Monday, July 2, 2012

Loving Old Recipes

Ladies, meet Holly Haynes of Heritage Recipes. I’ve been so excited to introduce Holly. I think this is such a brilliant idea and I commend Holly for all the work she has put into her site. You can tell it is a labor of love. If you love heirloom recipes, you are going to eat this up. I too found Heritage Recipes looking for a Sand Plum Jelly Recipe- they are ripe in northwest Oklahoma along with the wild currents. I found just the recipe I needed on her site. I’m not going to bumble on and on. I have jelly to make and tons of it. I can’t wait to tell you why, but that is for another day soon. Today I’ll let Holly tell you what she is up to- Rural Women Rock!!
~Kasse D. is a website dedicated to sharing old family recipes and the stories behind them.   I created the website in 2004 mainly because I collect old recipes.  I believe that old family recipes are not being handed down to the next  generation as they have in the past.  We are more likely to Google a recipe than to call an elderly family member to ask them about a recipe.

My collection of old family recipes started with pickle recipes.  I grew up in a family with a strong farming background, in rural Kansas.  Every summer my mom canned and I was her kitchen canning helper.  She put up tomatoes, beans, peas, corn, pickles and lots of jams. (I actually think I inherited the “canning” gene from her – I can’t be trusted to go alone to a farmer’s market!  Goodness knows how many bushels of peaches I may haul home, but that’s a story for another day!)  I was the person who picked and weeded the garden, washed the jars, snapped the beans and did whatever she told me to do.

After college I lived in Eastern Oregon, and my canning gene really kicked in.  Every Saturday morning I would drag one of my friends to Milton-Freewater, OR and we would shop the roadside markets.  Back home, we would spend the rest of the day canning.  I’m sure my neighbors thought it odd that a 22-year-old single girl was spending her weekends canning, but they started sharing their recipes with me.  After I married, we would visit my husband’s family in rural Appalachia – here I discovered a treasure trove of old family pickles recipes  -- mostly dill and sweet pickle recipes.  (His Aunt Chris’s pickle recipe is really a “candied” pickle.) 

Then, in the late 70s while living overseas my Aunt Almedia sent me her Bread and Butter Pickle recipe, and the rest is history.  I was hooked on finding old family recipes.  My collection started slowly as I would ask a family member for a recipe and they would send along with a little background about where they got it.  When I started the website, I had a small collection of cookbooks and maybe a couple hundred recipe cards.   Now thanks to help from my husband and family members, I have over 600 old recipe books and thousands of recipe cards.  (I can’t go to an estate sale and not buy the old recipe cards – if I don’t buy them, I know they are going to the dump.) 

 To launch the website I started with a few of my own recipes, along with their stories, and asked my friends to send me their old family recipes.  I naively thought I would launch the site and recipes would pour in from the general public – but that has not been the case.  I’m lucky to get one recipe a month.  The number of recipes on the site have slowly increased over the years – with about 300 now.  But the ones I do have are well loved.  Just read a few of the visitor comments.

What I do get is thousands of visitors looking for lost family recipes.  Everyone seems to have an old family favorite but because they didn’t ask for the recipe when the family member was still alive and could still remember how to make the dish, the recipe is lost.  I get the most visitors at Thanksgiving, Christmas, Mother’s Day and during Sand Plum Jelly season. 

Sand Plum Jelly Season  has a life of its own.  By tracking my website statistics I can track the Sand Plums as they ripen.  The season starts in Texas and moves north.  I get about 500 visitors per day to the Sand Plum Jelly page during the season.  I can tell you that right now, the Sand Plums along the Arkansas River around Wichita must be getting ripe, because I’m seeing a lot of visitors from there. (And it looks like the Sand Plums in Northern Kansas and Nebraska are starting to turn.)
Aunt Almedia -- Sand Plum Picking!

My favorite Sand Plum jelly story has to do with a plea I placed on the page a few years ago.  My Aunt Almedia really loved Sand Plum jelly, but by her early 90s she couldn’t get out to pick them anymore and her friends who had picked them for her in the past were picking their sand plums in heaven.  So I placed a note at the top of the Sand Plum page asking if anyone had some jelly I could buy.  (I live in Western Washington, no Sand Plums here.)  Within a few minutes I had an email from a jelly-maker in Enid, OK who had jelly and sent it to my aunt the next day.  My aunt was thrilled! 

Another thing I get a lot of is requests for old recipes.  By using Google, I am able to find nearly all the lost recipes people are looking for.  For those I can’t find, my next step is to look through my old cookbooks.  If I still can’t find it, I post it on my Old Recipe Detective blog

If you have any old family recipes to share (along with their story), send them to  If you are looking for an old recipe, try Google first!
Holly, Editor,


  1. Oh what a wonderful concept Holly! I think old recipes are the best. I can't wait to check out your website because I too am a big canner! I have a couple old recipes passed down to me that I'd gladly share!

  2. Love the old recipes! Thank you for your time. A true preservationist!

  3. I love this idea! I have all my mom's recipes and have yet to catalog them all ... guess I know what I'll be doing after the holidays! I'll have to share with everyone. Jean D. from Maine.