Recipe Box Secrets

| 12/11/2008 4:58:27 PM

Recipe Box in the magazine.

When I started with GRIT back in 1997, one of my first assignments was the Recipe Box department. A venerable feature of the magazine, Recipe Box was designed to answer questions such as “My grandmother used to make a delicious pie/cake/meatloaf/etc., and I don’t have the recipe. Can someone help?”

And we try our best to help. The requests are published in the Help Wanted box usually found at the end of each issue’s Recipe Box article. You’ll notice we only publish a person’s name and city, asking responders to send their recipes to the GRIT office in Topeka. That’s so we can publish the responses. (If the recipes were sent directly to the requestor, we wouldn’t have a Recipe Box.)

The folders waiting for Recipe Box.We collect all the recipes in a file folder (located to the right of my desk), and right now, I’ve stuffed more than 60 folders into three plastic bins. A lot of recipes, to say the least.

Our process begins with a request from you. For instance, in our January/February 2009 issue, we published this in Help Wanted: “Nera Johnson, Berryton, Kansas, would like a recipe for squash pie. Her mother used to make the pie using a white-and-green-striped, crook-neck squash called Kershaw. It was a lighter color and milder tasting than a pumpkin pie. Nera says her mother found the recipe in a magazine.”

Now, Nera sent in her request in May. The number of requests we receive make it difficult to publish items any sooner. The requests set to be published in the March/April 2009 issue were received in October 2008. We like to publish all the requests we can rather than ignoring some of them. This, of course, can be a double-edged sword.

11/14/2013 4:51:32 PM

I came across a recipe that I had cut out of Grit several years ago when it was still a newspaper, maybe ten years ago. I want to see if anyone can find the recipe. This was in Amber Fraley's column, "Reader's Favorite Recipes," and was entitled Pineapple Cake and Pineapple Cake Frosting, but the doesn't call for any pineapple. The note says, "Patricia Bowers of Rockingham N.C. has looked in vain for a pineapple cake with a thick pineapple frosting." and then reports that Avis Barfield of Monitcello, Florida reports that "I have used this recipe for many years. It never fails and is delicious." The cake calls for 1 cup buttermilk mixed with 1/2 tsp of soda, 1 cup of butter, 2 cups of sugar, 4 eggs 2 1/2 cups of flour, 1 tsp baking powder, and 1 tsp of vanilla, but no pineapple. The frosting calls for 20 oz of crushed pineapple, 1/2 cup of butter, 1 cup of sugar, and 1 cup of the reserved cake batter. Do you still have this recipe? Should there be any pineapple in the cake part?

Jean Teller
12/15/2008 4:03:45 PM

Hi, Becky, good to hear from you! It was great to meet all of you as well. Elly was a joy to be around - oh, and so were her parents! :) We do file electronically the recipes we actually publish. And one of these days, we hope to have that electronic database available to our readers. It's fairly extensive, as it holds not only the few years of Grit recipes, but several decades of Capper's recipes as well. (If a recipe archive existed when Grit was located in Pennsylvania, it didn't make the move to Kansas in the early 1990s, so our archives only go back to about 1995.) We also hope to add recipes that have appeared in the pages of Mother Earth News and The Herb Companion. Our sister publication, Good Things to Eat, which is published quarterly, draws its content from our recipe archives. Take care, Becky, and I hope the winter doesn't get you down! Happy Holidays!

Becky and Andy
12/15/2008 3:53:59 PM

Jean, it was so nice to meet you a couple weeks ago. We have been trying to keep our heads above water since we got back with ice, snow, winter animal housing and general farm chores. However, the end is in site and we are looking forward to a relaxed, family Christmas in *gasp* less than two weeks. Elly still hangs on to that stuffed sheep! Thank you again for your kindness to my family! And...have you ever thought about filing all the recipes electronically? I guess not; it would be another enormous task just to type all that info in. Nevermind! Your system works just fine! Becky

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