Quite a few years ago, my mother-in-law gave me two recipe boxes full of recipes that she had found at the local thrift store (or possibly the dump, I forget which). I think they were from two different households. One contained a good many handwritten old-world type recipes; if I remember right, they were German or Austrian. At the time, I was appalled. How could anyone throw away their family recipes?
Now, I find myself facing a very similar situation in my own life. In clearing out my childhood home, I have found more recipe boxes than I would ever have thought one kitchen could hold. That red recipe box in the photo, for example, is one that my mother put together for her high school home economics class! My mom had actually given me that one some years ago.
I imagine you might like to see what sort of recipes are in that red box. I, too, was interested in what a high school girl in the 1940s might choose for a home ec project. Some, I think, were recipes that she and her family might have used, like this one:
So quite a few recipes in the box seem like they could have been used in the family kitchen or copied from relatives. But for certain categories she resorted to this:
But, as mentioned, there were other recipe boxes in my mom's kitchen as well. I'm sure I've remarked before that it is not just my parents' stuff which I am clearing out. There are items from both of my grandmothers, at least one great-aunt, my sister, and one of my brothers. All of the ladies in this list had recipe boxes, and some of them had several.
The sugar cookie recipe below is from my aunt, but it's in my mom's printing. My mother must have copied it out for my sister, who had one recipe box devoted just to Christmas recipes. And she was pretty specific with the directions! I guess she needed to be, as this would have been when my sister moved to her own apartment a couple of hours away.
The recipe for pickles below is one that I copied from my grandmother's files as a young homemaker with a prolific garden. It's perfect for those big yellow cucumbers that ripen before you find them.
The Date Cake recipe below came from one of my mother's recipe files, but it was her grandmother's recipe, as you can see from the very old-fashioned handwriting and the skimpy directions. This date cake was a Thanksgiving and Christmas tradition at my Grandmother's house. It's baked in a loaf -- and my Gram always frosted it thickly with a white butter frosting and decorated the top with a row of walnut halves.
|My Gram in her kitchen in the 1950s|
Even today I find myself saving recipes, although I seldom use my recipe box anymore. I have many copied into books or stored in photo albums, and those have been the ones I've used the most. Recently I put my most-used recipes printed from the internet into a huge binder, pictured below, and I turn to that often. I also have a recipe folder on my computer desktop. Clearly, this recipe saving trait is hereditary -- and possibly incurable.
Wondering what became of those two recipe-filled boxes from the dump? I must admit that I finally did come to the place of throwing them away. They had become dust-covered and were just disgusting. I knew that I would never use them, so I tossed them. I still feel badly that someone's family recipes were thrown away, but they were not my problem. My own family recipes are another story, and I'm still figuring out a happy ending to that one.