Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Recipe Cards Memories

I am firmly in the camp of recipe cards and recipe boxes.

There I have said it and I won't take it back. Neener, neener neener. I have dabbled in an electronic "recipe box" and chronicled about it here. But after seeing the light I went back to the "old ways".

As I was looking through my recipe box the other day it struck me that this simple box that my father refinished for me before my marriage low those many years ago is a repository of memories. That is just what it is.

There are many 3x5 cards in there that hold recipes that I have found over the years. They are favorites and I use them on occasion. They see the light of day occasionally when I am in the mood for one thing or another. I rarely keep recipes that I don't like. I weed those out. So the cards that are in the box are all ones that have been tested and approved.

But then there is, in the box, a special breed of recipe card. You can tell them right away.
They are the cards that are just a bit tattered. They have stains on them and perhaps the occasional "crinkle". They are worn, they are loved, they are special. They are usually special for a specific reason and that reason is often times tied to a person or an event.

This is my recipe for "Oriental Beef Salad". I will say right off the bat that this is yummy, oh so yummy. It originated from another recipe that The Chef (my SIL) whipped up one time when we were all together at The Cottage. Have I ever written about The Cottage? I will have to check. At any rate, the card is tattered, stained, well loved. It is a recipe that my daughters ask for whenever they are home. If I lost this card I would be up a creek without the proverbial paddle because the original recipe has been changed and adapted over the years.

This is my pancake recipe. As you can see it is stapled to another 3x5 card. Why is that you might be asking yourself? Well you see, years ago, my mother wrote the recipe out for me. I wanted the recipe in her handwriting. And I used the card so much over the years when the progeny were growing up that the ink faded and was stained and covered with all manner of things. So, I had her write it out again. But I didn't want to get rid of the first card so I stapled them together.

Another recipe that originated from The Chef. I have a fair number of these I can tell you because she really is a chef and she REALLY is a good cook. Notice the crinkled appearance of the card. It gets a lot of use, although I know the recipe by heart now. But when someone asks for the recipe I just get the card out and make a photocopy. I am lazy. I remember exactly where I was when I first had the deliciousness that is "Jana's DooDads". We were having dinner at Pilot Man and The Chef's house and she put these lovelies on the table. See, the memory goes with the card. But ignore the fact that I cannot seem to spell "Worcestershire sauce".

This is "Seafoam Salad". It is the only way that I will ingest lime jello. It is delicious. The card has seen hard use let me tell you. It has green spots (lime jello) on it. It has had cool whip and cream cheese spilled on it (more ingredients). It is all wrinkled and smeared. But that just means that it has been well loved.

Oh yeah, Miami Beach Cake. I have noted on the top of the card that this recipe came from a newspaper in 1959. NO I didn't cut it out thankyouverymuch. My mother did. This picture doesn't begin to show you the stains and use that this recipe has gotten. It happens to be my favorite birthday cake EVAH! And it is the prefered cake for several of the other members of the family. Made every single time with lots of love.

So, the next time you get out your recipe card file or box or whatever. And you pull out that treasured recipe and you think to yourself, "Hmmm, this is really stained. I think I will write it out on a fresh card." Don't Do It! Remember that all those stains and rips and worn places are an expression of love and a memory of a good time.


  1. I love this! I'm always printing out or cutting out recipes. But they only get written on a card and go in the box after we've tested the recipe and agree that it's worthy. All my cards are new and not yet stained or crinkled, as I just started it a few years ago when I got married. But I look forward to using them so much that they get the 'well loved' look! :o)

  2. What a truly wonderful post. I haven't given my handwritten recipe cards a thought in years. And that is sad. You are right ~ so many memories in the tatters & stains & handwriting ;-) Thank you for bringing this to light. The 'new' system isn't working out so well for me BTW - piles and piles of paper & no order. Eek! -Tammy

  3. What about the recipe for those legendary chocolate-covered coconut treats that you always make at Christmas?

  4. Ah yes, the Coconut Candy. That recipe card is really worn I can tell you.


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