Cookbooks and Nostalgia

Farmers Market Pumpkins

While at the Gallatin Valley Farmers Market this past weekend, I bought a zucchini for fifty cents.

I am a sucker for zucchini bread. It always reminds me of fall.

All I needed was a recipe. I went directly to my resource collection.

My favorite recipe stockpile

I would venture to guess any female over the age of 35 most likely owns (or has owned) a recipe book that looks similar to this.

Tons of random recipes, either daintily handwritten on cute little recipe cards, organized alphabetically by category, or like mine, some handwritten family gems from my late mother-in-law (when she could still hold a pen before Parkinson’s Disease seized her delicate grip) along with a plethora of ripped out magazine pages with recipes that look amazing, but have never been cooked. At least not in my kitchen.

Little did I know, my hunt for a single recipe would turn into a trip down memory lane, resulting in this blog post.

Exploding recipes

Truth be told, I usually go on-line and Google any recipe that comes to mind. It’s so much more efficient – and saves endless amounts of time. As you will notice, my recipes aren’t quite the picture of organization. They were at one time.

Perhaps the day I bought the book.

A place for everything...

In fact, once upon a time, I painstakingly went through this book, section by section, making personalized labels for all the recipes in my ever-growing collection, and then filed each little priceless recipe according to its category.

That moment of glorious order was fleeting. As you may have noticed, I’m not so good about putting things back where I found them. That character flaw was practically my undoing as a kid.

Handwritten family recipes

Page after disastrous page, I turned, in search of my not-yet famous zucchini bread recipe. I’m not exactly the Pioneer Woman. Everything she touches looks as though it was spun from gold. I don’t quite have the same touch.

With another page turned, I instantly spied that familiar loopy, side-slanted handwriting that could only belong to one person.

My Grandma Helen.


This was one of my favorite meals as a kid, Halupki – the Russian version of stuffed cabbage. I remember Grandma Helen cooking at our house one time, and my mouth watered over the smell of cooked onions and pork. She always lets us sample as she cooked.

I loved that about her.

My Grandma Helen

This photo says it all. Looks like Thanksgiving at her house outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The mashed potatoes are so hot, they are steaming up the place! I am drooling just looking at it.

Grandma Helen usually spent Thanksgiving at home then came to visit us for two weeks at Christmas.

Style note: I am in love the curtains. Who knew G-Helen was a design maven? Also, loving her stylish top.

She was the best cookie baker in the entire world.  Bar none.

Recipe book cover

Eventually, I found the recipe I was searching for – and I baked my zucchini bread (sans sugar and oil, Sexy Hubby is trying to cut back.) Instead I used mashed bananas, and apple sauce. Not quite the same effect as when using processed sweetness, but much better for us.

It was “Made With Love.” 

And isn’t that the most important ingredient of all?


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11 thoughts on “Cookbooks and Nostalgia”

  1. I have a cookbook like yours! I’m not sure about the recipes, but I love to look at my grandma’s handwriting. I’m reminded of so much that she taught me.

  2. I have a cookbook with a note from my mom that some of the recipes predate world war 1 I think. Katie for Joe try Agave nectar. It’s like honey about the same calories as honey but way sweeter so you use less. Also I have a black bean brownie recipe he would love, lots of Chocolate and such. E mail me.

    1. Thanks for visiting Letters from Home!

      Heck with it, why buy a new one? I like the old ones. They have much more character!

      ps – i changed up the recipe, in trying to keep the sugars down for Sexy Hubby…not as good. Going back to the traditional recipe!

      Be sure to come back and visit AAL!


  3. I’m not 35. I’ll be 30 soon (yay!) and I have a very similar looking cookbook, given to me by my grandmother when I got married. It is now overflowing. With love. :)

    1. Dear Fire Mom,

      I love it! Isn’t it the best gift? And look at you, such a youngster!

      btw…love your blog name!

      Thanks for visiting AAL. Be sure to stop back!

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