When my maternal grandmother died I came into possession of her recipe box and one of her cookbooks. The box itself was made of cardboard and had nearly disintegrated so I selected the most interesting recipes and created a scrapbook from them. I transcribed all of the recipes into Mastercook and created copies on CD for my siblings. Grandma's house was not always very kid friendly. You had to be careful where you set your glass or put your feet, but her kitchen was always full of good things and I especially loved the divinity candy she made at Christmas.
My own recipe storage has evolved over the years. For awhile I kept pages from magazines in a file folder, there was a brief attempt to write on recipe cards and file them but now I use Mastercook software and the blog as methods of recipe storage. The blog helps me keep track of what I've tried and what adaptations I've made and if a recipe passes muster then it is entered into the Mastercook software and archived on CD.
I've really enjoyed all the recipe box posts going around the web as entries in the Mason Dixon Recipe Box contest. You've all inspired me to write my own in hopes it'll be as interesting as yours. I had a really difficult time selecting just a few photos to include with the post so there's a much larger set on Flickr here along with a bit more commentary. I believe the recipes in the pictures included with this post are fairly readable but I'll also append my current version of the divinity recipe since this is probably the one dish that really started me down the cook's path and fueled my interest in cooking and wild crazy recipes through the years.
2 1/2 cups
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup pecans, chopped
Combine sugar, water, and corn syrup in a 3-quart saucepan; cook over medium heat, without stirring, to hard ball stage (260 degrees F, 125 C). It should boiling rapidly for about ten minutes to reach this temperature. Remove from heat.
Beat the egg whites in a large mixing bowl until stiff peaks form. Pour the hot sugar mixture in a very thin stream over egg whites, while beating constantly at high speed of an electric mixer. Add vanilla, and continue beating just until mixture begins to hold its shape (3 minutes). Stir in pecans and spread onto foil with a spatula (I wet the counter with a few drops of water to help the foil stick in place while I spread), working quickly, or it will set too soon and get lumpy. Let cool about an hour, cut into squares with a knife and then let stand at room temperature overnight before you transfer it into wax paper lined airtight containers.
My sister, Heather, says this freezes well. Also, this is easier to make when it's less humid- you definitely want to avoid a rainy day if you are a beginner.