Monday, December 14, 2009
In shopping for Christmas presents, or should I say, my favorite part...stocking stuffers, I came across a gift that will be given to someone who shall remain nameless for now. I also can't go in to a lot of detail about the gift because then I would give it away, but I did find some things very interesting that I want to share with you now because what I learned explains so much about what I have been finding as I cook my way through my Grandma's recipe boxes. There is a writer, by the name of Marianne Banes, who has written an article called "How to Read a Recipe". It would seem like she wrote this article, just to explain to me why my Grandma's recipes often lack so many details. She starts by taking us back 200 years ago where in the US recipes were more like notes about favorite dishes. These notes were passed on from grandmother to mother to daughter while they spent hours together in the kitchen. Sometimes these notes or recipes would simply contain the list of ingredients (I have seen several of these in my Grandma's recipe box) with very few instructions (how many times have I mentioned this so far in my short time posting about my Grandma's recipes). Marianne writes that "early recipes were often referred to as "receipts" to differentiate between a doctors orders to pharmacists called "recipes", both from the Latin word recipere, meaning "to take"." Later (mid nineteenth century), the word "recipe" became the more generally accepted word used in Europe and America as the common term for culinary directions in cookbooks. The rest of her article breaks down how a recipe should be properly written so that anyone preparing the dish, would know what to do...boy have I needed some of that recently. So, if you have a few minutes...look back over the recipe's I have posted..what you will see is that in many cases, I have simply provided a list of ingredients and the secrets to the preparation have been left "in the kitchen".