Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Doorbusters: Cranberry Sauce & Pumpkin Chiffon Pie


Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you had a fun holiday full of family, good food and safe travels. I didn’t host Thanksgiving dinner, but I did bring some Found Recipe Box creations to my husband’s family’s dinner table: cranberry sauce and pumpkin chiffon pie. 

Cranberry sauce is incredibly easy to make and is done in less than 20 minutes start to finish. I always looked at that red, gelatinous mass on the dinner table and thought it had to be really hard to concoct. If you can boil water, you can make cranberry sauce. It’s that easy. And it’s so much better than the canned stuff!

I am a huge fan of pumpkin pie and I think that this pumpkin chiffon pie just might be my new favorite. It’s almost as easy to make as regular pumpkin pie. The only additional step is to make a meringue that gets folded into the pumpkin mixture. It makes the pie light and airy, which is really nice after stuffing yourself at Thanksgiving dinner. You get the taste of pumpkin pie without getting weighed down by a heavy dessert. Because let’s be honest, no matter how full of turkey, potatoes, stuffing and bread we are, there’s always room for dessert! 

I also had a special request from my husband to make apple crisp. It was a tough choice between that and the apple kuchen, but we decided on the crisp. It was a hit. But an even bigger hit was the homemade whipped cream. We had a hard time keeping it away from my niece. She didn’t want any pie or apple crisp, just the whipped cream…6 plates covered in whipped cream. Can you say “sugar rush?” I should have tried that when I woke up at 5am this morning to go shopping. It was the first time I’ve ever shopped on Black Friday, let alone at 5 o’clock in the morning. It wasn’t bad though, I was on the road just after 5am and back in bed by 6am.

And now that Thanksgiving is over, it’s officially time for Christmas (although, if you’re one of my neighbors, Christmas apparently started about 2 weeks ago when they began lighting the herd of glowing animals in their yard). So tune into the 24-hour Christmas music station and get ready for cookie season! I’ll be posting lots of cookie recipes soon so if you’re looking for ideas for a cookie exchange, be sure to check the Found Recipe Box!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It’s In The Can: Apple Butter

While apples are still in season, I wanted to make a few more recipes that use them. And this recipe uses a lot of them! The card calls for 4 bowls of apples and 3 bowls of sugar. A little internet research told me that the translation to that is: 4 pounds of apples and 3 cups of sugar.

Be prepared when you make this recipe that it takes quite an investment of time (especially if you are going to can jars of it afterward) but it is completely worth it. It took me about 45 minutes just to core, peel and cut up the apples. Once everything is in the pot, it basically just cooks and makes the whole house smell delicious for about an hour.

Looking at the recipe, I knew this would make way more than my husband and I could consume so I decided to learn how to can so that I could give jars of it away. I purchased Mason jars from the grocery store and found a great site with instructions on exactly how to successfully can jellies and jams. I didn’t have the proper canning utensils, but made due with large pots, which worked, but I also burned the tips of most of my fingers quite nicely in the process. Note – do not attempt to lift jars out of a vat of boiling water using a spatula, wooden spoon and an Ove Glove. The next time I do this (which will be soon because I already have a list of people I want to send this delicious treat to), I will be using the proper canning equipment. To be honest, I was pretty intimidated by the idea of canning my own food. But despite a few minor burns, it was a lot easier than I thought. And it’s a great way to keep food for a long period of time without adding a ton of preservatives. 

If you have never had apple butter before, it’s worth a try. It isn’t butter, but instead a fruit spread that can be used on toast, English muffins, etc. and tastes like gooey cinnamon apples. It’s delicious! So good in fact, that for a few minutes while I enjoyed toast with warm apple butter, I completely forgot about the fire alarm going off (from all the heat in the kitchen), the dog barking (because the fire alarm was going off) and the fact that the tips of my fingers looked like little Rudolph noses. It was a pure Calgon moment. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

In Loving Memory of Buck: Green Bean Casserole

This recipe is almost exactly the same as the one on the French’s French Fried Onion can, but I wanted to post it anyway so you could see the card and study the tight, scipty font. There are several recipes written in this same handwriting and a few might require some detective work in order to get the ingredients and directions correct.

