When I started this blog, I wanted to preserve my personal food history by documenting the recipes from my past and present. And then I walked into an antique store in Fairbanks and met the nicest woman who offered me two cookbooks from her family’s collection, one from 1867 and the other from 1923. I flipped through the fragile pages and saw entire generations’ histories. Each book had a faceless woman’s history, written out on the dog eared pages with notes in the margins, and written recipes on the blank pages in the front of the book, each one with a special note indicating they would feed 50-60 people. My guess would be for family reunions, weddings, and other milestones.
In each of the books, there are special sections written for housekeepers. In the cookbook from 1867, there’s a section devoted to household agendas like making dyes and soap and home remedies for ailments. It’s an all-in-one for the home cooks whose histories unfolded in their home kitchens.
My mission now is to both preserve these old recipes and breathe a little life back into them by making them relevant for today’s diner. For me, relevance means a number of adaptations, whether it’s making the recipes gluten free or without the one pound (yes, I said pound) of butter. I’ll share the original recipes from these cookbooks and the adaptations.
You’ll notice many of the old recipes do not have measurements, cooking temperatures or times. Back in olden day, apparently cooking was more intuitive, I imagine because it was a woman’s profession and they were experts in their own culinary worlds. I admire the hell of out that, and I’m hoping this journey will help me become a master in my own kitchen and will help you become a master in yours.