Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Project in the Making: My Grandmother's Recipe Book

For years I've had an idea for a very special project brewing in my mind. I posted about it last winter. My project outline is something like this:

  1. Get my hands on my grandmother's recipe book.
  2. Cook all the recipes in it (and take pictures of the process).
  3. Create a proper cookbook out of it using Blurb or Tastebook and give them as gifts to my family members.
In all honesty, I visualized this whole project based on nothing more than a glimpse of the overstuffed, disintegrating recipe book when I was young; memories of some of my grandmother's tasty dishes; and family conversation about the gourmet meals she was known for. I had no real recollection of what the book, this stuff of family legend, actually looked like.

When it was brought up from Tennessee for me this summer by the most reliable of couriers (Thanks Mom!), and I carefully, reverently, leafed through the pages, what I found was far more than a recipe book.

The leather-bound book, as it turns out, belonged first to my great-grandmother and begins with a clipping that she pasted in:

1920. 88 years ago this collection of recipes was begun. Sticking out between the pages of pasted-in clippings and scrawled measurements were thank you notes, shopping lists, and even a drawing done in a sweet child's hand; a note from my aunt to her grandma, my great-grandmother.

I was suddenly in awe of the history I held in my hands, terrified of tearing the brittle, crumbling pages, or of causing this new-found treasure to disintegrate altogether. How could I even flip through the book, much less cook the recipes from it? So I kept it in a padded envelope for a month. Safe. Protected.

Still, I could not resist the charm of its whimsical drawings and the very intriguing recipes I came across. I mean, something called "Knock 'em Dead Pie" is clearly just begging to be made.

So, I won't hold back any longer. This is it. I am embarking on Project Recipe Book. I'll be sharing regular updates here, and likely asking for suggestions as I attempt to decipher recipes and track down ingredients. It will take time, I know. Grandmother had a lot of recipes. Wish me luck.

59 comments:

limonana said...

this is INCREDIBLE!!!! such an incredible piece of beautiful family history...:o) good luck on this adventure, can't wait to see the final product...

Mary-Laure said...

How fabulous! I love the retro look of the book and can't wait to see more of your project.

cinnamon gurl said...

Wow, that's amazing! What a treasure.

Ashkon said...

So you will need a taste tester right? This is a brilliant project,

amy said...

wooohooo! we'll be cheering and supporting you through this process! I can't wait to see what you make first, but knock'em dead pie sounds like a pretty good place to start to me!

carrie said...

that sounds like such an amazing way to connect with your great grandmother!

raining sheep said...

This is so wonderful, incredible. Wow. What a beautiful treasure and what a fun project this is going to be. The recipe book is truly to be treasured forever.

Elizabeth said...

Limonana - I know, I'm really excited (but I'm afraid it's going to be ages before I have a final product!)

Mary-Laure - Thanks for visiting and stay tuned for updates!

Cinnamon Gurl - It really is a treasure.

Ash - Taste tester definitely needed. Are you applying?

Amy - I will invite you over for some Knock 'em Dead Pie!

Carrie - You're right, I already do feel I'm connecting with my both my grandmother and great-grandmother through this project.

Raining Sheep - I think it will be great fun too, I can't wait!

Shannalee || Food Loves Writing said...

THAT is beautiful. It actually brought tears to my eyes!

I've had this on my mind for some time now, the lives people lead and the ways those lives are documented. Reading through my grandmother's recipes, I get chills sometimes, realizing new parts of her life I hadn't remembered or known. I can't wait to hear more about this.

Vanessa Voss said...

what a cool thing to have in your hands. so precious! I love all the illustrations and the notes. how exciting it must of been to go through it for the first time. I loved reading the intro note :) This is a great project idea. I'll stay tuned to see it all unfold!

Claire, said...

This is wonderful! I wish I had such a sentimental and tasty project to work on. I look forward to seeing how this recipe project goes.
Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving kind comments. And I saw you 'won' pay it forward, me too. I'll post about mine next week, fun idea.
Have a great weekend.

Elizabeth said...

Shannalee - It's so true. And cooking can be such a personal thing, I really feel I'm getting to know my grandmother in a different way through this project.

Vanessa - It WAS such a thrill to go through it the first time. Like looking back in time!

Claire - Thanks for visiting. Isn't Pay it Forward a fun idea? Look forward to seeing your post.

