So you may have noticed when you wandered over to my little nook of the blogosphere that there is a tab up there at the top labeled “heirloom recipes”. This is something I’m so excited to share with ya’ll – an interest turned collection turned obsession of mine that all started with one cookbook.
When I was in my last year of culinary school, I drafted an outline for a senior thesis focusing on my family history and (of course) food. The trip that this little assignment took me on was definitely unexpected, and resulted in much more than a paper. My grandma was my tour guide, and as she helped me unearth more and more information, our relationship changed. She dealt with daily phone calls and emails, she let me stay over and dirty her kitchen as I tested recipes, and she gave me so many treasured family food heirlooms. She became one of my best friends.
This is one of the many things she gave me during that time. I had always seen it on her shelf, and assumed it was her copy of The Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. Turns out, it was her mother’s copy of The BHG Cookbook. She gave it to me not long after a close friend had given me my own (2005) copy as a graduation gift. It was clearly well-used – it’s falling apart and is barely held together by that pink twine you see underneath it. We flipped through the pages together, laughing as we saw some recipes were almost identical, while some were completely different. The best part were all the paperclipped, taped, and stapled in additions from my great-grandma. Recipes from magazines and newspapers, handwritten notes to herself, even letters from other family members.
Left: My great-grandma Stella’s signature on the title page of her ’49 BHG Cookbook;
Top Right: A letter from my grandma to her mother about Easter plans and ordering cuts of beef from a local farmer paper clipped inside the “Meat” section;
Bottom Right: A magazine clipping all about meatballs.
As part of my new blog, I want to look at these old (or as I like to call them – heirloom) recipes on a regular basis. This one book made me start collecting other old cookbooks and recipes and I love looking at them and testing them. It’s amazing how many are classic – work perfectly and should be brought back to the surface. Others are a bit dated – but with a few tweaks, I find that they are still very much suited to our dinner tables today.
So I wanted to use this cookbook to introduce ya’ll to the upcoming series of heirloom recipes I’ll be featuring on the blog. In addition, if you have any recipes you’d like to share with me or have shared on the blog, just shoot me an email – we can work together to test, develop, or simply showcase a recipe that intrigues you. In the meantime, stay tuned!