Collections | Family Recipes

I always say some of the best things in life are old.  My collection of family recipes are no exception.  I am now the holder of a recipe box and cook books from both of my maternal great grandmothers.  They were given to me by my mother.  I think she understands and appreciates my love for family history.  

They give me such a clear picture of my family.  What times were like back then, what foods were favored by my grandparents, and a little about who they were as the matriarch of their family. 
This box belonged to my Greatgrandma Lattin, my grandpa's mother.  There are probably 15 different doughnut recipes in this box, each one offering something a little different.  She fed her men that worked on the farm all day.  I suppose doughnuts are a good way to start the day.

This recipe is one of my favorites from the box.  We don't live in an age where delousing a chicken is necessary, so reading this gives me a little chuckle.  It's almost feels like she wrote this recipe down for someone to read in the future.  How much is .10 cents worth of potassium permanganate today?


The two Betty Crocker cookbooks offer a very telling story about my greatgrandmothers.  Each one completely different from the other. 

Greatgrandma Clark's seems like it wasn't used much.  There are a few loose recipes stuffed in the back, but otherwise it appears to be untouched.  I know she cooked because grandma told me stories about her mother cooking all day for her and her five brothers and sisters.  Perhaps because the depression made them so poor, she cooked what she had available and that didn't require a recipe.  Maybe as an older woman, she no longer cooked much.   


Greatgrandma Lattin's Betty Crocker tells a different story.  Oddly, I see a lot of myself in this book.  It's a lot like a journal with the pages marked up and things glued here and there.  She covered the outside with plaid paper.  Maybe because it was falling apart or maybe to look pretty on the shelf.


I always glue an envelope in the back of my journal for extras and she has done the same.  It's filled with folded papers bearing more recipes.


She wrote on whatever was available.  I wonder if she was in a hurry and needed paper quick, or was she resourceful and didn't waste good paper?  I like to think she was resourceful.  She also took the time to add her own extra pages to the book.  She cut the paper to size, marked the five binder holes and punched them out.  Some of the additional recipes are placed in the correct category and some, perhaps her favorites, are found in the front of the book.  Almost everything is written in pencil. 


When you open her book, the 303 valuable household tips pamphlet is glued to the first page.  Free information from the bank for housewives.  It has been used, and additional tips added throughout the pages, including one for tight shoes.


There is a note talking about using alcohol to help with tight shoes, but then a word of caution is glued in a few pages later. 


The ladies column says not to soak your shoes in alcohol but rather, use your husbands socks.  Wear the socks around the house with your shoes on.  That should do the trick.

The pamphlet is like today's pinterest.  A hard copy of someone's household tips board.  Several of them are still applicable.

This collection is one of my most valuable.  I spend more time looking at them than cooking anything from them.  Not only are they hard to read, but understanding what .10 cents worth of this or that in today's terms is a bit tricky.  I'm constantly asking my mom and grandma questions about these women.  I wish I had the opportunity to sit around a table with them to hear about their lives, but seeing the joy on my mom's face when she talks about her grandma's is pretty special as well. 

What family collection do you have that you treasure?