Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Joy of Family Recipes

Do you have a kitchen collection? There are so many things one could collect. Antique kitchen gadgets, silver spoons, tea strainers, crystal glassware, and more. Some things cost a pretty penny to collect! And other things are free. The free things are the best, because they usually harbor memories or bits of history. These things are priceless. Recipes that are passed down from mother to son, grandmother to granddaughter, or great-uncle to your favorite cousin are not only measurements, words, and instructions. They are also a very tangible piece of family history and lore. Additionally, taste buds can create very strong emotional responses when it comes to family recipes! Therefore, family recipes are really worth the effort it takes to gather and transcribe them.

Sometimes these recipes come with stories. In our family, some recipes immediately remind us of aunties or a grandmother who specialized in making a specific dish. And sometimes they come sprinkled with a but of humor. One of my dear aunts always baked the most delicious "crumb buns". They were a white and delicious yeast roll that was dipped in milk and then a crumb mixture of flour, vanilla, sugar, and milk before being set to rise and bake. Oh, they were so good! Dear aunt would always pack a lunch for us after a trip to visit her. She packed our lunch in colorfully painted tins, and one tin always contained a good supply of her "crumb buns". When I became a teen, I decided that I should learn to bake "crumb buns" myself. Mostly dear aunt cooked from memory, never really following a recipe in a book or card. But she was willing to assist in helping new cooks to learn, so she would carefully measure ingredients the next time she made a requested dish in order to know amounts she used. Upon my request, she mailed me a neatly typed card which contained the measurements, ingredients, and instructions for baking her famous rolls. I trusted dear aunt implicitly, not once questioning her choice of ingredients. But my "crumb buns" simply fell flat! Upon further analysis, I discovered that dear aunt and I had both left out the yeast! She on the written card, and me in the bowl! Oh dear! They were a total flop! Later, dear aunt and I would laugh over this adventure many times. She thought anyone would know to add yeast, even if she had left it out. And she was correct. I'd spent many Sunday afternoons since 4th or 5th grade, baking bread for the family's food needs for the upcoming week. I should have been experienced enough to know.

Recipes can go in notebooks, recipe boxes, computers, cookbooks, scrapbooks, and more. My recipe gathering habit has me take advantage of many methods of storage. No matter how organized and efficient one is, I suggest that at least one box be available on the kitchen counter where recipes can be "stuffed" as they are discovered or received. My box is a recipe storage container that is from the Martha Stewart line. It's a beautiful faded green and holds quite a bundle of recipe papers and cards. Someday the recipes here will go into a notebook in order to make room for the next batch of recipes collected. How do you store your recipes?


  1. Sweet post! Your recipe box is stuffed with more that recipes. It contains cherished stories and memories!

  2. Beautiful post! I love my box of handwritten recipe cards. Even when recipes have been documented on the blog. .I still often pull out the handwritten card. .just to see my dear ones handwriting once more.

  3. Love your recipe box. I use a basket, but also have three large binders. Then there are still those recipes in a pile waiting to go somewhere. It is difficult to stay on top of them.

  4. Wonderful. Love your recipe box. I've been working on my mom for a couple more recipes that we love and are missing in our files!

  5. I agree. Recipes come with the personalities of those who shared them. I can't make sour cream coffee cake without imagining my granny serving it for her pinochle gang...

    I store mine in a rectangular tin that is larger than yours making everything somewhat messier that yours! :)

    Blessings, Debbie

  6. The crumb buns sound delicious and what a cute way to store your recipes on the kitchen counter. I have many old recipes written in scribblers. The pages are stained from baking over the years but I rather like them that way.
    I spy a Rose Chintz teacup which always makes my heart sing! Have a lovely weekend.


  7. I was just thinking about the same thing yesterday while going through my old recipe box.

    I found the cookie recipe I was looking for right away (from Steph's babysitter when she was in Kindergarten!) but took the time to look through all the cards.

    So many were typed out by my MIL or written by friends. There is a lot of history in that box. :)

    Loved your post.

  8. Hello La Tea Dah...Your auntie's crumb buns sound so yummy. Never heard of them.

    Let's see. About the only kitchen collection I have is cookbooks...WAYYYYYY too many of them and they are in the living room library instead of the kitchen, because they take up about five shelves. (Compulsive, what can I say?)

    I store recipes clipped from magazines and newspaper in manilla folders in my office filing cabinet. There are two huge, fat envelopes. I love clip, clip, clipping.

    Take care and have a joyful weekend. Susan

  9. Love recipes! When I turned 50, I sent out pretty recipe cards and asked my friends and family to send back a handwritten recipe-a gift to myself.
    Love, Lady Linda

  10. These days, I am printing them out from printable recipes and putting them in a protective plastic cover and then into the notebook they go. Other handwritten ones are stored in photo albums and some are done the old-fashioned way in boxes. Once a recipe is tried, it is given a rating and the date is noted. I have been able to get rid of many, many recipes after trying them once. :D

    Your aunt's crumb buns sound wonderful and how sweet that she packed you a little lunch after visiting with her.

  11. I have several recipes that were hand written by my mom and gram...I have them framed and hanging above my stove.


Thank you for commenting on my blog post. I am always happy to hear from blog readers. Your words encourage and inspire me. I am glad you stopped by to share conversation, recipes, ideas, and thoughts on creating a welcoming home.