Updating Old Recipes

Vintage Recipes

Grandma’s recipe is a family favorite and a must have at every reunion, but as time goes by many family recipes are lost. Preserving recipes by placing them in a family cookbook is a great way to ensure that they will be around for generations to come. However, making sure a recipe can be recreated from the original is another thing altogether.

A generation or two back, many cooks measured ingredients with eyes and hands rather than measuring cups and spoons, and baking times were judged by smell and a quick peek rather than setting a timer. Today’s young cooks and those of tomorrow will be more reliant on exact instructions when cooking or baking. Figuring out grandma’s formula now will take the guess work out for people who never had the chance to taste the dish first hand.

Take time to recreate important heirloom recipes in the kitchen while making notes. This is a great way to make sure all steps are recorded. Ensure that all ingredients have measurements and there is a clear description of what they are. For brand name items, you may want to include a brief description of what the item is as some products may be discontinued or changed. Note the sizes of packages or cans as they may change over time so include the number of ounces a container contains.

Be descriptive in the directions. Include information like the size of baking pan needed and how items should be combined. Include a brief description on how long to stir or whip something and what it should look like when done. Finally, make sure baking and cooking times/temperatures are listed along with a description of what the final product looks like and how it should be served/stored.

There will always be some factors that can’t be controlled in recreating a recipe to make it perfectly like grandmas. Ingredients may change over time and even the difference between farm fresh and store bought can change the flavor, but by updating grandma’s recipe now you will ensure it will be enjoyed for generations to come. 

When including grandma’s recipe in a cookbook consider placing a scanned image of the hand written version on the front or back of a divider then start that category off with the recipe printed out. Including handwritten recipes in a cookbook is a great way to preserve a loved one’s handwriting. With many schools no longer teaching cursive writing, providing a printed version of the recipe is a great way to ensure it will be readable in the future.

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