I like green bean casserole. In fact, it is the only way I’ll eat green beans. As a kid, my mom used to make us sit at the table until we ate all of our vegetables. For my brothers and me who are all picky eaters and will never be vegetarians, this scenario occurred quite frequently at our dinner table. Until we got our dog, Buck. I remember all the clever ways we found to distract my mom so that she wouldn’t know that we were feeding the dog under the table. Something tells me we weren’t half as sly as we thought. Looking back, I’m sure that (plus the fact I let the dog sleep in my bed starting the night we brought him home) had something to do with me and Buck becoming best friends. 

Buck and I went everywhere together. He loved car rides and didn’t care where we were going as long as he could sit in the front seat and hang his head out the window. He loved to have jobs and his favorite one was getting the paper. On the weekends, he and my dad had a routine: Buck would get the paper then hold it in his mouth in the car all the way up town to get Starbucks and all the way home. One time, one of the baristas noticed him from the window and said to my dad, “Hey, look at that crazy dog out in the car with the paper in his mouth.” My dad just smiled and replied, “That’s my dog.”

Like most dogs, he had an insatiable zest for life. He was the best running partner I’ve ever had. If we weren’t out for a run around town, then we were running in the back yard and playing Frisbee. And after a hard day of playing, I’d fall asleep at night with 90 lbs of Flatcoated Retriever lying across my back or wrapped around my head. I’m sure that is part of the reason for all the back problems I have now, but I wouldn’t trade those nights for anything.

Life can be cruel sometimes and insanely unfair. When Buck was 9 years old, he began to have seizures. The dog we had before Buck also had seizures and died at only 5 years old. It was awful and we were very careful in selecting Buck so that we’d never have to go through that pain again. Only it did happen again and this time it happened to my best friend in the whole world. The vet tried medication, but it didn’t work. On Buck’s last day, he went into a grand mal seizure that he never came out of. I will never forget crying, holding his head while he shook and watching as he tried to comfort me. That was Buck. He cared more for the people in his life than anything else in the world. Some people may say that dogs don’t have emotions, blah, blah, blah. They didn’t know Buck. I know what I saw in my dog’s eyes and it was 100% pure love.

Buck died the day before his 10th birthday. It took my family a while to bring another dog into our home and I didn’t know if I’d ever be able let another dog into my heart. I was convinced there would never be another Buck. But since Buck passed, my family has had four other Flatcoats and now I have a dog of my own, my Golden Retriever Murphy. Each of these dogs has filled that void in my heart left by Buck in their own special way. Murphy has even reminded me what it feels like to have 75 lbs of dog sleep across your back at night.

Now that I’m an “adult,” I can make whatever vegetables I want for dinner and don’t have to sit at the table until my plate is clear. But I still save a little bit to share with my dog. And I’ve discovered that green beans aren’t all that bad…well, when they’re covered in cream of mushroom soup and French fried onions that is. I bet Buck would have preferred them that way too.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Kitchen Casualty: Apple Crisp


I had my first kitchen casualty this weekend. No, it wasn’t one of my fingers (thankfully), it was my apple corer. 

My healthy husband uses it every weekday to cut up apples to take to work for a snack. I only use it when I’m making a recipe that requires apple slices to be coated in wonderful things like cinnamon, sugar and butter. And of course, I’m the one that breaks it.

We both agreed, however, that it was totally worth the sacrifice because this recipe was one of the best (if not the best) apple crisps we’ve ever eaten. And since the recipe wasn’t very difficult, I added the challenge of making homemade whipped cream. I’ve been missing out by using the fat-free Cool Whip all these years. Homemade is the way to go. It made an incredible recipe even more mouth-watering. There isn’t a cooking time or temp listed so I guessed and cooked it at 350 degrees. It took about 35 minutes at that temp. 

If you’re looking for a dessert for Thanksgiving, try this one. You won’t be disappointed.

