Thursday, June 03, 2010

The Summer Project

Wow, I guess it's been awhile since I've posted. We were gone over the holiday weekend, and my computer was out having something done to it--I'm not sure what--but now it's back. I've got stuff to post about the girls' last day of school and our beginning of summer, but first I've got to tell you about my summer project.

It kind of started before Christmas, when I wrote out a list of my favorite things my mom makes and asked her to write them out on recipe cards for me. There's just something about having stuff written by hand, at least in my opinion. Fortunately, I've got piles of notes from her to me, birthday cards, Valentine's, letters she wrote to me at summer camp and when I was in college. So now I wanted the recipes, because, while I love the Food Network and Barefoot Contessa and Pioneer Woman, and, etc., there is nothing like the food your mom or grandma or aunt or friend makes.

Mom went out and bought some cards and got started on the project but then was unable to finish. She did as much as she could, so I'll try to fill in the rest.

First, I got her recipe box that sat on her kitchen counter her whole married life. It was my grandma's.

It has a lot of my grandma's recipes in it, including this one, which is a dessert we would eat every Christmas Day. Now, my grandma did not write her recipes by hand--she was a secretary extraordinaire, and all her recipes are typed, before the days of computers of course. Can't you just picture her at an old-fashioned Royale or Underwood typewriter, typing out her recipes?

I also grabbed this book that many of my mom's famous recipes come from, including her legendary apple pie, the birthday cake she made for my dad every year (German chocolate maraschino cherry. Are you hungry yet?), and the cutout Christmas cookies she always makes. They're called Santa Claus cookies, and they are the only recipe my mom guards and doesn't really like to give out. Therefore, I did not take a picture of the recipe and post it on the Internet. She got this cookbook right after she got married, in 1966, from the company where she and my dad bought their gas stove. It has these fantastical instructions, such as, "Set dial on 'burner with a brain' to heat to 250 degrees." As you can see, it's been used. A lot.

I also went through my own recipe files. At one of my wedding showers, my mom wrote down any number of my favorite recipes with little notes written at the top.

Here are a few treasures from inside the recipe box. Popovers, which I can practically taste as I'm typing this. Mom would serve these with butter and homemade plum jam.

I love this one...Bread (for those who can't make bread). It's as if she wrote that knowing me before I was even born.

I also found some handwritten notes in my files that she's given me over the years.

Here's one that she wrote out most recently: Friendship Cookies--Manga's Cookies for Her Girls. Every time I make these, I will picture her in the kitchen with Lucy and Elaine. They made these together almost every time we went over to her house.

Besides these recipes from my mom and grandma, I have some from my Aunt Nancy, my Aunt Alice, and my Aunt Sandy. I've got ones from my mom's friends, Barbara, Nita, Muriel, June, Annette, Alice, and more--all women who love me and have watched me grow up.

I'll be putting all of these into a book, along with some of my own and some for a new generation, including Lucy's Applesauce Bread and Elaine's Eclair Cake.

I want some help from my friends, too--so, send me your recipes. And by that I mean, get a card, write it out by hand, and drop it in the mail to me (if you have to type it, it better be on an upright, portable typewriter). When I open up the book to make something good for my family, I want to be reminded of you. Better yet, you could come over with it in hand and have tea with me--I'll make popovers!

I'll also be taking ideas for what to call this book--The Holy Grail of Food doesn't quite sound right, so I welcome your thoughts.

Happy eating...and writing!


Katie said...

I love this idea! I have to think of my best one to send.

BTW - after reading this I'm feeling VERY special. Guess why

Alice said...

I KNOW why, Katie! You, I believe, are the only person outside the immediate family who has ever received the Santa Claus cookie recipe. Did you make them this year?

The Farmer's Wife said...

What treasures! What riches! I have some recipes from my grandma and Mom and friends that I cherish, too. And one of my favorite things to look for in second-hand stores is old cookbooks with notations and remarks. It makes me sad that they don't have a home, and besides, I think it's great to know that someone had prize winning pickles at the 1958 Yellowstone County Fair once they made "adjustments" to the recipe.

If I were to make a cookbook/treasury like that, I'd call it "Hand-me-downs".

Katie said...

It's kind of like being part of a very exclusive club! That recipe is now a part of my Christmas cookie repertoire. Love them so much. I hope Jack remembers the year he decorated some with her. It was so sweet.

Melanie said...

Love this! Thanks for posting so many of the cards - I love seeing old recipe cards and cookbooks! I'll have to discipline myself and pay attention to what I throw in my spaghetti sauce - I've never written it down but it's soo good. That's about the only original recipe I'd be able to share. You'll have to take some pics of the food made from these recipes to throw in your book. Very excited to hear follow-ups on your summer project!

Becky said...

How special! I'm going to have to do this. When I taught history at Grace Reformed, I had the kids do a family heritage project. One of their choices was to do a family cookbook like this. I got some really great ones from several of the girls (which I photocopied). One girl scrapbooked the recipes in with some old family photos.

I wish I could stop in for popovers...but I'll try to find a recipe to mail anyway.

Heather said...

what a great idea! I love the handwritten part too.. I so have a box just like you are talking about with such great memories attached. I will have to email you to get your address, as I'd love to help you out! in the meantime, have you seen my recipe collecting blog...