“Handwritten Recipes” by Michael Popek

Handwritten Recipes by Michael Popek is a delightful gift idea for anyone on your list who loves recipes and cookbooks!  I read cookbooks like some people read novels and I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  However, this is the first cookbook I have ever read that was written by someone who is not a cook.  The author makes that clear right up front — in the introduction of the book.  He says, ”  First, let’s get things straight.  I’m a bookseller, not a cook.”  Michael works in his family’s used bookstore which boasts over 70,000 books and over 3,000 cookbooks.  Michael found all of the recipes in Handwritten Recipes on handwritten pieces of paper inside some of the books in his bookstore.

Here is the synopsis of Handwritten Recipes  from the back of the cover of the book:

Leaf through your old books, and you’re likely to find a bit of paper with a recipe written in a familiar (or not so familiar) hand.  It could be a family secret finally divulged, a scribbled interpretation of something seen on TV, even a culinary experiment long since forgotten.  What happens to these recipes when the books are passed on?  …..

This book is a treasury of Michael’s most fascinating recipes.  Here you will find long lost recipes such as Molasses Popcorn Balls or Date Torte Cookies.  How about Cloud Nine Butterscotch Bars or a good old fashioned recipe for Baking Powder Biscuits?  This cookbook reminds me of my Mom’s recipe boxes that are full of handwritten recipes she collected over the years and I can’t wait to share some of these dishes with my family and friends .

The book has both the handwritten recipe as well as the typed copy ( which is many times easier to read).  Michael also shows the reader a copy of the book he found the recipe in.

You may choose to cook your way through this book. Or, you may choose to just read it for the shear enjoyment of glimpsing into a time capsule from kitchens of past generations. Either way,  Handwritten Recipes is a winner!

Handwritten Recipes by Michael Popek (Penguin Group, 2012).  www.penguin.com   $20.00

Penguin Group provided a sample copy of this book for me to review.  I have expressed my true and honest opinions.  No compensation was received.      


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