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Treasures.

When we cleaned out my grandmother’s house, there was really only one thing that I desperately wanted.

 

 

 

Her recipes.

 

 

The majority of the recipes were truly hers - she literally made them herself.

 

 

 

I did get to take the recipes, but what I don’t think I’ve mentioned yet is that my husband and I closed on our new house on April 24th, and my grandmother died on April 25th. The recipes had been sitting in my parents’ house, along with most of my other junk because we all know there wasn’t more room for it here.

 

 

 

Moving into our house was a frenzy, as we also had a few days of funeral activities to attend. The recipes were inside a bag, which was inside a box, and until last week, I wasn’t even sure if they were at my house or my parents’.

 

 

 

 

I found them and decided to look through them last night. 

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This is just a bit of what I had to look through.

 

 

 

 

 One of the first recipes I found is a cookie we would make every Christmas.  

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Seeing her handwriting on the recipe got me a little shaken up, but in a nice, warm and fuzzy way.

 

 

 

I couldn’t believe how OLD some of this stuff was. 

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And most of it was hard to make out. Some of it even written in pencil, probably up to 50 years ago, maybe more. You can imagine how much it has faded.

 

 

 

 

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Most of the recipes had ‘age spots’ or stains on them, and I kept wondering what it could be. What was she making that day that she spilled on the recipe??

 

 

 

 

 

 Hmmm, here is one for her mother’s date pudding.

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I like dates, and I like pudding, but I don’t know if I’d like date pudding. Have any of you ever had this?

 

 

 

 

 

 Again, more of her mother’s recipes that I can barely make out.

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I’m sure you can see how old and discolored these papers are. Notice in the upper left corner a sheet of more recent paper…and by more recent, I mean probably from the 70′s.

 

 

 

 

 

Ooooh here’s an oldie.

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 Check out that paper disinegration.

 

 

 

 

Again, more old paper against new-ER paper.

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This here was a good find. Her orange cookies were AMAZING, and she made an even better glaze to go on top. Again, a usual Christmas recipe, and one of my mom’s favorites.  

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I can’t wait to fill my new kitchen with Christmas goodies. Hopefully I can restrain myself.

 

 

 

 

This will be our first Christmas in our new house, and I am SO excited. I can’t wait to decorate, light Christmas-scented candles, and obnoxiously bake cookies that could feed a small country.

 

 

 

And then obnoxiously eat them all in one sitting. Yes, I can’t wait.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 How cute is this paper?!

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I love this one because it is either my mom or aunt’s handwriting, most likely from when they were my age. They were obviously planning a party, perhaps one of their wedding or baby showers, as the list reads chicken salad, lemonade, fruit salad, deviled eggs, stuffed celery, and…

 

cleaned lettuce…?

 

 

Would someone actually serve dirty lettuce?

 

 

 

 

At one moment I started to panic because she had recipes organized and clipped together by paper clips.

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I obviously took them apart, but I didn’t like taking them apart since she was the last to handle them.

 

 

 

 

 

I think this is really a true treasure.

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Hand-written recipes in a very old recipe book. Most of these are written in pencil, too. The paper is so old it is practically crumbling.

 

 

 

 

 

OK – a recipe on a NAPKIN.

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This takes the cake. Who saves this? Why not write it on paper!?

 

 

 

 

This napkin has seen better days. 

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 It appears to be about 212 years old in napkin years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is one BIG reason that I looked through these recipes. I wanted and NEEDED to find a certain recipe.

 

 

For my sanity, for my mom’s, my cousin Lacy’s, and probably every other person who had ever came in contact with Mother Lovett.

 

 

We didn’t ever think we would find it. We didn’t even think it was written down.

 

 

 

 

And after about 5 phone calls to my mom earlier in the evening, telling her ‘I found this, I found that,’ I finally found what we all had been looking for.

 

  

 

 

This is HUGE.

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Her pie crust was TO DIE FOR. I wish I could tell you in person because really, it was incredible.

 

 

 

And I found the recipe.

 

 

 

Then fainted.

 

 

 

 

Then regained conciousness.

 

 

 

Then ate a cookie to make sure I was alive.

