November 1, 2012

Saving Treasured Family Recipes in Creative Ways

It's that time again...I'm joining my friends at Knoxville's WTNZ Fox43 for a morning segment and this week, we're talking about recipes. Not just any recipes, but beloved family recipes that have been perfected over the years and handed down from generation to generation.

With the holidays coming up, I thought this was a great time to mention some of my favorite ways to honor the memories of all the fabulous cooks and food lovers who have gone before me. I come from a long line of wickedly good cooks and thankfully, I have many of their recipes in my cooking arsenal. One of my most treasured possessions is my great-grandma's old recipe box. At first glance, it's just a rusty metal box in that popular 1960s shade of olive green, but it holds a treasure trove of  delicious recipes that my grandma collected and perfected over the years.

I know many folks want to have their recipes in electronic format these days, but I prefer a 4x6" index card any day. Call me old fashioned (I know it's true). Besides having recipes on cards, I also love cooking from vintage cookbooks, especially Junior League and Ladies Auxiliary versions, the more grease-stained and well-worn the better.

I've always loved church cookbooks too. There are several websites that let you create your own beautifully-bound cookbooks, many that don't require a minimum order. This would be a great way to share a bunch of family recipes with several creating a custom family recipe book as a holiday gift.

I guess I'm a total foodie, but I think recipes are pure art and my next couple of ideas definitely elevate recipes to a more artsy level. I took my great-grandmothers' handwritten southern biscuit recipes and put them in a shadowbox. It's just a simple project but it means a lot to me each time I see it. For something a bit more large scale, I scanned a recipe card and printed it poster size. Then I mounted it on a cheap canvas I picked up at an art supply store. I love this wall art with my great-grandma's scribbled notes about how to make the perfect cole slaw.

These are just a few simple ideas that you can do without spending much (if any) money. As southerners, our recipes are part of our history and I think it's really important that we preserve this history for generations to come.