Until I’m cleared to start putting weight on my left leg, I’m trying to tackle projects that I’ve pushed aside and can be done from the [dis]comfort of my wheelchair, such as sorting pictures and recipes. The former comprised a day a few weeks ago. I’m now looking through three folders of recipes − clipped from magazines, jotted onto pieces of papers and printed from FoodNetwork.com.
While sorting through the recipes, I found a set of index cards on which my grandmother wrote down recipes and lists. She had lists of foods that can be prepared for various meals. For instance, the list of fish appetizers includes kippered salmon, lox, Bismarck [herring], anchovies, sardines, boiled [fish], and gefilte [fish]. Eggs can be prepared as sliced, salad, [with] onions, omelet, and scrambled. Her list of potatoes dishes is one of the longest and consisted of mashed, roasted, pancakes, latkes, cubed, French fried, salad, kugel, baked, cupcakes, pan fried, and scalloped.
My grandmother was a very brilliant woman who was probably bored as a housewife and mother. I can picture her thumbing through these index cards to try to figure out something new to make for dinner or what to pair with a meat or dairy dish.
In her spare time, she wrote on a rickety typewriter. She left boxes of her writing. My writing, in comparison, is equivalent to a kindergartener. One day, I hope to edit and publish her work. In the meanwhile, I occasionally read what she wrote and wonder about her life.
On one index card, she typed how much one should tip. In an expensive hotel, a 25¢ – 50¢ per bag tip is appropriate. A telegram, ice or a minor errand done by a bellboy warrants a 25¢ tip. Just like today, the waitress should receive a 15% tip.
On a transatlantic cruise, the cabin steward in "cabin class" should get $5 for the duration of the cruise; whereas in "tourist class," the price goes down to $3. Waiters on cruises should be tipped $3-$7 depending on "cabin" or "tourist" class.
I don’t recall my grandparents ever going on a cruise and they rarely ate out so it’s doubtful they did much tipping!
On January 4, 1933, my grandmother recorded her weight on an index card as 97 pounds. My mother, who was three, weighed 31 pounds and was 37-inches high. Household hints on several cards recommended using white shoe polish to whiten Venetian blinds. Vinegar was recommended for cleaning flower vases, windows, paintbrushes and double boilers. The "worse colors" for painting a house were primary reds, yellows and greens. Some reds (maroon) may affect "color of skin adversely." A "red bedroom will keep you awake." And a "large patterned, brightly colored paper in living room will detract from restfulness."
One of her more interesting recipes is for an oatmeal pie crust. It consists of 1 and a quarter cups of rolled oats, 2 teaspoons of sugar, 3 tablespoons of melted butter, 2 teaspoons of hot water, and a pinch of salt. The ingredients are blended together then pressed into a pie pan and baked for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.