 

 

 

Not only was I alive, but I had found the recipe that has alluded us all for many, many years. Even if you were with her while she was making a pie crust, it was impossible to figure out her recipe. And if you asked for it, she said she just knew how to make it and couldn’t find the recipe. And to be honest, we rarely asked, because we were convinced she was immortal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Another VERY old sheet of paper.

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 Wow, probably one of the oldest in there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I came across this – a recipe was written on the back.

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It was a subscription letter to my grandmother’s FATHER.

 

 

 

 

 

 I don’t know if you can make it out, but they offered him a year subscription for $1.00.

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Good deal!

 

 

 

 

 

 

A letter addressed to my mother right after she was born.

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Can you see the date? You do the math.

 

 

 

 

 

There were a couple recipes from newpapers tucked in with the others.

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 Check out that date!

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We found many, many old, saved items in her house. Some we deemed ridiculous, others reasonable. She lived during The Depression, so naturally she saved EVERYTHING.

 

 

 

 

Including a bottle of soy sauce that expired in 1978 and hairspray from the 40′s.

 

 

 

 

Not quite sure what she was planning on doing with that…

 

 

 

 

 

I love this last picture. This stirred the most emotion in me. I felt lucky and special to hold this, and at the same time my heart absolutely went out to the woman writing this. I want to frame these.

  

 

 

 IMG_0925A letter written to a prospective employer – I guess today we could call it a ‘cover letter.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There were two letters. One sent to ‘gentlemen’ at the local newspaper, and the other sent to a female at the post office.  There was no resume to send, as my grandmother had been a homemaker since she got married – which I believe was her dream – to cook, clean and raise a family.

 

 

However, she was recently widowed, and it was time to find work.

 

 

 

 

 My, my, how times have changed.

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Her qualifications included typing, bookkeeping, answering phones, and following instructions.

Not much out of the ordinary, right?

 

 

But it was a few lines down that got me. She writes:

 

‘I am intelligent, have a pleasing personality and present an attractive appearance.’

 

 

I told you she was beautiful, right? She failed to include this part in her letter to the female at the post office.

 

 

Some things never change.

 

 

 

Us women have always had a bit of power over men. :)

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60 Responses to “Treasures.”

  1. #
    1
    sly0208 — September 25, 2009 @ 11:15 am

    I was just tag surfing along, when I came across your post.

    Just wanted to say, WOW, what an amazing and wonderful treasure you have there! That’s so wonderful! How very, very priceless…

    Reply

  2. #
    2
    VeggieGirl — September 25, 2009 @ 11:31 am

    I too received my grandmother’s old recipes – true treasures, for sure.

    Reply

  3. #
    3
    Lindsay @ bananaandchocolate — September 25, 2009 @ 11:38 am

    What a treasure! It’s a little bit like having her there with you whenever you make one of her recipes!

    Reply

  4. #
    4
    Mellissa — September 25, 2009 @ 11:55 am

    My grandma on my dads side has similar recipes that are amazing! I hope I get a few one day.

    Reply

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    5
    bluestocking — September 25, 2009 @ 12:00 pm

    What a wonderful post! My mom recently put together a family recipe book which includes a lot of things she and my grandmothers, friends and other family made when I was growing up. What a treasure you have!

    Reply

  6. #
    6
    DiningAndDishing — September 25, 2009 @ 12:29 pm

    I am loving following this story! I bet she would be pleased to know you are creating such a lovely tribute on your blog :O)

    - Beth @ http://www.DiningAndDishing.com

    Reply

  7. #
    7
    Montana Eats — September 25, 2009 @ 1:02 pm

    Ah, grandmothers. My grandma had boxes of old recipes and newspaper clippings and books and books of handwritten recipes. I’m so glad my mom saved them.

    Reply

  8. #
    8
    Jillian — September 25, 2009 @ 2:02 pm

    You truly indeed have a treasure! I posted about my Aunt Mary’s recipes on my blog. I have her small recipe box with all kinds of goodies on paper similar to your grandmother’s.

    My mom still has my grandmother’s recipes and I look forward to looking through them in the near future. Might have to do that this weekend. She made the best homemade layered Pineapple Cake. I miss you, Grandma.

