The Oregon Book Report - Book News from Oregon

Treasure Your Family Recipes

October 5, 2011

By Erika Weisensee, Oregon Mom

Tucked inside our cookbooks and recipe boxes, maybe even stuffed in drawers or boxes, are precious pieces of our family history. The recipes of our mothers and grandmothers, of our aunts and other loved ones, provide much more than delicious homemade food. Old recipes tell us a bit about how people lived, ate and celebrated. We may not have known the generations that came before us.  Yet, when cooking their food, we connect to our roots in a unique way.

If you have the opportunity to look through old recipes that belong to your family, I highly recommend it.  Recently, I took the time to browse through my grandmother’s meticulously organized recipe box, which is now in my mother’s safekeeping. I found a few treasures, like her sugar cookie recipe and a “gum drop cake” recipe made by her mother, my great-grandmother. I saw dozens of others recipes for things I will never try to repeat, but looking at them was pure entertainment.

Here are some ideas for preserving and sharing your family recipes:

–  Ask members of your family (sisters and cousins for instance) to share favorite recipes they’ve inherited from family members. And ask those who share recipes to also share special memories associated with the dish.

– Make a book of those recipes and share them with your family.  A family recipe book would be a meaningful gift for numerous occasions, including bridal showers.

– Keep old recipes in a special place. You may want to put them in a good quality photo album or scrapbook with plastic sleeves that cover the original documents. Make photocopies of recipes and keep them in a separate location.

– If family members have really special recipes that they are known for, watch, observe and takes notes as they make their special dish. Following the recipe is not quite like learning in person from the source.

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Discuss this article

Tina October 5, 2011

Great way to mix up dinners. Yum yum.

Leona Atkinson October 5, 2011

You are so right, I had recipes I treasured because they were in the handwriting of my now deceased sister when she was in Home Ec.class at high school and one my mother wrote out for me a few years before she passed. Unfortunately, the last time I moved, those treasured recipes along with some old favorite cookbooks, got put into the wrong box and either ended up going to Goodwill or to the trash. Heartbreaking! Your article is a good reminder to keep treasures like that in a safe place.
Thanks for sharing!

Robin Flowers October 5, 2011

I think of the thinsg we pass down never get used. A family recipie is one thing that adds emmroies to that special tradition.

Gina October 6, 2011

Laminate those recipies, so they do not get damaged.

Alice Gardner October 6, 2011

Better, yet get them on the computer

Mimi October 6, 2011

As the mother of two boys I’ve already been making a recipe book for my future daughters-in-law. After 20 years of trial and error cooking I realized how wonderful this would have been if it were provided for me! As I repeatedly make things we love, I type them into the computer and simply drop them in a file called recipes. Nothing could be simpler! Thanks for the reminder of this wonderful topic.

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