Monday, February 1, 2010

Speaking of Domestication

Mrs B over at Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom is making February Retro Cooking Month. I can't tell you how good this is for me, I've been slowly but surely trying to eliminate processed foods from our pantry and having access to new recipes and ideas is making me a little giddy. ( the geek in me is doing a little dance and clap my hands in glee)

Today Mrs. B is sharing her recipe system, a three ring binder and clip system. It's a great system but it involves collecting recipes on an ongoing basis. I tend to go looking for new recipes when I'm in the mood to change things up a little bit. Take last week for instance.
My parents sent us a large package of meat from one of their cows. I have packages and packages of the leanest, tastiest ground beef I have ever had and there's only so much spaghetti and meat sauce I'm willing to subject myself and the family to. Don't get me wrong I'm a big fan of spaghetti and meat sauce, We eat it often. So in search of new things to make I came across a wonderful meatloaf recipe in a cookbook I took out from the library last week. I'll be copying the recipe into a book I have for that purpose.

When we moved to BC my grandma gifted me with a journal as a going away present. I've never really been very good with writing in a journal so I used the book to collect recipes that I thought I might make. For me, cooking is a form of nesting; when I first came out here, I looked through stacks and stacks of cookbooks in an effort to settle into my new home. I have a bunch of recipes that have become regulars in our home, from apple soup (a roasted apple and acorn squash soup) and shepherds pie to my grandpa's toffee recipe and my great grandma's recipe for yorkshire pudding. The book sees a lot of use and has been subjected to random drippings and the odd steam soaked lid being placed on it. At the end of the day it's one of the three most used recipe books in my collection.

The other book (pictured above) is one my Mom passed on to me when I moved out. It's a vintage book, full of campy classics like Cheese Bombe and Hawaiian Rice. Mostly we used it for cookie and cake recipes while I was growing up but the book is full of useful information for beginning cooks like cooking charts for beef, lamb and pork, BBQ cooking charts and bread making methods.

The last book I'm sharing with you today is one that my Ma in law made for me six years ago. It's an altered book full of recipes from my husband's side of the family. There are recipes from his great grandmothers and some of her favourites as well, including one of the tastiest meat pies I've ever had the pleasure of eating. In addition to these recipes, she also included little stories about the women in her life, random tips about being a woman and notes about where each recipe came from, where she first made it, how often it was made or how good a recipe was.

This book reminds me of the book The Cure For Death By Lightning by Gail Anderson-Dargatz. In the book the main character's mother keeps a journal/ recipe book that she has made from scrap papers and cardboard. It's a handmade book full of mementos from her life as a homestead wife, including scrap bits of knowledge including how to keep a cat from straying, the proper way to pick peas and of course the cure for death by lightning. The book itself is full of magic and mystery. Like the main character in the book, I can spend hours flipping through this book, gleaning bits of knowledge and magic from the strong ladies that have come before. It's a book that the will eventually be passed down to the Peanut.

If you are interested in seeing dome other recipe systems go on over to Mrs B's blog,I'll see you over there!


Maman Tattoo said...

That last book seems really awesome!

I have a purity cookbook too, from my great-great grand-mother. It's old! and I love it :

Marlene said...

oops, I think I lost my comment - again I love all things cookbook, you have some awesome books full of great memories.

Suzie said...

What awesome cookbooks you have! They all have special meaning for you, and those are the best kind! The food that is made from them, always tastes better! Guaranteed!!

Bridgett said...

I love, love, love the book your MIL made for you.

How incredible.

Wish I had that kind of relationship with my MIL. LOL


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