    I will be checking back in to see all the good things you make from those treasured recipes. :)

    Reply

  9. #
    9
    LJ — September 25, 2009 @ 2:30 pm

    Thanks for the add on FoodBuzz. I’m new. But I’m glad this caused me to wander in. Love the personal spin you’ve got here on the recipes. I feel the same way. I’ve got some handwritten ones too from my family over the years. Love that personal touch it gives the food itself.

    Reply

  10. #
    10
    Roberta — September 25, 2009 @ 3:21 pm

    These are so precious Jessica…you might want to check out this site: http://createmycookbook.com/home
    You can scan the original hand-written recipes and then type the acurate details and make a family recipe book…a copy for each family member…they can go on line and order their own copy once you are done. I’m making one now for my boys…that’s how I started my blog posts and “tasty kitchen” so that I could gather everything for my boys in their own printed memory recipe book. I’m including family photos of all the occasions when we served ribs for family bar-b-ques…and cookoo cookies for christmas, etc. Hope this helps, Roberta

    Reply

  11. #
    11
    Lele — September 25, 2009 @ 3:31 pm

    My family did the EXACT SAME THING. Once we passed “we can’t believe she’s gone”, we hit “OH MY GOD WE HAVE TO SAVE HER RECIPES!”

    Reply

  12. #
    12
    Jennie — September 25, 2009 @ 4:14 pm

    That’s awesome. I love having recipes from family and friends, especially when they are in their handwriting. I have a fill-in 3-ring binder recipe book so I can write in it or add cards or whatever, and when I get a recipe from a family member or friend, I usually ask them to hand write it out for me so that, years from now, I’ll still have that little piece of them with me. Sentimental, I suppose, but I love my cookbook for that very reason :)

    Reply

  13. #
    13
    Kristen (Friends With Salad) — September 25, 2009 @ 4:15 pm

    Your grandmother sounded so wonderful and sassy :)

    Reply

  14. #
    14
    lowandbhold — September 25, 2009 @ 4:42 pm

    Oh this is so sweet! Both of my Grandmother’s write/wrote out their recipes in the same manner.

    My mom now has her mom’s recipes and they will be handed down to me. Such a great tradition. My mom always seems extra proud of a dish she makes when it was one of her mom’s recipes.

    Hope you enjoy trying out that pie crust!

    Reply

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    15
    Nixie — September 25, 2009 @ 5:01 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. It is a wonderful entry. I found some of my grandmother’s old recipes a few years after she died and the memories they brought up were so nice. And even if they are not a relative’s recipes, the history in old recipes is amazing. Some of my grandmother’s were from WW2 and had some crazy substitution items in them.

    I have a favor to ask of you, too. Will you share your grandmother’s Never Fail Pie Crust Recipe? My grandmother had a recipe card for her pie crust that was the same title. We have never found it and I am wondering if it might be the same recipe.

    I am really enjoying your blog!

    Reply

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    Naomi — September 25, 2009 @ 5:31 pm

    so amazing! grandmothers are crazy sometimes! my grandmothers has ALL her recipes too! and I am sure some of them are written out on napkins :) will you be making any of her creations??

    Reply

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    17
    Lizzy — September 25, 2009 @ 6:36 pm

    Awww LOVE this!! which recipe are you going to make 1st!!??? I hope your having a great weekend!!

    Reply

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    donna — September 25, 2009 @ 7:43 pm

    What a wonderful legacy your grandmother left behind. Cherish and enjoy!

    Reply

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    carascravings — September 25, 2009 @ 8:15 pm

    What a great piece of history.

    I always say, the sign of a really good recipe, is how dirty the page is in the recipe book.

    It is so special that you can cherish the memories of your Grandma through something that you both love!

    Reply

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    20
    foodieinthecity — September 26, 2009 @ 9:18 am

    I just found your blog, and I am so glad I did.

    I love this post, I can totally relate. When my grandma passed away last year, my mom received the handwritten recipe for her famous sugar cookies. We are going to frame it :)

    Reply

  21. #
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    Kelly — September 26, 2009 @ 7:50 pm

    so awesome…mammie lived through the depression with 8 kids, so needless to say when she moved out of “our” house we found lots of fun stuff. makes me wonder what our kids and grandkids and even great grandkids will cherish when we’re gone.

