Ever since Lee and I moved into our San Francisco apartment a few weeks ago, Iâ€™ve been sitting next to a very important presence in our home. A paper shopping bag against the wall next to my seat at the kitchen table holds my grandmothers recipe file. A cardboard box next to it holds some of her cookbooks.
When I first came across the file, bursting at the seams from all the paper crammed into it, I realized that my grandmother and I had more in common than I thought. It is clear from her collection that Helen maniacally clipped articles and recipes from any newspaper food section or food magazine she got her hands on. I remember my bringing her the entire Los Angeles Times food section when we visited my grandparents in Colorado. Helen devoured food writing as nourishment for her gourmet brain.
I like to think that Iâ€™m developing a similar habit in the vast world of online food discourse. I spend more hours a week than is healthy reading blogs, commenting, saving recipes, and clipping restaurant reviews or food-related articles from the Chronicle on my Kindle (yes, you can do that!). The cookbook section in bookstores is a deadly trap that often waylays me for much too long.
If my grandmother was alive now would she be a food blogger? Would she read blogs on her computer and email me recipes that she wanted to try? I think so.
The recipe file has not gone untouched. I have glanced at letters A-D and thumbed through most of the cookbooks in the box. What I have seen so far has inspired me to do a thorough sort and inspection of my grandmotherâ€™s recipes. The mix of newspaper clippings and ingredients scrawled on the backs of envelopes begs to be curated. Of course Iâ€™ll have to cook from the file as I sort through it! I will be posting recipes I test and telling whatever stories go along with them.
Step 1: A new file! (The bottom is ripping off of the old one and clippings are spilling out all over the place!)