My grandmother organized her recipes and newspaper clippings alphabetically. It seems appropriate to start with the Aâ€™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 Bâ€™s and Câ€™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 Iâ€™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 auntâ€™s house. I canâ€™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 Iâ€™ll be making something using this lovely kitchen inheritance.
Does anyone want to guess what Iâ€™ll be making?
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!)