This is where I note my efforts as I try to recreate some old recipes. Most are taken from my small collection of handwritten recipe books which date from the late 1700's to around 1922. I also have a collection of old tatty old recipe books, well thumbed and heavily splashed from years of use. I love them all!

The old-fashioned very stylised handwriting writing is sometimes difficult to decipher, measurements and cooking instructions are minimal, no tin sizes given. Luckily I enjoy a challenge. Just to complicate things I cook and bake on my wood-fired Rayburn, which can be... unpredictable.

I suspect this blog is less about the food and more about my passion for these lovely old books and the wonderful women who wrote them.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Treasured Recipe Books - A Family Receipt Book

Lined up like this they don't look particularly impressive, I know.   However, these are my most treasured books and whole reason this blog exists.   It is my collection of handwritten recipe books.   Some are beautifully bound, others could do with rebinding and this is something which I must investigate when time permits, although I have no idea of how much such a job would cost.   I would like to preserve and protect them for future generations to enjoy.

Note to self:  Find a local bookbinder and discuss!

I had to start somewhere, so I chose this one as it is the one I used most recently.

Leather-bound, nicely tooled and with a thin gilt decoration.   The spine is deteriorating and I must get something done about it.

The endpapers are beautifully marbled, I remember watching them create paper like this when I visited Florence, quite a number of years ago.   So simple, but so effective.

This book has an index, which is quite useful, many of the others either don't have one, or they are partial ones, perhaps begun with an enthusiasm which waned.

Page 107 is the final recipe - Medlar Jelly.     I wonder why this is the final one.   The handwriting looks quite firm and strong, not at all as though the writer were ill.   Quite often a book will then be taken over by another person but not this one.   About half the book remains empty.   The book has obviously lived quite a life and has been handled a lot.  

I like that.

No recipe tried out here, but don't worry.   More food trials to come!


  1. A treasure trove. I hope one day. You are able to get them rebound. Magnificent.
    Must give you great pleasure looking at that collection

  2. Hello Linda, The trouble is that I spend far too much time reading these books, quite often they become my bedtime reading, which is why I am trailing so far behind on the book club front. Those weak spines and loose pages definitely need some attention!

  3. There's a Medlar quite near my home that was grafted onto a Hawthorn. I've only tried the fruits once..... never again.

  4. Hello Cro, Ah, but did you wait until the fruit was bletted? Medlars should be eaten when they are squishy and beginning to brown and rot for it is then that they are at their best.