Friday, November 20, 2009

In Honor of New Moon: Sunshine Cake Desserts


I will be joining about 90% of the female population this weekend in the theater to see the second movie in the Twilight Saga, New Moon. So in honor of this momentous occasion, I decided to make a special treat for my fellow vampire fanatics: Sunshine Cake Desserts. Vampires may not be able to see the sun (depending on which version of the myth you follow), but I’m thankful that I can not only enjoy the warmth of the sun on my skin, but that I can also eat tasty treats named after the giant star.

I never read a vampire book until last year when I finally broke down and read Twilight to see what the fuss was all about. And that was the end of life as I knew it (thanks a lot Stephanie Meyer). I flew through all four books then started reading Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse novels. Then of course I had to add HBO to my DirecTV package so that I could watch True Blood (based on the aforementioned books). But one of my favorite vampire series is MaryJanice Davidson’s because they are not only based in the Twin Cities, but the main vampire incurred her life-changing attack in the parking lot of Khan’s, the Mongolian restaurant down the street from my house (just one more reason never to eat there).

One of the pearls of wisdom I have taken away from these books can also be applied to cooking. It has to do with trust. Vampires are not always trustworthy and neither are cooking times on recipes. As I learned last weekend, sometimes it takes longer to cook a recipe. Today, however, had the opposite outcome.

Sunshine Cake Dessert is a pretty complicated recipe (for me anyway) and there are a lot of things going on pretty much all at the same time. While I was baking the cake portion, I began the custard topping. I spent a lot of time reading and re-reading the directions to ensure I wouldn’t make a mistake. What I should have been doing was checking in on my cake every so often. Luckily, I pulled it out before it was a total loss, but it looked a little more done than I would prefer. I think the hour cooking time listed is a little too long.

Another thing I’ve learned about vampires is that looks can be deceiving. The same goes for cooking. What may look overdone might actually taste like a perfect masterpiece. This cake is like a dense angel food cake with a lemon/almond flavoring. Basically, if you could bottle up summer and pour it out into cake form, this is what it would taste like. The custard frosting is a great addition and I highly recommend strawberries (or any fresh fruit) for a topping.

Oh, and another tidbit I’d like to pass on – be careful when you gradually beat in sugar that you don’t pour it directly into the moving beaters. If you do, you’ll be walking all over it for a very long time across your entire kitchen floor, feel grit on your counter tops, and be brushing it out of your hair. 

I would also like to extend a thank you to the members of my poetry group for so graciously offering to be taste testers for a few of my Found Recipe Box creations. There are two things I know I can always count on you guys for: 1.) teasing me about my love for vampire novels and 2.) jumping at the chance to eat sweet treats with me. Thanks!

Own a piece of the box!
There are a few recipe cards in the box that have multiple copies. This is one of them. If you’d like to own your own piece of the Found Recipe Box, send me an e-mail at and tell me your favorite recipe that reminds you of either summer sunshine or vampires. I’ll choose the most creative entry and send you a copy of the Sunshine Cake Desserts recipe! All entries must be received by midnight November 27, 2009 and the winner will be chosen that weekend.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thanksgiving Classics: Football & Dressing for Turkeys – Thanksgiving 1949

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, I wanted to be sure to post some recipes that could be brought to your table for the holiday. I am not making a turkey this year so I didn’t try this Dressing for Turkeys, but from reading the list of ingredients, I’m figuring it could feed your family, your neighbors’ families and still have some leftovers for the rest of the weekend.

I thought it was interesting that the person who wrote this labeled it with “Thanksgiving 1949.” Since I wasn’t around at that time and don’t have a personal recollection of the day, I thought I’d turn to my new best friend Google and find out what was going on. I’m figuring Google must be a guy because all he wanted to talk about was football. If your house is anything like the ones I visit on Thanksgiving, the television is always blaring with the sounds of a football game. This is, of course, after we watch the Macy’s Day Parade to see if this will finally be the year that the Snoopy balloon escapes and flies his Sopwith Camel to England to spread gratitude to the Old World.

