You may not know that the month of March is designated as Women's History Month. I want to start the celebration by sharing a special family recipe. Recipes can become the most beloved of heirlooms and are so easy to collect and pass down. The perfect addition to a hope chest!
Memories of food are especially compelling and there is something very affecting about owning a handwritten recipe from a mother or grandmother. It actually doesn't even need to be from their hand. The ability to recreate the process, the aroma and especially the taste of an associated food is enough to evoke a heartwarming memory. If you are a cook or if you have ever loved a cook, family recipes are priceless!
My great grandmother, like most grandmothers, had a recipe for sugar cookies. I think this recipe is probably not particularly special, as sugar cookies go, but the whole family, especially her many grandchildren, loved these cookies. I'm told the lemony flavor (which grandma writes in the recipe almost as an afterthought) was especially delightful. Although I know her only through stories, Great Grandma Anderson was a nurturer and nothing else quite says love and care as a cookie from grandma! But this is also true of a holiday meal or a birthday cake or some other memorable food.
I want Miss Abigail to have our special family recipes. This kind of project does take a little time. It can be tedious to copy out handwritten recipes or even to type them. I've been working on this a little at a time. You may remember that I created a recipe booklet for our Thanksgiving recipes. And Abigail has this recipe book from the club ladies in her hope chest. I'm currently trying to make a larger binder with other everyday recipes that Abigail enjoys. There is a handwritten recipe for yeast dinner rolls from another grandmother who was quite famous for her rolls, and the recipe for our Sunday Night Chocolate Chip Cookies.
If you have an heirloom recipe, be sure document and write the history to go with it. Then share it as widely as possible with those who will treasure the memories it brings. I regularly read a lovely blog called My Ancestors and Me, written by a friend who has a wonderful knack for telling her family stories. She often shares heritage family recipes, but Nancy recently shared the simple story of one recipe that has become special to her family. This post illustrates how easy it is for a recipe to become a heirloom.
|handwritten recipe - Marian Bell Anderson (1864-1942)|
Just a note about preservation. The recipe pictured above is written on a newsprint-like paper that is literally now falling apart. The handwriting is almost illegible on the paper copy, but I was able to improve that in the digitized copy. I think the paper may be a page from an old school notebook. My father kept his grandmother's recipe in a "banker's" box with his other treasures. I photocopied the recipe onto acid free paper to have a working copy in my files and digitized the document as well so that it can be shared. I now keep the original recipe unmounted with a stiff buffered paper to support it in a mylar sleeve and store it in the dark. Do any of you have handwritten recipes from special members of your family?