Readers here know I love handwritten recipes and the way they reveal clues about their owners. Molly MacRae shares some details about her stash in this delightful post. -AA
In September, I shared some of the treasures from the stationery box of clippings and handwritten recipes my grandmother collected between 1901 and 1914. The box is full of intriguing hints about her kitchen and her life, and I feel incredibly lucky to have it. So can you imagine my surprise and delight when I opened the present my sister gave me for my birthday a few weeks ago? First, the present was enclosed in a really snazzy red plastic portfolio. If you love office supplies, like I love office supplies, you know how I feel about that portfolio. LOVE IT. But the beauty of that bright red portfolio pales beside the sheaf of yellowed ledger pages inside it. On the pages are more handwritten recipes and neatly glued clippings from Granny – and from her mother. It’s so cool. And difficult to read, but that makes it even cooler, to my mind.
There are pages of fish recipes, sauce and pickle recipes, cake recipes, and pudding recipes – many of which I’ll be happy to try (or try to decipher) – but there’s also a buried treasure. Glued to a corner of one of the pudding pages is a clipping for Delicate Pudding. Granny rewrote the recipe’s name, above the clipping, in her own delicate hand. The recipe is from Mrs. H.J. Pepper of 509 W. Park Street in Champaign, Illinois. Granny didn’t live in Champaign. She never did. But more than a hundred years later, I do, and I live about eight blocks from where Mrs. Pepper lived. Her Delicate Pudding sounds good, too, so I’ll definitely give it a try. And wasn’t her name perfect for someone who liked to cook?