Aran said...

oh wow... that is fantastic!

a friend to knit with said...

oh my gosh......what a treasure you hold.
enjoy every moment of this journey!

Elizabeth said...

Aran - Thanks for visiting!

A Friend to Knit With - I know, I can't wait!

Robin said...

What a wonderful project!
I hope you will share the recipe for "Knock 'em Dead Pie"! :)

Elizabeth said...

Robin - If it really does "knock 'em dead," I absolutely will! :)

Angry Asian said...

elizabeth -
this is such a great project, i am so excited for you! i'm most looking forward to reading up on your adventure in cooking your grandmother's recipes... you're so lucky that you actually hold a piece of history in your hands. :)

have lots of fun!!!

Here, There, Elsewhere... and more said...

Beautiful beyond words - can't wait to find out more..:)

Jen said...

Oh wow! What a fun project you are embarking on. I love the book.

Teal Chic said...

Wow, you are so lucky to have inherited this! I can't wait to read more about it!!!! Thanks for the comment, and for visiting my blog! :)

carolina bleu said...

lovely

Elizabeth said...

Angry Asian - I know, I'm so excited, it really does feel like a piece of history.

Here, There - Thanks! More to come soon...

Jen - Isn't the book cool cool? Wish I could find one like that to put my recipes in. :)

Teal Chic - Thanks for visiting, stay tuned for updates!

Carolina Bleu - Thanks!

Nathalie Thompson said...

Lucky you for having this incredible altered (already!) cookbook! My grandmother never wrote recipes down. They were all in her head. Probably why I love finding old cookbooks or even an old tin of clipped recipes at yard sales and the like. You HAVE to make the "knock 'em dead" pie first!!!!

vana chupp said...

the images of that old recipe book and all the kiddy drawings in it are amazing...Your new project is super special and I can't wait to see how it turns out. Thanks for stopping by my blog the other day.

springtreeroad said...

oh, i am green with envy! bright, emerald green! i am so looking forward to seeing how this progresses.

if you want to send me some recipes, i'd be happy to help you out. tee hee. ;)

Elizabeth said...

Nathalie - I am totally making Knock 'em Dead pie as soon as possible!

Vana - Thanks for visiting. Aren't those little kiddy drawings such classics? I find them so charming!

Springtree Road - Hmm, I may take you up on that offer!

Tartelette said...

That is fantastic! The book sis absolutely brilliant with a touch of mystique! Sounds like an awesome project!

Elizabeth said...

Thanks Tartlette!

nathalie said...

this is an amazing idea! how much history and homecooked goodness must be in these books. you go girl! i can't wait to see the finished product! hugs!

Jeremy said...

Looks amazing! Good luck!

Bonbon Oiseau said...

this is so exciting elizabeth and an awesome idea...i can't wait to see and hear more! let me know if you need some tasters please!...

Angie said...

This is a fantastic idea! You're so lucky you are able to do this. What a wonderful heirloom!

Elizabeth said...

Nathalie - There's tons of crazy 40s and 50s recipes in this book. Can't wait to try them!

Jeremy - Thanks J! I'm sure I'll be bringing some of these experiments to your potlucks!

Bonbon Oiseau - I'll be sure to give you a heads up! ;)

Angie - It is an heirloom, I'd better be careful with it!

Camille said...

Wow, wow, wow! What a fantastic family treasure. You are so lucky!

I can't wait to see your posts for project recipe book.

ana dane said...

what a treasure- i can't wait to hear more about the recipes you uncover.

one of my favorite cookbooks was from an old family friend of my grandfather's, from 1939. it's a trip to read through it- but doesn't have nearly the sentimental value that this collection does. savor it!

Elizabeth said...

Camille - I know! Such excitement ahead...

Ana - I bet there was some great stuff in that '39 cookbook!

Knitsonya said...

What an incredible piece of history. It makes me extremely curious where my grandmother's recipe book went to, must go ask may dad. What a brilliant and inspirational project!

please sir said...

Such an amazing concept - how wonderful!

Mrs.French said...

A treasure! I will be following this project faithfully!

LollyChops said...

Hi Elizabeth... thanks for posting on my blog! I'll let you know how everything turns out. I still have two spots open so if you know anyone who wants to get in on the pay it forward goodness - send them my way!

Hope you have a terrific week!

LollyChops

ThePeachTree said...

Awesome :) I hope you'll continue to show us updates as you go along!!

