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.