Recipes from the past

Looking for an Irish soda bread recipe that I'd remembered clipping,  I happened upon a couple of venerable recipe cards that I'd pulled out from the collection sometime ago.

This was prompted by a fellow garden club member's interest in doing a traditional cake each month a couple of years back, and left in my collection of printed out recipes and magazine clippings that's bundled near the few cookbooks that I've kept.

I miss her, but I actually wasn't sorry not to have the cake of the month theme continue, as she unexpectedly moved to Knoxville after a fortuitous house purchase early on in the year of the cakes.

These recipe cards were typed by my grandmother, many, many years ago and shared with my mother.  Both treats were childhood favorites:  a decadent apple cake and date bars that my grandmother loved.

I don't make either of these recipes anymore (it's my handwriting on the date bar recipe.)   They're too rich and time-consuming to prepare  (chopping apples, chilling dough, etc.);  I'm much more prone to healthy whole-grain breads and muffins nowadays, but they touch memories.  My grandmother, who lived in Redding, CA, would always send me back with a package of date bars and other treats, as I returned to the SF Bay Area, where I was in graduate school at the time.  Like I needed to eat cookies!  I was quite tubby at the time.

Similarly, I'm reminded of a different time, too, with one of the few "old" cookbooks that I have.  My mom wasn't a natural or particularly interested cook, but she diligently taught herself how; somehow, as the very youngest of 3 daughters, marrying quite young, she hadn't learned all that her mom knew, that's for sure.

I grew up with this cookbook.  My tendencies were towards baking -- the butterscotch brownies aka blond brownies, were a favorite.

The first real meal that I cooked was at 12 -- chicken curry for the family (my mom had graduate school class that afternoon, so I was in charge!)

And I realized that the wooden recipe box that sits behind my computer is full of recipes.  I'm not sure if this was my grandmother's recipe box, that my mother kept, or my mom's recipe box.

It probably was Mom's, but it's filled with retro recipes, that's for sure.

The one I pulled up -- for Aunt Vernie Wagner's Sour Cream Cookies -- is one I certainly wouldn't make today - a cup of butter and a cup of sour cream?



Jason said…
Judy has a small binder full of these recipes from her mother and grandmother. She doesn't use it often, but it's nice to use now and then. Bet the sour cream cookies would be pretty good.
Lisa said…
I have some like that, used so often they're stained, that were my mother's. She wrote notes on them, like "Dar's favorite," so I never want to lose them! "Dar" was what she always called my father, short for Darling I suppose. Old recipes are such family treasures. I gave my son his great-grandmother's church cookbook. The measurements were not like today, they were things like "butter the size of an egg." And recipes for things that are pretty much not eaten these days! Brains etc. No thanks! Your apple cake sound good without the frosting. Healthy that way too.
Lisa Wagner said…
It was the heirloom recipes that made it through downsizing, I'm realizing, not the scruffy bits that I had put together growing up in a threadbare 3-ring binder. The wooden recipe box is still a bit of a mystery -- I think it was my mother's, having looked at it more closely, but I'm quite sure I never saw her refer to it, nor did I ever look at it in any depth, so it predated my interesting in cooking. I just remember where it sat near the kitchen bookshelf. It must have been something put together early in married life.