12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
Grandma Velma Paulsen
Today I am including a new GRAND! tab on my blog. This is a page I have been working on in my spare time. I plan to feature recipes that have come from all of my grandmother’s recipe boxes. In some cases I have the original handwritten recipes, sometimes typed recipes, and other times I will copy a recipe and print it. I hope to honor the memory of my grandmothers who were exceptional cooks! I come from a long line of great cooks and I am thankful for that heritage. My mother and my grandmothers surely helped shape my lifelong love affair with cooking (and eating!) In the future I plan to highlight various recipes by making them and posting pictures. For my family members, my hope is that you will delight in taking a walk down memory lane with me. In reading through Grandma Paulsen’s recipes I am taken back in time as I walked through her farmhouse door and was greeted by all the homey smells of fresh breads, jams, and cookies. My recollection is that her cookie jar was never empty!
For my friends, I hope you will see some of your heritage and memories as you read through these recipes.
I am starting today with Grandma P’s recipes, soon I will post GRAND recipes from some of my other grandmothers. If you have a special recipe from your grandmother — please send, along with a picture, if you can, and I would love to add it to our GRAND page!
Receipt is an old form that means the same as recipe. Both derive from Latin recipere, to receive or take. Receipt was first used in medieval English as a formula or prescription for a medicinal preparation (Chaucer is the first known user, in the Canterbury Talesof about 1386). The sense of “a written statement saying that money or goods have been received” only arrived at the beginning of the seventeenth century.
Recipe is the imperative, “take!”, from the same Latin verb. It was traditionally the first word in a prescription, heading the list of ingredients. This was often abbreviated to a letter R with a bar through the leg, a form that still sometimes appears on modern prescription forms. Recipe has been used alongside receipt since the eighteenth century in the sense of cookery instructions, gradually replacing it over time.
It’s by no means entirely defunct even today. It is often — but by no means always — a deliberate archaism. John Wilson noted, “It was used on British television, up to the late 1990s, on the programme Two Fat Ladies, featuring Clarissa Dickson Wright and the late Jennifer Paterson, who invariably spoke of receipts. She said this with (metaphorical) relish and I feel sure she did it for effect as a conscious statement of her background and style.”
It has survived until recently in parts of the English-speaking world, especially the United States. Douglas G Wilson confirms this: “I heard it routinely in the 1960s, though only from older people. The Dictionary of American Regional English seems to suggest that it became more-or-less obsolete around 1960. William and Mary Morris wrote in their column Words, Wit, and Wisdom in 1970, ‘Throughout New England and in rural areas in many other parts of the country, you will still hear receipt more often than recipe.’ So at least the Morrises thought it was still very widely current in 1970.”