I always figured that they aired football games to give guys an excuse for why they can’t help out with dinner. Apparently, this excuse has been around longer than I thought, as far back as 1891 in fact. An article printed in Harper’s Weekly that year talked of the importance of watching Princeton play Yale. The tradition of watching football caught on and by 1949, two million television sets were tuned to the game. I did a little more research to find out that the Chicago Bears played the Detroit Lions in 1949 and won 28 to 7. That year was a pretty decent year for the Bears. It was their 30th regular season, they played under Coach George Halas, their games were at Wrigley Field and they finished 2nd in their division. 

Sadly, 2009 doesn’t look as promising for the Bears. But I don’t get to watch my home team play this year. Instead, my husband’s favorite team, the Green Bay Packers (a rival of the Bears), will be playing the Detroit Lions in one of three games played on Thanksgiving Day. Apparently, guys thought football was such a great excuse for why they couldn’t help make dinner, they added a few games to extend the excuse as to why they couldn’t help clean up either.  Sorry guys, we’re onto your little ruse.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thanksgiving Part I: Early American Pumpkin Pie


This weekend I was at home in Chicago celebrating a baptism and my first of two Thanksgivings. My side of the family won’t be able to be together this year for the holiday so some of us celebrated this week and others will celebrate on the actual day. I only had one request for the weekend: that I get to share one of the recipes from the box. In honor of the holiday, I chose to make the traditional Thanksgiving dessert, pumpkin pie.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest pumpkin pie ever made weighed 2,020 lbs and measured 12 feet, 1 inch across. That sounds like something that should be on Man Vs. Food, I’d love to see Adam Richman take on that beast! I’d also like to see the oven they cooked that thing in and know how long it took them to fully cook it. The pie I made took quite a bit longer to cook than the time suggested on the card, but we may have been having some oven trouble as we later discovered. If you make this recipe, which I recommend you do, keep an eye on the time and be prepared that it may take longer to cook. It will also need to sit for a while to cool and firm up. 

This was one of the best tasting pumpkin pies I’ve had. It was rich, but not overpowering and very easy to make. And if you’d like to try something a little different, there are two alternative recipes on the backside of the card. Any of the variations would be great for a Thanksgiving dinner table.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Try, Try Again: Chicken Casserole

Sometimes, despite our best efforts and intentions, things just don’t go the way we planned. This has been one of those weeks – computer problems, forgetting ingredients at the store, forgetting to put ingredients into recipes. It has all been a reminder of the famous saying, “When at first you fail, try, try again.”

My “plan” was to have Chicken Casserole for dinner on Monday night. Then I ran into computer problems, lost track of time, looked at the recipe and saw that it requires 2.5 hours to cook. If my husband and I had wanted to eat dinner before the 10 o’clock news came on, it meant we were going to have to change our plans (translation: we ordered pizza).

So, now that I knew I needed to leave enough time to cook the recipe, my “new plan” was to have it on Tuesday night. As I was pulling all of the ingredients out to make the casserole, I realized I didn’t have evaporated milk and remembered using it for something the week before. So it was Plan B for dinner on Tuesday night as well.

Finally, yesterday, it all came together. After making the Black Bottom Pie and getting really down on myself for forgetting the vanilla, I was very careful with the Chicken Casserole recipe. To save money and room in the fridge, I cut the amount of chicken in half. I had planned on cutting the entire recipe in half, but thought I’d make the full amount of sauce and see if it would be too much. Plus, I didn’t know what I’d do with the leftover half can of cream of chicken soup. I ended up using all the sauce and I’m glad I did. 

This casserole smells amazing while it is cooking (which is good because you smell it for 2.5 hours). After the first bite, my husband and I both agreed this is a new favorite and we’ll be making it often (Murphy was happy to hear that because he was a fan as well). However, we did notice that when we were out running errands later on, our jackets smelled like Chicken Casserole. Maybe that’s why the sales people at Verizon were so hungry for our business. We even brought out the nice wedding china that we’ve never used. Who says you can’t use nice dishes when you’re eating off a TV tray in the living room? 

