My grandmother organized her recipes and newspaper clippings alphabetically. It seems appropriate to start with the A’s in my quest to sort through and cook from her file.
Today I made labels for the sections in the new folder I got last week. Then I went through the papers that had fallen out of the old folder. Most of them came from the A,B, and C sections but a few were difficult to categorize (an obituary in a recipe file?).
There are some really, really old handwritten recipes in the B’s and C’s. Bread, cake, and cookies were ever popular with my grandparents and great grandparents! I think looking at these old recipes will always take my breath away and leave me more than a little awestruck at what I’m holding. I promise, those slips of paper, ingredient lists, and vague instructions will be on here soon.
Until then Lee and I are off on a weekend visit to my aunt’s house. I can’t wait to relax by the pool and catch up with my aunt. I also have the urge to do come canning before the summer is over so hopefully I can pick up some jars on our travels.
Next week I’ll be making something using this lovely kitchen inheritance.
Does anyone want to guess what I’ll be making?
Ever since Lee and I moved into our San Francisco apartment a few weeks ago, I’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 I’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 grandmother’s recipes. The mix of newspaper clippings and ingredients scrawled on the backs of envelopes begs to be curated. Of course I’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!)