Old cookbooks. Not quite a diary, journal or commonplace book, but they have their similarities. If you pick up an old cookbook you’ll often find handwritten notes in the margin and the back, or you may stumble across one of these bound recipe books.
I picked this one up at a local market, and the newspaper clippings still inside date back to the 1940s. The book itself was a bound Recipe Index and the owner has carefully added recipes over the years, but it’s well used and as you can see the cover is gone and some of the pages are loose.
In between recipes for home-kill rabbit, gelatin molds and casseroles, there are some great recipes that you’d be hard pressed to find in any modern off-the-shelf cookbook, like this one for a Ginger Beer Tree. They are a great slice of life from generations ago, and there’s something to be said about creating a recipe from someone’s handwritten note rather than a glossy page or a touchscreen.
If you get a good book it goes without saying the writer was a regular cook and that they liked the recipe enough to copy and keep it somewhere safe. You can buy cookbooks by the trolleyload, either new or second-hand, but if you want to find something “like Grandma used to make”, including tips and tricks that you wouldn’t find in a usual cookbook, you can’t go wrong with these books.
There’s a huge trend nowadays for minimalist living, homesteading and using natural products. Most of the ‘new’ tricks are straight from the old reference books written by the folk who made it through the Depression.
I’ll blog some good recipes in the future, I may even try them out myself before I release them to the world.