There are some things in life that need to be preserved, cared for, and passed on to future generations. Family photographs come instantly to mind, especially when one reads about an individual who saved only one thing from a flood or a burning house—their family photo album.
Yet some things in life are more challenging to preserve. How do you capture the smell of your grandmother’s house at Thanksgiving? How do you pass along to your kids the flavors of the holidays they grew up enjoying? How do you recreate that moment of joy when you bring out your loved one’s favorite dish on a special occasion?
Its easy, actually, if you’ve taken the time to preserve your old family recipes!
Old family recipes are important because, like photographs, they can transport us back in time to our loved ones’ homes where many happy memories were made.
Preserving Old Recipes | Protect the Originals
Recipes written and used by a loved one hold a lot of significance, perhaps more than you’ve ever really considered. In many cases multiple generations have enjoyed the same recipes, passed down from one family member to another over the years, decades, and centuries.
Paper, however, is delicate. If not cared for properly these unassuming treasures will yellow, get torn, and the handwriting or ink may fade. Another danger that recipes experience is food splatter. So keep these keys to the past safe by protecting them with the right archival materials and practices.
If your recipes are written on small cards, sheets of notepaper or cut out of an old newspaper or magazine, you can easily keep these originals together and safe in an archival binder. Even if your recipes are all over the map in terms of size and shape, archival print pages are available in a number of sizes and formats. These pages will hold your recipes in safe and secure pockets that will help you get organized and, in addition, these durable, translucent, archival polypropylene pages will also protect your originals from the various splashes and spills that happen in every kitchen.
If you have larger or full-sized 8 1/2 x 11″ recipes, you can easily store them in print pages or 3-ring page protectors, which will display Grandma’s beloved apple pie recipe while keeping it safe from your everyday kitchen mishaps. Both of these types of pages fit nicely into collection-grade ring binders or a binder-in-a-box which make the perfect gifts for those hard-to-please family members or friends.
By preserving and using old recipes you are maintaining an active link to your family’s history, and enjoying the results at dinnertime or your next holiday party!
Preserving Old Recipes | Go Digital
If you’re the type of person who prefers to keep backups of precious original materials that have been in the family for years, you may wish to digitize your recipes. This will also allow you to access your recipes directly from a tablet or smartphone instead of using your precious family heirloom originals.
You can upload your recipes to a computer a few ways. If you have a scanner you can simply scan the recipes into the computer. If you don’t have access to a scanner, you can take pictures of your recipes using a digital camera or your smartphone.
Once in your computer or tablet you can organize your recipes in many of the programs you may already be familiar with, from basic Word docs to more elaborate software or apps that will allow you to create and store your recipes, as well as those you find online. You can sort and categorize them based on food type, cuisine style, or when it was first prepared. You can even attach images of the dish to each recipe, depending on which program(s) you’re using.
While everyone has their own method for protecting family treasures, consider these suggestions to protect your important family recipes so that you and the generations to come can make your loved ones’ favorite dishes whenever you want!
Cooking Up Other Ideas for Preservation
If you have any additional questions or would like more information on the archival storage and presentation materials that are right for you, please contact us here at Archival Methods. We’re always there to help with any archiving, storage, or presentation questions you may have.