Bonus recipes

I spent the better part of my day reorganizing my cookbook collection, adding the new volumes I purchased over the last few months. I had to do some serious rearranging because 2019 was such a great year for books that I ended up with more than I had planned. As I was moving items from one shelf to another, some papers fell out of a vintage book that I picked up at a thrift shop.

The papers turned out to be a photocopy of pages of an unknown cookbook, plus a handwritten recipe. This is not the first time I have discovered clippings or notes inside the pages of a thrift store find. Each time it makes me think about the life that cookbook lived before it ended up in my hands. I wonder what prompted the person to add these copies, and whether the foods were amazing or turned out to be a dud. In this case, the book was a 1953 edition of Joy of Cooking and the recipes had little in common with each other – one was for strudel and the other for gingersnaps.

I like to imagine what prompted the owner to tuck these particular recipes inside of the book. Did she attend a dinner party and enjoyed the dish so much she asked for the recipe? Was she chatting with friends who gushed over a gingersnap cookie they recently made? Did she go to the library and browse the stacks until something struck her fancy? The mystery shall remain ever unsolved, but I find that it adds to the allure.

Someday I might whip up a batch of the gingersnaps and learn whether they are worthy of the time it took to transcribe the recipe and tuck it away. As for the strudel, after wrestling with the finicky dough to make apple strudel from Classic German Baking, I will probably take a pass for now. In the meantime, I will return the recipes to their home nestled in the pages of Joy. I might add a note and another recipe, so that when the next person discovers the book he or she will have their own mystery to ponder.

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  • Jenny  on  March 1, 2020

    I love bonus recipes – I find them all the time – and wanted to start a collection of recipes found in books – as the author did with grocery lists.

  • MarciK  on  March 2, 2020

    I got my grandma’s original Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook. The pages were stuffed so much with recipes that the binding was coming apart. Most of them were clippings from the newspaper or recipes cut off packaging, but I also found some handwritten ones. It left me curious which of these she made, or if she just found them interesting but never got to making them like I often do.

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