in the kitchen

My Great-Grandmother’s Recipes

I inherited something recently that is very precious: this little notebook.

Great grandmother's recipe notebook

It’s filled with recipes from the kitchen of my maternal great-grandmother, Clara E. Walters. Here’s a picture of her, at age 20, back in 1906.

Great grandmother Clara Walters

She was an original – for many reasons. I love how she wrote down recipes on the backs of old Christmas cards. That reduce, reuse, recycle, and repair must be a dominant gene in my family!

Christmas cards reused

This card is dated 1930 and is from my grandfather to his mother. The recipe on the back is for “Grape Nuts.” I wonder who came up with that name first – Post Foods or my great-grandmother!

Reused Christmas cards

I’m making all these recipes and seeing if I can’t make them a bit healthier, too. You’ll definitely read about them.

There’s a recipe for hand lotion. And hand soap. And a laxative (ok, I may not make this recipe). Several pickle recipes and many salad dressing recipes. For some reason, there are so many sour cream cake recipes that I’ve lost track!

Old recipes on backs of cards

I’m probably not remaking these recipes, but I do love the cover of this little booklet.

Jell O recipe booklet

I would love to do something with all of the cards but haven’t figured out what. Do any readers have suggestions of how I could share the cards with my family members?

Do you have old family recipes that you use? What have you inherited that’s precious?

PS if you live in Portland, Fusion NW TV Show is moving to a new time slot beginning tomorrow, Saturday, September 15th. The show, that airs on KOIN 6, will begin at 9am instead of 8am. Tomorrow’s show will feature one of my segments – as a rerun. Tune in tomorrow morning to watch it or you can always check my “TV appearances” page. I’ll be at an early morning soccer game cheering on my favorite left-footed player when it airs but it’s a topic near and dear to my heart: how to fix free chairs!

Go Gingham related links:

Betsy’s best brownies – our chicken who is no longer with us
Healthy and tasty chocolate chip cookies – yes, with flax seeds and chocolate chips!
Delicious cake to make with apples – excellent cake
What to do with honey that’s hardened
Why I cook with pork – several reasons – and one involves sweat
Just say no to baby carrots!
Go Gingham food philosophy – yes, there is one
New to cooking at home? Fear not!

20 thoughts on “My Great-Grandmother’s Recipes

  1. My mom (82 years old) gave me her newlywed Betty Crocker a few years ago and I love it. The breads/cookies section has fossilized ingredients on it so I know what she loved to make! My husband inherited his grandmother’s cookbooks and recipe cards. What fun. Great entertainment on a snowy night. The funniest recipe we found was for a slice of ham wrapped around a banana with mustard and cheese sauce on it. Don’t think I’ll be trying that any time soon.


    1. Oh, Kris, what a wonderful treasure you have, too! I’m shaking my head at the ham wrapped banana with mustard and cheese sauce. What were they thinking? It is so true that you can always tell the best recipes by the food that’s dropped and dried onto the pages! Precious. Thanks, Kris!


    1. Annie, I love the cards as much as the book! We were just talking about a line of holiday cards with these scenes on them but so few people send actual cards as opposed to the popular photo card – which I love to receive. Who knows! I like the idea of scanning them that Heather mentions below. We shall see…Thanks, Annie!!


  2. Loved reading this post! I recently inherited my grandmother’s recipes. I decided to scan them and share with the rest of my family. I kept the originals, of course. What a treasure our families have left for us!


    1. Thanks, Heather. What a good idea to scan them. I think that’s probably the best way to preserve them and of course keep the originals. The cards are tied together with a green string, too, which I’m not sure the picture shows very well. Yes, these are the treasures I love to inherit! Thanks, Heather 🙂 We are very lucky.


    1. I know, aren’t they? I was so glad my mom didn’t toss these out because she was on a bit of a “get rid of it” phase, which I can relate to! The cards are so sweet and there’s also some newspaper clippings tucked into the book, too.
      Can’t wait to see you at Feast next week!
      Thanks, Carrie.


    1. I know, Michelle, that is so true. It’s amazing how the hand writing is something we all treasure but don’t really do today. It makes me think I should write a letter to someone. There’s something to be said for the old fashioned ways of doing things! Thanks, Michelle.


  3. I am with Heather, scan both sides of the cards and use a sharing software with your family members. And put the originals in a fire-resistant box in the house or in a safe deposit box off-site.


  4. What a special treat to have those precious memories of your great-grandmother! I, too, have several recipes from my grandmother though I don’t actually make the recipes (meals then were not as vegetarian friendly!). I also have many Valentine’s cards that my grandmother received while she was a school teacher. I am not sure what to do with them ~ and not actually sure where I put them ~ but I would love some great ideas!


    1. Darcy, I love the ideas that both Karen and Heather suggested. I think the sharing/preserving approach is a good way to go. The recipes could be re-worked, if you’re so inclined. Or, you could bring them over to the Go Gingham test kitchen 😉 and I’ll give them a go!! Thanks, Darcy.


  5. I agree with the digitize comments. Rather than put the cards away I would suggest taking your favorites and frame them together, some showing the picture side and some showing the recipe side. You could hang it up year round or just bring it out at Christmas time.


  6. Maybe you could incorporate the recipes into a monthly kitchen calendar or something of the like; to give as gifts for birthdays or wedding anniversaries for your family members.


    1. Great idea, Crystal! I like the idea of sharing them with all of the family and I need to have a deadline to do it – so that I do it! Birthdays or as a gift is a good time.


  7. I love these recipe cards! If it were me, I’d scan each card & the recipe on the back, them compile them into a photo cookbook – card on the left page, recipe on the right. The books could be printed on-line and given as gifts to family members. Or sold to people like me who hoard (I mean adore) vintage recipes. 🙂


    1. Oh, Jeanne! It’s okay to hoard vintage recipes and recipe cards. I love them so much and still haven’t done anything with them – except to make a few things! I also tried the hand lotion which isn’t quite right but will be….soon! Thanks for leaving a comment 🙂


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