This week has been a lesson in preparedness and flexibility. I guess it’s good to have those reminders every once in a while, even though they can be a little frustrating. I also realized that in my haste to get the Black Bottom Pie recipe posted and due to my devastation of forgetting an ingredient, I forgot to mention that I learned how to separate an egg. This is yet another culinary skill that I had never acquired and once again resorted to finding guidance on the Internet. Here is a link a helpful video I found. And I am very proud to say, I successfully separated four eggs in a row with no casualties. I never thought that something as simple as separating egg yolk from egg white could be so exhilarating.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

For Murphy: Black Bottom Pie


My dog is not happy about my new project. More specifically, he’s not happy about the amount of time I’m spending in front of the computer and in the kitchen instead of paying attention to him. He has decided to vent his frustration on my yard. Here is a picture of him surveying his latest handiwork. And yes, that’s a 1-foot ruler stuck into the hole. Notice that the hole is deeper than the ruler is tall. If anyone needs a hole dug in their yard, my dog is pretty efficient and he works for Milk-Bones.

So, in his honor, I made a Black Bottom Pie today. If you have ever seen the movie Waitress, then you can appreciate the idea of creating a pie in response to an emotion or situation. Fortunately, this pie already had a name that was pretty fitting because if it had been up to me, I had a few choice words for my dog that would ruin the PG rating of my blog.

This recipe required another trip to Target to purchase kitchen gadgets that I do not have – a pie dish and a pie server. And I also got to use a wedding gift that has been tucked away for the past three years eagerly awaiting me to make a recipe that requires a double boiler.


I have never made a pie before and I have never eaten Black Bottom Pie so I had no idea what to expect. This recipe, as I’m discovering is the case with many in the box, doesn’t list all the ingredients up front, nor does it fully describe all the steps listed. I don’t know how people did this before the invention of the Internet because it has been a lifesaver. The first piece of information I needed to know what was kind of chocolate to add. Similar to the Apple Kuchen, this pie recipe has a plethora of variations. Thankfully, one of the first few I came across was pretty close to the one on the card and became my back-up for the entire process. I decided that the best chocolate to use was unsweetened baking squares. My back-up recipe also alerted me to the fact that I needed the double boiler.

Once the whole process was finished and I had assembled my pie (complete with chocolate shavings on top), I looked at the ingredients I had set out on the counter to make sure I used them all and realized there was one that never made it into the pie. Vanilla extract. (Insert expletives here that were originally thought of as possible names for this vanilla-less pie.) I looked back over the directions and realized that there was one that said to add “flavorings.” I’m assuming this was supposed to be the vanilla. 

At this point, I considered going out in the yard and digging a hole. Maybe my dog was right; maybe it would help with frustration. So I put my pie in the fridge and went outside to join him. On my way I swiped my finger through the leftover chocolate in the double boiler. It wasn’t bad. In fact, it was pretty good. Maybe it didn’t need the vanilla after all. So instead of adding to the destruction of my yard, I sat on the deck petting my dog, waiting for my first-ever pie to firm up.

Thanks Murphy, for reminding me that it’s O.K. to make mistakes, that there’s something to be learned from every mistake we make. Maybe someday you’ll learn to stop digging holes and instead sit patiently by my side until I can reach down and scratch behind your ears or throw your Wubba.

Too bad you can’t have chocolate because this is one of the best tasting mistakes I’ve ever made.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Moving Past “Just Add Water”: Apple Kuchen


In honor of apple season, I thought I would share one of the many apple recipes in the box. Kuchen, as I learned this week, is the German word for cake. I also learned that there are many variations of this German dessert, a tidbit I encountered while researching an error I discovered in the directions written on this card. If you notice on the top line of the instructions on the second side of the card, the first step is to cream butter with butter. As I stated before, I will never be mistaken for a chef, but this just didn’t seem right. So I did a search for Apple Kuchen recipes to see if I could find a similar one to confirm my suspicion that the second butter was really supposed to be sugar.

