Wednesday, January 6, 2016 / 17 Comments

Grandma's Cookbooks

Some of my favorite treasures in the world are not things that hold any monetary value but things that hold emotional value. To me something that makes you emotional, especially happy, are worth their weight in gold.

For me that would be my grandmother's cookbooks.

My grandparents owned several restaurants. That was what they 
did. Cook. When my grandpa was 13 and lived in the country both of his parents were sick and poor and he had a younger brother. He went to work in an ice cream shop and moved his family into the back of the store. 

Later in life my grandpa became a State Legislator because he loved people, wanted to make a change and was good with people. It didn't matter what your political affiliation was...grandpa didn't care... he knew everyone would respond to food. 

It was the common denominator in everything.

His whole life was about food and people. My grandmother had to help feed all those people and plan all of those meals. 

Oh the parties they had over the years were amazing. Delicious food, beautiful outfits, great entertainment and the conversations were unforgettable.

All of it was centered around food.

Everyone was invited. My grandpa didn't discriminate. From the man on the street corner to the richest man in town. 

He and my grandmother had a knack of bringing people together. 

It was partly the food.

My heart was broken when I had my second house fire a few years ago and I thought I lost the last of the cookbooks my grandmother had given me.

As a total fluke last Fall....I was going through a burned plastic container in the barn and I found one. 

My grandma carefully indexed the front of the cookbooks with each recipe she used inside....most of them hers but some from some of her friends.

They were always church cookbooks.

Like Irma's Fruit Soup. Oh Irma was a big lady and so much fun and boy could she cook.

Then there was Marion's Red Cabbage and Apple Salad. We are all German and Lutheran so cabbage always made it into the church cookbook. In many places. Marion was married to the most awkward cranky man ever.

Then in  this particular cookbook grandma's friend Rose submitted her Chicken and Rice recipe. My grandma didn't submit it because she and grandpa had left that church. They refused to fly the American flag to support the church members relatives that were oversees fighting the war. Grandpa's opinion was... if they can lay down their lives for us the least we could do was support them.

Each cookbook was signed... from Grandma and Grandpa.

   I was tickled pink when I found out. Most of the recipes I have memorized but sometimes you forget a few tweaks. 

My heart is so full. Having the cookbook is like being in the kitchen with them. 

They had his and hers kitchens in their home. Oh the stories I could tell.

How about you? Do you hold onto your family cookbooks?

I'd love to hear.


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  1. We never had any family cookbooks. Or recipes written down that I recall. You've had two house fires??? What are the odds of that?

    1. Brenda I know it's crazy. One, I rented a condo and was at work. A plumber was defrosting a frozen pipe next door with a blow torch and caught the insulation on fire.

      The 2nd was Black Friday 2012. I came home from a friends house and I smelled fire and an outlet in the boys room set the house ablaze. I was the only one home. We lost 2 dogs in the fire. We don't think they were burned but maybe took off. It was terrible. The Fire Marshall said, "fastest burning fire he had ever seen in 20 years."

  2. What a blessing to have your grandparent's recipes. I treasure the one recipe card in my late mom's handwriting. It always makes me smile when I make it. Wish I had learned to cook from her, she was a fantastic cook.
    Enjoy your newfound treasures!

  3. So happy you found it. I know how treasured it is for you.
    when I asked one of 3 grandgirls graduating high school in the spring what she wanted for graduation...she instantly said "a cookbook with all your good recipes...and some of Mom's, too.."
    I was totally shocked. and then I thought, what a great idea...now, all of the grands going out on their own want one, too. My daughter is going to help me put together something really cool, with recipes and family photos.
    if you have any suggestions on how to do all of it, please let me know....it seems like a huge job to me but am so anxious to get things started.

  4. This post brought a tear to my eye, Valerie! I'm so glad your found that cookbook - how sad to lose the rest in the fire - they are irreplaceable for sure! I'm sure this cookbook will have a place of honor when you build your new home. Hugs to you, Valerie!!

  5. Good Afternoon Valerie, I loved this story about your grandparents. I too have my Grandmother Ivy's cookery book. She was such an influence in my life and it was because of her cooking that I grew to love cooking so much. She was a champion baker and there was always something in the oven or on top of the stove cooking.
    I am so pleased that you did not lose your grandparents cookery books in the fire, (but I am so sad you experienced such a dreadful thing) because as you say, they are more precious than gold.
    It is lovely to meet you.
    Best wishes from England.

  6. I have a cookbook written by my great grandfather who was the Chef at the Glendale Sanitarium (like a health retreat in the day) in the early 1900s. I have two pristine copies, but the one in my blog post shows his signature, Carl Johnson. Margaret Johnson was one of his daughters and my aunt. - Margy

    1. I forgot the link http://powellriverbooks.blogspot.com/2014/02/the-fannie-farmer-cookbook.html - Margy

  7. I wish my grandparent had done something like that all I have is my memories of cooking with her and bits I have put together with family.My kids will have my blog. Thanks for sharing on Rose Chintz Cottage.

  8. How wonderful! I don't have any of my grandmothers recipes. Every now and then I found a recipe from my Mother stuck in a cookbook of mine. I'm "downsizing" my cookbooks and am very careful to check to see what might be "stuck" inside. Enjoy those recipes!

  9. Hi Valerie,
    What a lovely post about your grandparents! They sound like wonderful and dear folks. I have my Granny's recipe book which she started when she was in school at about the age of fourteen. It's in very poor condition and many of the pages are loose and stained. But it holds such precious memories for me. My Granny was the best cook and I adored her. I have made some of her recipes from that book but many of my recipes came from my mother who also made Granny's wonderful cakes and scones. I made my Granny's donuts for Christmas. I actually make them every year. I really enjoyed your post and thank you for sharing it with No Place Like Home.


  10. What a wonderful thing to have your grandparents recipes. I only have a couple from one grandma and a couple from my mom. No one bothered to write them down. I did get the ones from my grandma personally because I asked for them. And my mom's was one I helped her make. I think it might be a good idea for me to start a cookbook for my kids and grandkids. With the computer it shouldn't be so hard.

  11. Happy Weekend Valerie! I am just stopping by to let you know I will be featuring this post at No Place Like Home on Monday.


  12. Two fires! Two too many! So happy you found this; what a treasure!!!
    Thanks so much for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY!

  13. I just swoon when I pull out handwritten recipe cards from my mother and grandmother. They are so special. Love the little note in your cookbook from Grandma and Grandpa. How sweet!

  14. Dear Valerie:
    I love that you hold in esteem the things of the past and value these wonderful old cookbooks. I think you did come with a great heritage in your family and how wonderful to honor them with this tribute! Thank you for sharing and linking!

  15. I have a church cookbook from Grandmom and it is from FL. They have many different seasonal fruits featured in it that I love to bake into cakes and pies. It is splattered too from one of Grandma's creations! Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home!


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