The Recipe Book

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While I know where this recipe book comes from — my mother — the handwriting is both hers and her parents. She put this together in preparation for marriage and her future role as a housewife, and she continued adding to it for about 15 years. The first recipes come from her mother, father and my mother’s grandmother. Newer ones were from magazines, newspapers and friends.

2021-04-10 Basement Archeology, Bright, Content, Document, Image type, Other, Photography, Projects, Sepia Tones, Still life, Text, recipe

The book is organized into two sections. Starting from the front, are recipes for cakes, and cookies. Most of the latter are for Christmas Cookies. Both my grandmothers would start to prepare 5 – 10 different types of cookies in December and store them in tin boxes until Christmas. They would be served on a nice china plate, covered with a doily, for dessert. Starting from the back, are recipes for dinners, salads and side dishes.

The stains on the pages are evidence of use. The curtness of the recipes, the focus on ingredients, rather than procedure, suggest an aide-mémoir to confirm all ingredients had been added, and the absence of procedure suggest she knew how to cook. Tacit knowledge.

The mix of German and English, of measurement systems (metric and British), and weight vs. volume, show both our heritage, but also an acculturation process underway.


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