The Clara Project: Kind words.

In the past two weeks, after first the Cincinnati Enquirer and then The New Yorker’s Grub Street blog and finally Yahoo! Shine published stories about The Clara Project, the response has been overwhelming. I began a wonderful correspondence with Clara’s daughter. Thousands of new folks visited this recipe blog. And kind comments flooded in. Here’s a sampling of what I heard from fellow vintage-recipe lovers and home cooks:

I just saw the whole story on Yahoo and then I linked to your blog.  I’m not a big cook either (like Jan), but this is inspirational! And honestly, I DO want to pass on good cooking to my kids, so I am saving your blog and will try out some of the recipes with my kids.  I’m so glad you did this project!

Fascinated about your Clara project.  Have a similar situation with both my grandmother’s handwritten recipes (born in early 1900’s) and mother’s recipes (born in 1933).  Reading your story brings back memories of my grandparents’ habits and lives as well. When my mom passed away, I went through all of her hand-written recipes and my grandmother’s as well … still have most, but some were very antiquated and outdated.

I am a chef … but have enjoyed going down memory lane with these recipes. I love your twist on some of them … And yes, whenever I make the chocolate brownie pudding [cake] for a gathering … there is NONE left!  Enjoy the journey with Clara … what a find!

This is a wonderful story, heartwarming & fun to read! It was timely for me, since I recently found some old handwritten recipes from my grandmother who passed away almost 30 years ago when she was in her 80′s. The recipes were tucked in the back of one of my mother’s old cookbooks, who is 80 herself now! My grandmother was a very good cook and made a wonderful ham loaf, which I believe was a German recipe. It was one of the recipes that I found and I estimate it was probably hand written approximately 50+ years ago.

First of all I would like to applaud you on your find and hope you can grow a larger relationship with Clara and/or her family. Your site is very lovely and helpful and I will surely try some of your recipes in the very near future. I am from Ohio myself, Akron actually, but I am now in China at the moment and I love to cook weastern food for my friends and my wifes family so this will be a great way to grow deeper bonds as everyone can bond through food. Cheers and god bless.

The article on Yahoo about your recipe cards prompted me to open an old recipe box I bought years ago—I love all things Asian and it had an Asian motif on the box. It’s just been sitting on the shelf. I started looking through the box and the owner also gave credit to various people for the recipes. I guess I’ll have to start trying them—like meat loaf, best lemon pie ever, banana pudding, slaw dressing, fried chicken, peanut brittle … I live in NC—all Southern recipes for sure!

I enjoyed reading this story on Yahoo. I have a recipe box and more of my Grandmother’s recipes with the same style handwriting. I also have her cook books and back in the day, appliances came with cook books. They are so funny to read through … I occasionalyl look through the recipes, but I have never attempted to make them. After reading your story I do believe I will give them a try.

If you have a collection of family recipes, please comment here and share your food memories and experiences cooking from the past!

Bundle of Vintage Recipe Cards

7 thoughts on “The Clara Project: Kind words.

  1. Years ago, family recipes were to be kept as “secret” Having lost loved ones, realizing their recipes went with them: I decided to add tried and true family recipes to fundraising cookbooks. My son was annoyed at first until I told him it was important to me that these were special and needed to be shared and then in a sense “recorded”. One of my Grandma’s best was a family tradition of Chicken and Dumplings. I remember the call working with her to change her “pinch of this and a handful of that” to more exacting measurements. After the book was published, imagine my delight as more than one person said they tried the recipe and it worked (especially the dumpling part) and was delicious!

    • Hi, Sharon — thanks for the comment! I love that you worked with your grandmother to document her recipes. My Grandma uses the “pinch of this, you’ll know when it’s done” approach to some of my favorite recipes, so we’ve had to ask her to teach us and make good notes as we go.

  2. I have my mom’s handwritten recipe cards and scanned them for her grandchildren. She was born in Italy in 1912, so many of the recipes are traditional Northern Italian fare.

  3. I only recently read about the Clara Project and am sure i will enjoy your blog. It prompted me to find some handwritten recipes in an old Memorandum book that a friend had found ages ago and thought I’d enjoy. There aren’t as many as in Clara’s recipes, but handwritten and on the first page of the book, “Belonged to Mrs. Betty Linde (my grandmother”

  4. I would love to see several cooks with old recipes put and “Old Recipes” cookbook together. I just love making old recipes but they are hard to find. My Mother just cooked and baked and never used a recipe so all of her dishes were lost and we were not able to write them down. She always said “I use a little of this and a little of that and that is how I cook.”

  5. There must be something about that style of handwriting from those days! I have a box of recipes that started with my grandmother, then my mother added to it, and now I have. I don’t look through it often enough, but I was reading this about Clara and making my shopping list for the week based on some of these recipes I plan to try, and I noticed her handwriting is so similar to my grandmothers it’s unreal. 🙂 Looking forward to cooking this week!!

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