Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Treasures Found in Recipe Boxes

The other day I saw a really cute Pinterest pin. It was a wall decoration consisting of matted and framed old recipe cards positioned around a rolling pin. As you can only imagine; I have quite a collection of recipe cards on hand to fill the bill. I am blessed with Grandmother Gaudette's recipe box (see repost below), Andy has Blake and Blair's Nanny or Granny's recipe box and I have one other in my possession that was headed...hold on, you won't believe this...for the trash!! More on this one later.

Andy and I were gifted by Edward Johnson with a custom made rolling pin when we married. I have a terrible memory regarding which types of wood were used to make this beautiful keepsake, but I know his daughter who is a wood aficionado will read this and remind me. I'll post it on Facebook when she does. This piece is on display in my dining room, I wouldn't dream of really using it! It's far too beautiful!
One card I would display would be my Grandmother's Self-Filled Cupcake recipe. As you can see, she got the recipe from my Aunt Pauline and the year she received it was 1972. How lucky am I to have a piece of paper in my Grandma's handwriting that is over forty-four years old that has my favorite dessert recipe on it? I love looking at that familiar slant to her cursive handwriting. Once we transplanted from Connecticut to Tennessee in 1975, I saw it frequently. For you youngsters out there, it used to cost A LOT of money to make long distance phone calls and people took the time to write to each other. Long distance calls were unheard of back then! There is no other person who could write as well and frequently as my Grandmother. She continued with sending birthday cards to every single grandchild (even the greats) until she was over 100. I marvel to this day that she was so dedicated in taking the time to correspond to all as this is truly a lost art.
As I grew older and long distance phone charges were a thing of the past, my lazy self preferred to call her. I could say, "Hi Grandma!" and she knew immediately it was me calling. She'd start filling me in on what she had been up to and telling me tales of years gone by. Oh, how I wished I had her ramblings taped or written. She experienced so many things in her lifetime and was a very independent lady; marrying at an age later than most ladies did at that time. She loved her job working for Heublein who produced alcoholic beverages. She was a perfectionist and what she produced; how she kept her self and home reflected that.

She would tell me the stories about living with her Mother before she married and turning over her pay to her every week; getting money from her Mother to go to the movies and getting to splurge on hose when that was considered a luxury. She told me about the things she did and how ladies conducted themselves. I thought it was foreign to me in the 70s and girls today couldn't imagine it.
As I was digging through her dark green recipe box, I noticed that she had two copies of "Southern Pork Chops." As a gal who considers the South her true home; I can't imagine this recipe being considered "Southern." However, if you download the recipe book link below, you can get the whole recipe and test it yourself.

What I love, cherish, and appreciate the most is that in 2006, she felt she needed to rewrite the recipe and mark the original as "old copy." My Grandmother passed away in 2011 just a few months shy of being 104. At 99, she felt the need to preserve the record. God Love her!
The above wooden treasure box would yield Blake's favorite Blueberry Salad and one of her fabulous punch recipes. Specifically Golden Glow Punch. 
Andy can never remember if Nanny had the Precious Moments cookbook and Granny had the wooden box. The wooden box has all the recipes typed up. He thinks his late sister Linda typed all of the recipes. We think the Blueberry Salad recipe originated with Granny. There is a hand-written copy in the Precious Moments cookbook, so that may be a clue.
Last, but not least, is the recipe box that was headed for the trash. Call me a sentimental fool, but how can anyone throw away a treasure trove like this? My Mother does not possess nor can she find any of her recipes and Grandma Albert's, if she ever had one, can not be located among any of my family members. That is probably why I treasure these as I do.
Several years ago we were merging the newspaper with the printing company I worked for. Months went by after the move and we had pallets of stuff nobody wanted. Myself and several others painstakingly went through and decided what needed to be kept. There were awards, records, negatives, etc. I came across a stack of cookbooks and this recipe file. Nobody wanted it and it was headed for the trash. I asked for and got permission to keep all items pertaining to cooking. This box had belonged to Zane, the former Society editor. A lot of what was in the box was not what you would find in Grandma's box.

I love how this is organized...Lunch menus...Like and Dislike...Meat and Substitutes and her Sauces and Salad Dressing section is to die for. One of these days I'm going to find the time to go through the box and start fixing some of these new to me dishes.
There was one last collection that was diverted from the dumpster. This was put together and sold by Mrs. Edith H. Locke from Lynnville, Tennessee. It was not dated but it is the most precious, loving gesture made for her sons. According to her dedication, she did this as she did not have a daughter to pass on the lessons her Mother gave to her.

It is a compilation that is so incredible I am in awe everytime I get it out and look at it. I practically weep as I go through each page thinking of the amount of time and effort she put into this one-of-a-kind cookbook. She has sayings, poems, recipes, household hints, etc. all hand-written with absolutely darling drawings, scrolls and ornaments hand-drawn by her to accent each page...all 231 of them.

I have no idea how old this book is and I don't know any of her family, but I'm thankful she took the time to create this treasure. I'm equally relieved someone at the paper had a copy they were willing to throw away and I was on hand to rescue it.

My electronic cookbook is a modern version of what I want to leave behind for my family. One day when Andy and I are both gone, I hope they will think of something we fixed for them and be as thankful for what was left behind...an easily searchable electronic version and binders and boxes full of hand-written recipes when they have time to enjoy the memories we made.

Read more about my Grandmother Eva Garneau Gaudette

***Reposted from "About Me"*** 

January 2011 marked the end of an era when I lost my Grandmother Gaudette. Had she lived until April of that year, she would have been 104. She was a very independent lady who lived on her own in relatively good health until the last few months of her life. She was a wonderful baker of desserts. I did not inherit that gene. My memories of eating at her house included what seemed to be a seven course meal for all meals and "coffee milk." The table was always properly set and she was always dressed for the occasion

 Grandma Eva (celebrating 100) was a very classy lady who had so much joy and spirit.
With gratitude, I inherited her recipe file. When my Aunt Pauline sent it to me, I couldn't wait to open it! There were some specific recipes I was hoping to find. Sadly, they weren't there. I guess when you live long enough to cook something that many times, you don't need a record of everything you've fixed.  

To help share this family treasure, I created a cookbook with all of her recipes as a Christmas gift to my family. Click here to download a pdf of this book for your own personal use. It is in booklet page format so you can print it out, put the pages back to back, staple and fold.
(That's the printer in me speaking!)

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