From My Mother’s Recipe Box: Potato Pancakes


Stashed in the bookcase that holds all my cookbooks is my mother’s recipe box. It’s one of the keepsakes I’ve had since she died when I was young. And, it’s a treasure trove of recipes on index cards from the 1950s and ’60s.

What I like about this little collection is that the recipes are made from real food. While processed food was making its debut after World War II, apparently my mother was still following recipes she collected from her family and friends.

Or from a guy named Jim Bower at Cornell University, whose name appears on this Potato Pancakes recipe card. Don’t you love the simplicity of this recipe, all typed up neatly on a 3×5 card?

I thought I’d share some recipes from my mother’s collection with you occasionally to remind us all that, once upon a time, people cooked from scratch. And maybe to inspire you to dig up some recipes from your mother or aunt or grandmother. Are they hidden in a box somewhere? These recipes that get passed down from generation to generation are the fabric of our culture–or, let’s say the bread and butter of our culture. The way processed food has infiltrated our food system over the last several decades, it’s important that we not only remember how to cook but also celebrate our heritage through real food.

I’d love to hear from you: What are your favorite recipes that have been in the family for generations? Send them to me (with a photo if you have one) and I’ll post them on my blog.

Watch for more recipes from my mother’s recipe box over the next several months!

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