Fifi Flowers said...

Great book... how WONDERFUL! There is a book written by the author of Chocolat called "Six Quarters of An Orange" it's about a recipe book inherited... very interesting!

Amy said...

That's amazing! I'm completely inspired. Wow. What a wonderful treasure you have. I'm bookmarking you right now and I can't wait for the updates on the project.

MyCozyCreations said...

Wow! What a treasure you have!! Have fun making all of the recipes!

Elizabeth said...

Knitsonya - Yes, ask your dad! You never know what fun things might be in there...

Please Sir - Thanks, and thanks for visiting!

Mrs. French - I'm so glad you're staying tuned. My first recipe trial is going to be this weekend!

Lollychops - Please do keep me posted! And I'll send people your way.

thepeachtree - Absolutely!

fifi flowers - Sounds like a really interesting book. Thanks for the recommendation!

Amy - Thanks for visiting and bookmarking me!

Mycozycreations - Thanks for visiting...I think the project will be a lot of fun.

MIMILEE said...

WHAT precious memories all bundle up in one little book! How blessed you are to have been left with such a wonderful legacy!

I also have my grandmother's recipe book which is tattered, torn and stained by her flour covered fingers and I wouldn't trade it for any amount of money.

Thanks for sharing!

Best Regards,
MIMILEE<><

Sabrina said...

That book is a treasure indeed! how lucky of you to have inherited this piece of family history. Can't wait to see how the project turns out.

thetinylittlegirl said...

oh wow! great project, i wish you the very best of luck!

Bonbon Oiseau said...

wow--you want to hear something weird...my mom just found my grandmother's recipe book as well..all in German...if i could read German, i'd do it with you, but alas..i'll send you pics soon!

jessamyn said...

Oh this is so lovely!
Just stopping in to say hello and I am completely captivated by this history and project you are undertaking. What a brilliant idea!
How are you today?

Elizabeth said...

mimilee - Thanks for stopping by. I'd love to see pictures of your grandmother's book too!

sabrina - Thanks! I'll be trying out the first item this weekend!

thetinylittlegirl - Thanks, I'll need some luck for some of these recipes to turn out!

bonbonoiseau - How FUN! Please do share pics!

jessamyn - Thanks for your sweet comment. I'm well today, how about you my dear?

bee said...

i am so looking forward to this. that book has so much personality and history!!!

priscilla said...

That is such a blessed feeling!

looking forward to read more about the Knock them dead pie.

Me said...

What a treasure....my Mother has several of these floating around of my Grandmothers too....not disimilar to yours at all...I'm sure they will come into my permanent safekeeping at some stage too...for now i just borrow. Your idea is fabulous!

Chessa said...

I love this. love.

molly said...

that pasting of the quotes in books or on notecards seems to be a generation (or two or three) ago. my grandmother did that in her books and left in her drawers, too. i love that. what a great idea, too. it'll be amazing as you go thru the project. don't give yourself a time limit, enjoy. maybe you'll even find yourself jotting down some notes in the book...

reyhani said...

incredible!!!

ric said...

色色網,色遊戲,自拍,本土自拍,kk俱樂部,後宮電影院,後宮電影,85cc免費影城,85cc免費影片,免費影片,免費小遊戲,免費遊戲,小遊戲,遊戲,好玩遊戲,好玩遊戲區,A片,情趣用品,遊戲區,史萊姆好玩遊戲,史萊姆,遊戲基地,線上遊戲,色情遊戲,遊戲口袋,我的遊戲口袋,小遊戲區,手機遊戲,貼圖,A片下載,成人影城,愛情公寓,情色貼圖,情色,色情網站,色情遊戲,色情小說,情色文學,色情,aio交友愛情館,色情影片,臺灣情色網,寄情築園小遊戲,情色論壇,嘟嘟情人色網,情色視訊,愛情小說,言情小說,一葉情貼圖片區,情趣用品,情趣,色情漫畫,情色網,情色a片,情色遊戲,85cc成人片,嘟嘟成人網,成人網站,18成人,成人影片,成人交友網,成人貼圖,成人圖片區,成人圖片,成人文章,成人小說,成人光碟,微風成人區,免費成人影片,成人漫畫,成人文學,成人遊戲,成人電影,成人論壇,成人,做愛,aio,情色小說,ut聊天室,ut聊天室,豆豆聊天室,聊天室,尋夢園聊天室