Heirloom Recipes for the HolidaysDecember 6, 2012
Three years ago, my mother gave me a book of family recipes for Christmas—a collection of photocopied index cards and paper scraps with each author’s original handwriting: Nanny’s whiskey sour punch, Aunt Bappy’s Kentucky Derby pie, some babysitter named Nettie’s powdered sugar and pecan tassies, and a recipe for “Baptist pound cake” from one of my mom’s old coworkers, among others. (I like dessert.)
They were recipes that had served my mom well over the years, and she recognized the importance of handing them down in their original handwriting. Hidden in between the lines of each recipe was a personality. The bottom of Nanny’s punch recipe reads, “Combine first 3 ingredients. Just before 5.” Happy hour was punctual at her house.
Aunt Page’s Banana cake recipe reads: “Combine all of the above until good consistency for spreadin’. Don’t frost the sides, it is supposed to have a sad simple look.”
A rushed rewrite of that one and you might accidentally add a "g", or make a happy-looking banana cake.
This Christmas, if you’ve got the time and energy to go the extra mile, give the gift of your favorite handwritten family recipes, collected in a pretty recipe box like this one from Susy Jack. It’s a sure-fire way to keep your family’s recipes—and personalities—around for generations to come.