At a yard sale this weekend I found a treasure trove of old handwritten recipes. Oh sure, there were many recipes cut out from magazines (Robert Conrad’s potato casserole anyone?) but it was the ones written on those 1950’s – 1970 recipe cards (you know the ones with the little flower decorations in the upper left corner) that got my attention.
I have a few of my mother’s handwritten cards and I consider them to be among my most treasured possessions. (Soon, I’ll be making those chocolate, peanut butter, rice Krispy cookies that I talked about at my mom’s funeral.)
It’s a lost art. Who writes down recipes anymore? It’s more like, if someone requests a recipe we send them the link to where they can find it, time just seems to fly a little faster these days. And even if we had the time to write down a recipe, who has the time to make it other than for a special occasion? Pizza hut to the rescue.
Well I have time (in between everything else I have to do.)
Think about it. When I grew up food was how you showed your creativity. While my mother did work (after the kids had gotten older) most women didn’t, they stayed at home and took care of the flock. Preparing food was how they nourished their families, while the recipes nourished their creativity. When received from a friend, most recipe cards began with “from the kitchen of..” Sharing recipes was the social network of its time.
My kids, who are the sons and daughters of this storyteller definitely know the potential of a good story (or two) when they see it. Helping me sort through the recipes on Saturday night and placing them into two binders, every single one of my kids knew what was coming.
What will we start with first? They asked me.
A small piece of paper fluttered out of the binder onto my lap. A recipe for “Yellow Cake.” Yellow cake? I thought you could just buy a mix for yellow cake, I didn’t think you had to do much to make it (especially when the first ingredient is a “yellow cake mix”) . But hey, I’m not one to take signs lightly.
“This is what we’ll make, “ I decreed holding the scrap above my head. Simple name, no instructions other than what to combine and yet apparently so remarkable that someone took the time to scribble it down.
I bring you “Yellow Cake”
This makes a dense and very moist cake. I’ve heard from one reader that if refrigerated overnight it’s even better the second day. And while I thought the lemon flavor would be a little brighter, it sure lived up to its title of being a YELLOW cake no false advertising here.
Guess what my kids and I will be doing this summer?
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
Also, join her on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.
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