I found a stack of typewritten recipe binders a few years back at a flea market while wandering around there, waiting on Sahara to finish a college class so we could head back home. I remember haggling about the price with the children who were running the stand, but I don’t remember how much I wound up paying in the end. I remember it wasn’t much – more than I thought they were worth but happily paid for as the kids were getting to keep all the money they earned selling stuff that day, and they were saving for new bicycles or baseball gloves or swimming pool toys…I really cannot remember. I just remember I didn’t haggle much since they were children, and I thought it was great that they were earning their own money.
There’s a date in one of the books on a White Mountain Cake recipe that says “Christmas Day, 1916”. I’m pretty sure that’s not correct for when these binders were typed though because all of the other dated recipes are from the 1970s. The next earliest date I can find says 1974. The little binders have yellow price tag stickers that say “Murphy’s” on them, an old fashioned department store similar to Woolworth’s back in the day. I thought Murphy’s was just local, but my husband says it was a chain with more than one store, not just here. I googled it, and it appears Ted is right on that one.
Each of the five binders has a theme: canning and preserving food, breads and muffins, salad dressings, desserts, and pies. As far as I can see, every recipe is completely from scratch. The only boxed ingredients I have seen in anything is Knox unflavored gelatin, sweetened condensed milk, and quick cooking tapioca. Many of the recipes are type written on the front of a page with the newspaper cut-out of the recipe taped to the back of the page using cellophane tape. The newspaper recipes are yellowed but surprisingly are standing up well to the passage of time. I’ve looked all through the binders but can only find four names – and after finding Rosalynn Carter (wife of former President Jimmy Carter) listed as one of the names, I figure all the names are to whom the recipes are attributed and not the typist herself (himself?).
I wish I knew who put these binders together. There are so many recipes in these, and the fact that each one was typewritten with mistakes corrected with white out and typewriter correction tape makes it evident that these binders represent hours of the typist’s life. I wish I knew why the typist put these together, and I dearly wish I knew why the family tossed the binders years later. Wasn’t there one person in the family that wanted these recipes, so lovingly collected and preserved over the years? I hope that if the typist is already gone, he/she knows somehow that I have and treasure them now and am putting them to good use.
I made the cornbread recipe above earlier this week. It makes a huge pan of cornbread! I put it in my cast iron pan to bake in the oven, and it was perfect. Jake says this one tastes just like Jiffy corn bread boxed mix so if you like that but you can’t find it right now at the store, this is the substitute! The only thing different was that I did not use shortening as I didn’t have it; I used a quarter cup of melted salted butter instead. It was perfect cornbread! I don’t think I will ever buy the Jiffy mix again.