I was amazed at how many recipes for Apple Kuchen could be found online and how none of them seemed to be the same. Some call for lemon rind, some use sour cream, others have confectioners sugar and one even called for one box of yellow cake mix. It was then that I realized how many of the recipes in my found recipe box were made from scratch. All of the cake recipes list each of the individual ingredients, even for the fillings and icing. I have never made icing from scratch. In fact, I’ve never made a cake from scratch. It dawned on me that my cooking skills could pretty much be summed up by the phrase “Just Add Water.” 

At this point, I gave up on my search and trusted my instincts with the directions for the recipe. And I must note, I did notice that the recipe instructs you to sift the 2 cups of flour, etc. I didn’t think my cheese grater trick would work for that much flour so I invested in a real flour sifter.

The batter turned out to be a semi-thick, fluffy mixture that tasted like pancake batter and made me curious to sample the final product. The next step was to peel and slice the apples, which an apple corer turned out to be a huge help in accomplishing. I assembled the dessert, added the final touches and placed it in the oven to bake. It didn’t take long for my entire kitchen to smell like cinnamon apples.

As I was cleaning the dishes, something I feel like I’ve done a lot of lately, I came to my new sifter and smiled as I dunked it into the warm, soapy water. I owned a sifter. No recipe that has the direction “just add water” requires a sifter. I was proud of my accomplishment (and recent purchase) and reflected on the difference between making a dessert out of a box and one that requires a dozen more steps and ingredients. There is something cathartic about baking from scratch. It requires time, concentration and you put a little piece of yourself into what you are making. I think I understand now why they call it “comfort cooking” That night, after a dinner I can’t remember, my husband and I sat down to a dessert I’ll never forget.

Oh, and if you’re wondering, it doesn’t taste anything like pancakes. It has a moist cake bottom and soft cinnamon apples on top. The recipe suggests serving it with whip cream and that was a good idea. It’s like an apple pie, but not as strong of a flavor. It’s a great dessert to serve after Thanksgiving dinner. And I believe my instincts were correct, the first step is to cream the butter with sugar, not more butter.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

About the Box

Although there is a lot I don’t know about the recipe box, here are a few of the things that I do know:

There are 479 total recipes. Here is a breakdown of the categories:

Appetizers: 7
Beverages: 1
Bread: 30
Breakfast: 19
Cake/Frosting: 94
Casserole: 13
Cookies: 28
Dessert: 60
Entrée: 34
Fruit: 16
Meat: 30
Pie: 82
Pudding: 18
Salad: 5
Salad Dressing: 3
Sauce (11 for desserts, 1 for vegetables): 12
Seafood: 5
Side Dish: 11
Soup: 3
Spice: 1
Vegetables: 7

Of the 479 recipes, 293 can be classified as “sweets.” That’s roughly about 60% of the box. On the flipside, there are only 7 vegetable recipes. I don’t think it was a coincidence that I was drawn to this box. The owner was obviously a woman of my own heart. However, there are a few meals in here that will definitely challenge my taste buds and at least one that I am just not brave enough to try (when I post it, you’ll understand why).

I am almost certain that the box was born and raised in Minnesota because there are several references to Minnesotan companies on the cards. And in the casserole category, there are a few hot dish recipes. Unlike the box, I was not born here. I grew up outside of Chicago and never heard the term “hot dish” until I moved north. And even then, it wasn’t until a few months ago that I even tried the famous Tater Tot Hot Dish (The Bulldog in Northeast Minneapolis has a great version made with Youngs’ Double Chocolate Stout).

