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!

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