    Reply

  22. #
    22
    Koko — September 27, 2009 @ 2:35 am

    I just discovered your blog and I have to tell you that I recently discovered two jam-packed boxes full of my Granny’s hand-written recipes. What a true TREASURE. I, too was shaken up by seeing her familiar writing. I can’t wait to use some of her special recipes, and I hope you have a great time using yours!!

    Reply

  23. #
    23
    Julie — September 27, 2009 @ 3:54 pm

    Oh wow. This post brought tears to my eyes. What a treasure you have there. I have a few recipes that I treasure, but nothing like this. When we moved into our new home I wanted something special in my kitchen. I asked several family members to handwrite one of their recipes on a piece of paper for me. I then took those recipes and framed them. I now have a wall of recipes. One from my mom, McD’s mom and grandmother. It is one of my favorite walls in our home.

    Love your blog, can’t wait to read more. Thanks for the friend on Tasty Kitchen.

    Reply

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    peanutbutterfingers — September 27, 2009 @ 7:40 pm

    one of the greatest family treasured you could ever hope to have. yay!!

    Reply

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    Natalie — September 28, 2009 @ 10:22 am

    What an amazing post! that is so cool that you have those to keep. Not only will they come in handy, but how special! i am loving your blog!

    Reply

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    carley — October 25, 2010 @ 10:32 am

    I know this is an old post I’m commenting on, but I just found your blog after reading another blog we both read. I grew a bit teary reading this post. I too lost my grandmother recently, January 2010. I too reside in the Pittsburgh area and love to cook and bake. Like you, the only thing I wanted from my grandmother was her recipes, which I have in my new home (and got not long before we moved). I also sat and read through everything, felt weepy and excited at seeing the old paper and handwritten recipes, laughed at the newspaper cutouts and odd letters she saved. Did I mention a recipe on a napkin? :)

    Your blog made me smile today, and for that, I thank you. :)

    Reply

  27. #
    27
    Melanie @ SpareTimeBaker — October 26, 2010 @ 5:53 am

    I also found this post linked to one of your newer ones, after clicking on your link from another blog we both follow :)

    I just wanted to tell you that my mom & grandma’s recipes are EXACTLY like that! The eclectic collection, the old newspaper articles, the spidery writing (incidentally, my momma was also born in 1949 :))…My grandma is the best baker and cook I know, and I know she doesn’t use actual written recipes either, and some of the ones she’s written down are difficult to follow! AND – my grandma and mom also make to-die-for orange cookies with a yummy glaze that they make every Christmas!!!!!!!!!! The two favorite recipes from my grandma are her cinnamon rolls (no one’s can compare) and her “Gobs” — which are widely known as Whoopie Pies.

    I’m glad I found your blog – I think we may be kindred spirits!! :)

    Reply

  28. #
    28
    Alexa — December 8, 2010 @ 11:28 pm

    I have to say, I teared up multiple times while reading this post. I lost my grandmother, or Oma, as we called her two years ago, and the day I had to say good bye to her, I made her the promise that I would continue to bake her Christmas cookies every year, just like she did. I kept the tradition alive, and like you, I feel nothing is more sentimental and dear to me than when I hold her recipes in my hands.
    Thanks for sharing :)

    Reply

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    29
    Sani — August 16, 2011 @ 7:32 am

    I’ve just read over your posts about Mother Lovett.
    You’re very lucky to have experienced that much love, and I’m sure she’s so very proud of you.
    Keep those recipes safe, and keep living life to the fullest, just like her.

    Reply

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    30
    Laura — August 21, 2011 @ 9:21 pm

    This is totally 2 years later then you wrote your post, BUT I had to write this to you. When my grandmother died I also wanted her recipes. I also got them, my aunt held on to the them for me and mailed the box to me(I lived out of state). So i’m going through the box and vaguely see the words, “Grandma loved you very much” I almost died right there!! Oh my gawd my Gma was contacting me from the other side!! No…not at all….my aunt that mailed me the recipe box had tucked a little note in the middle of some recipes. Not only that though there are some recipes in there that just end, a list of ingredients with no directions for after. Some of them miss measurements for the ingredients. I kept them all anyway I just like to see her handwriting.
    The best recipe of all, the one for “Bloomer Droppers” lots of vodka in that one!!

    Reply

  31. #
    31
    Carlotta — October 7, 2011 @ 12:00 am

    “elude” and “allude” have different meanings — when you wrote that the recipes had alluded you for many years, the correct word should have been eluded. Thanks.

