Day 14 – The Food of Our Family – Part Four: Recipe Boxes

This is another in my series of posts about food and my family.

Many, many years ago I purchased a lovely wooden recipe box, hand-painted by Debbi Wetzel, of “Woodzels by Wetzel.” It was the height of the country decorating craze and I purchased as many of her items as possible in this design.

You can see Mom’s recipe card for Eggplant Parmesan peeking out!

There was a time when I actively collected recipes. So many in fact, that my poor box was stuffed full. I even cut recipes out of magazines and pasted them onto cards. In preparation for writing this post, I went through the box. There were some interesting items.

Whatever made me think I’d actually make any of these recipes?

The “Fluffy Rice and Chicken” was part of a recipe card subscription service I joined in the 80s. You got a yellow box to keep them in – FREE!!!!! I think I spent $1,234.56 on the collection over time. (Only kidding! But, seriously, those subscription plans really did add up!) I must have liked the recipe though – note the star!

I had to cut this one down to fit my box.
Too lazy to rewrite the recipe, I guess. It must have been from a series – Note the 5A added.
So organized.
I actually DID do this Family Circle Card-a-Day diet plan. Once.
Wow! This brings me back. It sounds disgusting but it’s actually a pretty good facsimile !!
Why did I have THREE versions of my mother’s pot roast recipe?

I love seeing my mother’s handwriting on thses cards. I also love how so very specific she was when imparting information. “…maybe 1 1/2 hours/maybe 2 hours…”

The recipe cards themselves spark memories for me. The cards above all are from the Current company. We ordered constantly from their catalog – cards, wrapping paper, address labels, checks! They’re still in business – online, of course!

There is ONLY ONE recipe in entire box that I actually use. The Yule Log. It’s the one time each year I bake. (Excluding the Peach and Plum cake in the fall and Christmas Cookies. But those are really social events now!)

Pehaps I should have put this recipe in a plastic sleeve. Yes, those are drips from chocolate syrup and/or spatters from the yummy cream all over the page!!
The only I bake without burning!! I used to put marizpan decorations on it. Oh well…

As I am now of a “certain age” I have been purging some of my possessions. (Full disclosure: this roughly translates to “Thinking about some of the stuff I can get rid of..”) Since cleaning out the recipe box is something I can do from my couch (right, Scott?) I decided to tackle it.

Wow! Huge difference. I only kept the ones my mom wrote and a few that were given to me by certain people. Not that I’ll ever make the recipe – it just reminds of the person!

Mom’s Recipe Boxes

I would be remiss if I didn’t share about my mother’s recipe box. She loved collecting recipes and cookbooks. More about that tomorrow. I thought I had a picture of her recipe box but when I went to look for it on my comouter all I could find was several pictures of cookbooks and an odd yellow box on what were her basement shelves. On a side note – one of the things I did before we held the estate sale at Mom’s house was to walk around the house and photograph EVERYTHING I could. I’m so glad I did. Not only do these pictures evoke good memories of my childhood home, they are helpful when I write posts like this!

The trick was figuring out who had Mom’s recipe box now. Texted the usual suspects – Betsy and Jeanne – as they are the super bakers/cooks. Nope.

Jeanne did have this Land-O-Lake box our mother had given her, filled with recipe cards written by Mom. I love that first one is for “Nocken” one of my Austrian favorites.

Okay, I texted Dean – no response. He’s probably working. Kathy? Doubtful, but you never know. No – she didn’t have it. Jeanne suggested I check with my daughter Meghan or my niece Mia as they are avid cooks. Yup! It was Meghan! I should have known! Ok – mystery solved.

A nice suprise was Meg not only had the yellow box I was looking for, she had the … wait for it… THE BLUE ONION one! How could I have forgotten about the blue onion one? My mother loved that pattern. Is there a word that is stronger than love? Adored? Obsessed? I should write another post just about my mom’s Blue Onion collection.

Mom’s box was well organized. Mostly. With tabs and everything! (Siblings- I am waiting for a certain comment from you about the picture of the open box. Don’t disappoint me!)

Apparently, my mother purchased the file box in New Rochelle, New York. New Rochelle is where she and her parents settled after leaving Austria in 1938. It’s also where she met my father.

This is exactly why we keep things, or least take pictures of them. One memory sparks another… and another. If you must “purge” be sure you take pictures first. You’ll be glad you did.

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