Happy “Back to the Future Day!” I have been thinking a lot about the future – and the past lately (mundane farm chores allow for a great deal of reflection time).
With the arrival of the day that Marty McFly was catapulted into (Back to the Future 2)- I have wondered what it would be like to step back into time – to see how I would function. Today – thanks to a special friend, I was able, in a way, to do just that – back to the late 1800’s, early 1900’s.This morning, she arrived at my door carrying these –
Recipe journals and boarding house registers from 1877 – 1915.
Each one was filled with names and home towns of boarders, and recipes of the day. Many of the recipes bearing the name of someone on the boarding house register.
I can picture these women, in the kitchen, chatting about the news of the day, news of their home towns, and sharing recipes.
The recipes are simple. Most of them are ingredients only – as women of that day knew how to mix up each recipe and at what temperature to bake a cake or bread or cookies. They weren’t working with thermostats, they just knew how hot the oven had to be – how much wood or coal to feed the stove in order to bake the perfect cake.
I spent hours pouring over the pages. As a genealogist, I was captivated by the lists of names and home towns of the people staying at ‘Maple Cottage’. I couldn’t help but wonder what brought these people to this boarding house. As someone who loves to cook, I was fascinated by the recipes – their brevity – their differences and similarities to ours today. As a woman, I was drawn in to the kitchen – to the thought of the conversations, concerns, laughter and sisterhood that these women shared.
As I tried to take all of this in, I realized that we are not so different more than 120 years later. We still share the things that women of all ages have done – we just do it a little differently – instead of stopping by and visiting in the kitchen, we check social media to see what is happening, to voice our concerns, express our joys, ask for advice or help from friends and neighbors, and share recipes – to stay connected with our friends and acquaintances.
I have photographed hundreds of pages, hoping to preserve the precious data on the delicate pages. During the next few months, I will be testing and sharing some of the recipes that have been so carefully and purposefully recorded.
I will also be looking for and posting names, dates, etc. of the boarders online for genealogists who may be interested.
I have done very few of the things that I had intended to do today, but I have spent the day with some amazing women – and shared just a few minutes of their life and times – thanks to a very thoughtful friend.
Thank you Pam for allowing me to travel back in time today.