Monday, April 4, 2011

Family Recipes: Part I

This recipe for drop-cookies is from Grandma's neighbour, Mrs. Myrtle Allwell.
These embroideries are part of an on-going series of work based on my collection of recipes belonging to my grandmothers.  I have original recipe books from both my maternal grandmother and her mother, and copies and scans my aunt made me of my paternal grandmother, her mother, and mother-in-law.  Some are recipes I have made myself, or tasted as a child.  Others, I've never tried, but just like the sound of them, or not at all. 

These three embroideries are from Grandma Blanche's notebooks.  She traded recipes with friends and neighbours, and sometimes the name of the lady who gave the recipe is written on the page.  Some are written in Grandma's hand, others have been given in the hand-writing of the friend.  I love the scrawl of old handwriting, and it was important to me to translate the handwriting and punctuation exactly.  I embroidered the handwritten text onto pieces of old tea-towels and tablecloths.

In another series of embroidered pieces, Family Albums, I created portraits of family members I had never met, but only knew through photographs or stories told to me as child.  In one piece, I used my great-grandmother May's recipe for doughnuts as her portrait.  My mother remembers eating these delicious doughnuts. 

I have a scrap of paper on which May wrote the recipe in pencil. Someday I would like to try making these doughnuts, but Grandma's recipe does not provide any instructions - only ingredients, and even then, there is the vague direction for the amount of flour - "flour as for cookies".

More variations on the recipe series to follow.

Embroidered on a piece of an old apron with the pocket still attached.

Detail of my great-grandmother's signature. I love the holes and stains in the fabric.