Recipe Box Show and Tell

OK, I’m playing the game they have cooked up over at MasonDixon Knitting regarding recipe boxes. My mother’s recipe box/system was the subject of family jokes. Her box was not the tidy little Grant’s or Kresge’s index card box. She had an old Harry and David fruit of the month club box.

We lived in a rambling 1912 house with a front and back stair. The recipe box lived on the landing of the back stair. In the winter, the box with mittens and hats lived on top of the recipe box. This was a Big Box. Full of recipes she had torn from Family Circle or Woman’s Day, scribbled down somewhere, or received from friend. The scribbled ones were generally sketchy – just a list of ingredients.

The summer I was getting ready to go off to university and get my own apartment, she thought of the perfect birthday present. My sister, who was a freshman in HS and learning to type, would type out a selection of recipes from the box for me to take away to school.

All these years later I still have and use that binder, as you can see, full of my sister’s creative spelling and typing.


The binder is divided into two sections. Green for sweets, yellow for everything else.

I’ve selected a sampling of recipes, one sweet, one everything else.


This liver recipe is everything else. If you like liver, and maybe if you don’t, it’s pretty good. As I recall.

The sweet recipe is Aunt Ruth’s Apple Cake, also known as Aunt Ruth’s Jewish Apple Cake. Since Aunt Ruth was about as Irish Catholic as they come, I’m not sure where the Jewish part came in. A neighbor? It’s good, and I’ve even made in the past ten years. If anyone wants this I’d be happy email a more legible copy.


A bonus item? An attempt at drafting the Walsh family tree in my mother’s handwriting:




5 responses to “Recipe Box Show and Tell

  1. Wonderful box! And I can almost smell the drips and stains on those recipes.

  2. Great box! I love that it lived on the stairs.

  3. I love stuff like this. The old Harry & David box brings back memories, especially of gorging on pears when they all started ripening at the same time.

    What a wonderful present, typos and all! My late grandmother went through her recipe book (an old datebook with handwritten recipes on various pages, and NY Times clippings folded up in eighths) and typed up a variety of recipes, then photocopied them and put them in scrapbooks for my sister and me. I’m so glad she went to the trouble. I’ll be making three copies from mine for my kids when they’re ready to leave home.

  4. This is amazing! I would dearly love to find something like that in my house! I dug up an old Edwardian button in our garden once! also a later Art Deco tile! πŸ˜€ I love finding items from long ago that tells a story all by itself and about the owner.

    Excellent post! πŸ˜€

  5. Pingback: Procrastination Must Be Genetic | Yarnerinas

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