Handwriting on the Wall - My Tuscan Aria

​Handwriting on the Wall

​A local restaurateur recently opened a new place and decided to create wallpaper – made up of the handwritten recipe cards of his grandmother.

The Wall Street Journal just published an essay on the same subject: the preservation of handwritten recipes in an age of online Epicurious.

We are losing our souls over too much digital and online content.

What’s the problem? Why is it important to hold on to fragments of faded, stained, and torn recipe cards?

I certainly access online resources for recipes, but when I pull out a recipe that my grandmother used, I am transported.

There are messages if one is willing to listen.

When I go through a stack of her recipe cards, I can tell which ones she liked best because those have more splashes on them.

​I can tell if she knew the recipe “cold” because there are approximations of measurements.

I come to know who some of her friends were, who shared a recipe because she has a note that says, “Mrs. Corrado’s best Christmas cookie recipe.”  Ciao, Signora Corrado. I remember you.

Sometimes, I find a new ingredient I prefer and I add my own note. The cards become living documents.

Some people are creating personal recipe books online using the photo images of the recipes, a great way to preserve them.

But I also find so much personal satisfaction in using the originals – to have them residing in the kitchen among the stacks recipe books I inherited from my grandmother (Marcella Hazan and Julia Child) and those I’ve collected myself.

Aren’t we online enough as it is?

Opening up and perusing recipe cards and lingering over cook books – touching the paper – remembering the moments of stirring the polenta with my grandmother as she instructed me on how to know it was done. “You’re strong. Keep going.” Priceless memories.

What handwritten recipe might you have that nourishes not only your stomach but your soul?
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  1. Clora Mozer says:

    Oh yes I understand. I have all of my grandmother’s recipe cards. I also have my ex’s cards and I’m getting my current husband’s family cards. I treasure them.
    When my grand daughter got married I made her a cookbook of the cards and photos from our family and her future husband’s family. She and everyone else loved it. I gave it to her at her Bridal shower and had everyone in tears over photos and stories.
    Then when her first child was born I did a family geneology book. It went back from from 6 to 11 generations. It gets added to as I find more info. Visiting Borgo A Buggiano last year filled in blanks.

    • Carol Faenzi says:

      Hello, Clora! Thank you for sharing your story. What a treasure you have created for your family. Eleven generations of family history is quite an accomplishment! It also helps to actually visit the homeland. I wish you all the best on your continued ancestral journey!

  2. Carol Faenzi says:

    Thank you for your wonderful comments! What beautiful work which your family will benefit from for generations to come!

  3. Brian says:

    Notebook opened. Taking notes. Thanks for the valuable post. I wish more people would talk about this subject as in depth as you.

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