Grandmas Recipe Box




I have my Grandma’s recipe box. When she passed away and I was asked what I would like of hers, it was the only thing I wanted. It’s a very old wooden box stuffed with index cards containing recipes. Some are typed, some handwritten. It’s organized with little category tabs like meats, desserts and cookies. The recipe box probably weighs about a pound, but it’s worth more than its weight in gold.

Grandma Martha gave me my introduction to the wonders of being in a kitchen and the wonders that could come out of it. She was one of those bakers who could also cook. And no matter the quality of or variety of  ingredients, she made them taste wonderful. Maybe as Chef Carla Hall says, the special ingredient that makes the difference was love. It didn’t make a difference to my family or me. We just loved eating at Grandma’s.

To this day, whenever anyone asks me what is my favorite type of cake, I instantly think of the dreamy all-white, buttery two-layer round cake with real whipped cream in the middle and lovingly frosted on every surface. When thinking of my favorite vegetables, I recall the parsnips, gently coated in flour and then pan-fried in butter, that rarely ever made it out of the kitchen and onto the table. No matter how  many she bought and how few people were there for dinner, the plate that went to the table was always rather anemic, while the lip-smacking from the kitchen could be heard around the world.

The recipes in the box also tell the story of family and friends from decades ago, many whom I never met. With handwritten notes like “Prizewinner” and “Nancy’s Favorite” or
Frank loves this” these notes connect me to a history that I can appreciate best in front of my oven and stove.

Grandpa Frank and Grandma Martha were world travelers and inevitably the recipe box is full of global influences from Mexican eggs to Moroccan couscous. And, while Grandpa Frank would regale all listeners, willing or not, with stories of his latest excursion, Grandma Martha would be in the kitchen, preparing an appropriate meal.Everyone who  loves to cook and/or travel was inspired along the way to discovering these passions. Who was your inspiration? Who was your Grandma Martha?

Diana Laskaris



THE QUICK BITE:  Some of the best recipes we ever know come from those we love and their recipe box. Here’s a story about one such classic Grandma recipe box.


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