    Reply

  32. #
    32
    Amber — October 19, 2011 @ 7:16 pm

    I just stumbled across this post and I just felt the need to share my own experience. I recently ransacked my grandmother’s kitchen (she’s thankfully still alive) to find all of my favorite recipes of hers so I could type them up, and while doing so I stumbled across some of my great-grandmother’s recipes. Such great finds! The funniest were recipes that included things like cleaning tips or tips on how to “have a happy marriage” such as keeping alcohol out of the house (haha, yeah right). I feel a little sad typing everything up, because nothing quite compares to reading my great-grandmother’s old family recipes in her beautiful handwriting, but at least I know I can pass it all on when I have kids of my own. :)

    Reply

  33. #
    33
    Heather — November 29, 2011 @ 5:21 pm

    Hey Jess! I was browsing through your website (I chose browsing because DROOLING sounded creepy – and would probably wreck my computer) when I came across this post.

    I’m sure you already know – and it’s been two years since you wrote this post – but you are so incredibly lucky to have these recipes and these memories and these treasures (as you so aptly named your post).

    Truthfully, I couldn’t be more jealous of you. It wasn’t until last year or so that I wanted to really learn to cook and bake, and it wasn’t until earlier THIS year that I discovered my adored Aunty Marj loved to bake as a hobby in the evenings (she lived a couple thousand kilometers away from me, so I was never lucky enough to try everything). She would finish up the dinner dishes and set out to bake up something different every night. And after she passed away, it never even occurred to me to snap up her recipe books and cards. Now I have no idea what happened to everything. I would much rather have HER than anything else, but if I could have anything of hers now, it would be those recipes.

    Thank you for sharing!

    Reply

  34. #
    34
    Kelsy — March 29, 2012 @ 12:05 am

    Hello! I am a wee bit late to the game here but I’ve been doing some hardcore stalking of your blog today. It’s amazing. Just saying.
    Anyway, that recipe for date pudding? Put it to use! I live in New Zealand and date pudding (more accurately – sticky date pudding) is a big deal, and there’s a good reason for that. It tastes super rich and caramelly. You wouldn’t guess there were dates in it. And it’s usually served doused in amazing toffee sauce. Try it, it’s gorgeous.
    Your grandmother’s recipes are beautiful! My grandmother’s look just like that and her kitchen is going to be a mission to clean out eventually. Her sewing rooms will be worse. Goodness. I almost want to go and start copying out recipes now. How morbid of me!

    Reply

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    Tina — October 21, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

    WOW! Loved your story! I had an aunt who collected recipes like these…from newspapers and friends and such. She left them to me along with her cookbooks…I treasure them all….even 2…Mike Roy (famous chef at the time) cookbooks…signed! I also have a recipe or two on the “cute” paper you have! How strange is that? Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  36. #
    36
    GiGi — February 1, 2013 @ 3:09 pm

    Would you please give us a written recipe for the Date Pudding? Mom made date nut balls at Christmas time, but never date pudding. My Brother and I loved the date nut balls. Now that she is gone, I can still remember the taste in my mouth…yum!

    Tks. GiGi

    Reply

  37. #
    36.1
    Jessica — September 25, 2009 @ 1:24 pm

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Reply

  38. #
    36.1.1
    Jessica — September 25, 2009 @ 1:24 pm

    That’s a great idea. I may work on something similar.

    Reply

  39. #
    36.1
    Jessica — September 25, 2009 @ 5:13 pm

    Thanks alot! :)

    Reply

  40. #
    36.1.1
    Jessica — September 25, 2009 @ 5:15 pm

    Hi Nixie. Thanks for stoppin’ by! I have not decided if I am going to post the exact recipe for the pie crust on my blog just yet. First off, I want to try and make it myself, which will probably happen within the next few days. I would be more than happy to share it with you through email though, so shoot me an email and I will gladly respond. :)

    Reply

  41. #
    36.1
    Jessica — September 25, 2009 @ 5:15 pm

    Sassy is a perfect word. :)

    Reply

  42. #
    36.1
    Jessica — September 26, 2009 @ 8:45 am

    I am not sure which it make first! I have made many of these with her, but I can’t decide which one to attempt alone.

    Reply

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