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Several years ago, I found myself in possession of my grandmother’s “recipe box.” This box is no ordinary recipe box that holds 3×5 index cards — this is a Tupperware box measuring 12 inches square and six inches tall. My grandmother called this Tupperware container her “breadbox.” Rightfully named, because I remember her always keeping a loaf of bread and a large box of Saltine crackers in the box. I do not know what the folks at Tupperware designed the box for, but it made a great breadbox. When she moved into an assisted living facility, her many handwritten recipes, newspaper clippings, and a notebook containing her favorite recipes were loaded into the “breadbox” for safekeeping.
I knew that I wanted to do something with her recipes. My grandmother was born in 1916, married and became a homemaker in rural Mississippi, and became part of The Greatest Generation. True to her depression upbringing, I do not recall her ever owning a published cookbook, only the notes, and clippings that she accumulated over the years. Sure she collected the occasional church publication or the homemaker’s club cookbook, but she became a fantastic cook without the help of Betty Crocker or Fanny Farmer. You will not find a recipe for Beef Wellington or Trout Almandine among her collection, but you will find recipes for simple, down-home, comfort food.
My first thought was to scan the images and create a family cookbook to share with my family. I started that process several years ago, but I did not get far before I put the project to the side. I would recall the project from time to time, but I never made the time to resume progress. Several months ago, I had the thought that I should adjust my plan to create a family cookbook and scan the images and share them online, with my family and the entire interwebs.
I am currently working on scanning and transposing my grandmother’s handwritten recipes first; then I will move on to the numerous newspaper clippings in the collection. During this process, I have realized that the handwritten recipe collection is one of the simplest forms of vernacular art produced. A creation formed out of functional needs to document and organize a cook’s favorite recipes, long before Pinterest. I have a newfound appreciation for the “recipe collection” art form. I have begun collecting other collections, and I plan on sharing them with you as well. Not only will I share the recipes, but I will share any information about the original owner that I can obtain.
If you find yourself in possession of a large recipe box and would like to share them on this site, please leave me a message here.