2002; the darn thing never really cooked and we ended up throwing it away and ordering take-out. It was one disgusting specimen of poultry! We still laugh about that old, dried, up old....rooster.
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