Recipe Clipping is an Archeological Dig

The Heritage Cookbook from the 70s.

The shelf where I keep cookbooks is so stuffed some of them have to lay on top of others to have room in the cupboard. And a few of them have been around almost as long as I’ve been married which is closer to gold than silver. That’s another story. A very tattered, now coverless cookbook was put together by the local junior league ladies of the day and dates from the 70s. The women would be in their sixties and seventies now and their recipes are reading about as old. It is fittingly named Heritage Cookbook.

The idea was to go through with scissors, clip the recipes I wanted and chuck what would surely be most of the book. I made it to the preface page for Appetizers and Beverages where a short “Heritage Footnote” told the story of the Ute Chief Wakara. Wakara asked Brigham Young for a young woman he was smitten with which resulted in the young woman being hastily married to her sister’s husband, a judge. Only in Utah. That clipping will go in one of my several “Utah” files of oddities.

Then I got to page three and had to save the whole page. I’d never made the “Bleu Cheese Ball” that sounds good, and hey, I marked the bottom appetizer “Crab Rounds,” with an “A” years ago, so it may come in handy again. Plus, the woman who submitted the recipe is a woman I worked with on a non-profit board years later, so it had minor sentimental value. There I paused to think of Nancy for several minutes. I wonder what’s happened to her. Last I knew she’d moved to Montana. On I went through appetizers, clipping three more.

Next were soups. I passed over a shredded iceberg lettuce soup, and another that featured canned tomato soup with orange juice, but then I stopped. I tried to imagine what a can each of tomato, cream of celery, cream of mushroom, split pea and a can of crab would taste like with two tablespoons onion and a quart of milk. There you have it. Was someone just desperate to clean out the cupboard? Or have to feed people they didn’t want to come back? I don’t know whether to continue to clip or keep the remnants as evidence for food history. I was defacing an archeological dig. For as long as I’ve had it, I haven’t made a lot of the recipes. Several that I liked years ago had felt dated and somehow geared to a palate before the popularity of lemongrass, cilantro, adobo, and cardamom. Kitchen spices and methods have evolved leaving me feeling like a caretaker of history more than a de-clutterer. What to do?

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