All of the category divider cards and some of the recipes are written on PTA Membership Cards from the 1920s. A few of those cards have some of the names filled in on the back; although most of them are blank (I’ll be sure to include a scan of the ones with any information when I get to those recipes). Here is a sample of the category cards:


The more time I spend with the box to learn about it and its history I’m finding that I actually end up learning a lot about myself in the process. Such as, I have a borderline obsessive tendency to create lists and organize details into Excel spreadsheets (perhaps this explains why I was so interested in biology in school). I have also been reminded that I hate math (this explains why I switched my major from biology to writing). Due to my current status of unemployment, I have time during the day to sort through this box of old recipes and create intricate spreadsheets about its contents (is this something I can add to my resume?). And thanks to my Excel obsession, I will be able to spread the recipes out and not post all 293 “sweets” recipes in a row. Even I couldn’t eat that much sugar. I have some set aside to post for specific holidays so be sure to check back for recipes that you could bring to your family’s Thanksgiving dinner table!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

For Mimi: Swedish Pancakes and Berry Cream (Barkram)

As I was flipping through the recipes when I brought the box home, I came across one that made me stop. It was for Swedish Pancakes. My grandmother has a recipe for Swedish Pancakes that has been a family favorite for as long as I can remember. Every time we’re at a restaurant and see them on the menu, we get an order to see if they’re as good as my grandmother’s. They never are. So when I saw this recipe in the box, I knew it had to be the first one I tried.

The ingredients are the same as my grandmother’s recipe, but the amounts are a little different. For example, there is three times more milk in this one, which caused the consistency to be a lot thinner than what I’m used to. They were really hard to flip and unfortunately, most of my “pancakes” look more like amorphous gelatinous blobs than edible breakfast food. Also, this recipe called for the flour to be sifted. I don’t own a sifter. I used a cheese grater. Not the best solution. Sadly, I don’t think I can blame my non-flipping pancakes on lumpy flour.They were, however, edible and reminded me of crepes (which I hear are also very difficult to flip successfully). Even though they were tasty, Mimi, yours are still my favorite and always will be.


At the top of the clipping is a recipe for Berry Cream or Barkram (a Swedish dessert). It suggests serving it with cold milk or cream. I chose vanilla ice cream – probably not a very traditional way to serve it, but it was good! I think it would also be good served as a shortcake dessert or with angel food cake. It makes a large quantity so this would be a good dish to bring to a summer picnic or barbeque when berries are in season and plentiful in the grocery store.

There is a tidbit about Swedish wedding traditions on the bottom of the clipping that is very interesting. I also scanned in the back of the clipping because it was part of a letter signed by a woman named Lorene. You only get small snippets of the conversation, but sometimes it’s more fun to fill in the blanks on your own.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Welcome to the Found Recipe Box

Recently, while at an antique show, I came across a wooden recipe box. I flipped open the lid and discovered that the entire box was packed full of old recipes – some dating back to the 1920s. It made me sad to think that someone’s collection of recipes was being sold at an antique show instead of lovingly tucked into a family member’s kitchen and cooked for special occasions. It reminded me of my grandmother’s many boxes of old recipes and how much I loved to look at the yellowed cards and trace my grandmother’s tight, loopy handwriting with my fingers when I was a kid. The thought of her boxes ending up at an antique show made me sick and I knew I had to buy these recipes and show them the love they deserve.

Some were collected from newspaper clippings, some are handwritten (a few are really hard to read), and some are from ingredient packages. I don’t know who owned them, what their favorite one was, or who they were passed down from, but each recipe has a story. I hope that by sharing all of these found recipes, it will help keep traditions alive and maybe even create some new ones.

The beauty of this box is the cards and it’s important to see the handwriting, the decay of the paper, and the food stains. For each recipe, I will scan the card and post it to the site. I am not a chef by any stretch of the imagination, and I am a very picky eater, but I will try to make as many of these recipes as my schedule and budget allow and share the results. Lucky for me, a majority of them are desserts (I have an insatiable sweet tooth). Some will require a little research, as I am not familiar with all of the names and types of food included in the box (there seem to be a lot of German recipes) and I will also share what I learn about each one.

The late Dan Eldon, a photo journalist and one of my greatest inspirations, wrote in his journals that “the journey is the destination.” I don’t know where this trip through the recipe box will lead, I have no set schedule for the project, or purpose in mind other than sharing lost recipes with anyone who might need some comfort in the form of food, but I look forward to every step of the journey. Thank you for stopping by the site, I hope you find a recipe to add to your own family’s recipe box.