Preserving recipes and memories

FAIRMONT – Recipes and scrapbooks both have a history, which was why they made a perfect combination Saturday morning at the Martin County Library.

The women who showed up ranged from veteran scrapbookers to amateurs. One was trying scrapbooking for the first time. Some were trying to capture and save a special recipe, or several recipes. Others were looking recipes up when they got there. But all had enthusiasm.

“A lot of times, the classes are limited by the size of the room,” said Kerri Teske, who conducted the workshop on behalf of the Minnesota Historical Society.

Along with providing all the supplies needed for scrapbooking, Teske also provided a quick history lesson on recipes and scrapbooking. The first recipe book was documented around 100 A.D. in Rome. Scrapbooks are significantly younger, starting in the middle to late 1700s.

“The first scrapbook was a statemens’ guide, little hints and tricks,” Teske said. “Once newspapers came about, they started putting newspaper clips in there, and then it became literally collecting scraps of paper, thus the name scrapbook.”

Around the room, there were several different stories about scrapbooking and recipes. One group of women who get together to scrapbook on a monthly basis were at the event.

“Our boys were in football together in 2004,” recalled Doris Rosener. “We’d get together and make pages of their football games and events. We even had the boys fill out descriptions. There’s a group of about 10 of us and we all became friends through our boys, and the scrapbooking part came with that. Now we’re getting together once a month and we scrapbook and talk.”

Not all the women in the group were at the event, but some that couldn’t participate even stopped by to say hi.

“We definitely talk while we’re doing this,” Rosener said. “That’s half the fun.”

Meanwhile, Judy Miller, a retired elementary teacher, was taking on a major task.

“I’ve taken and copied my mother’s old recipes,” she said. “I’m making five books for my family members. The pages are from my mother’s actual books in her handwriting. But they’re all decaying, so this needs to be done quickly.”

Copying the recipes, the yellowed and stained paper still retains the “vintage” look.

“People can’t believe it copies like that; they have to touch it to see for themselves,” Miller said. “But some have really faded, ripped, and it takes a while to do them.”

Looking through those recipes gives Miller a glimpse into the past.

“She would’ve been 105 now, so we’re looking at some very old recipes,” Miller said. “I notice there are a lot of dishes that you just don’t see anymore. She has lots of recipes for salmon and fish. I notice there are some recipes that are marked that were good dishes, and some written “no” by them. But I want to preserve what I can, because a lot of these have been lost, and once something is lost, it’s never regained. I also notice that recipes back then are not as formal as recipes now.”

One of the interesting points made during the workshop is the personal touch of handwriting.

“I was disappointed that all my mother’s recipes were type-written,” Rosener said. “But she was a typer.”

Teske also pointed out to attendees that scrapbookers shouldn’t be afraid to write in their own handwriting in their books.

“I know, no one likes their handwriting, but there is something special about that,” she said. “Generations from now, your children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren will be glad that you did that.”