Martor No. 27 / Year 2022

The Handwritten Recipe Notebook as a Place of Memory

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“Constantin Brăiloiu” Institute of Ethnography and Folklore, Romania

Pages: 107-112


Cooking; performance; informal knowledge; handwritten notebook; memory.


A handwritten recipe notebook is not a mere domestic collection of recipes, but a material support for an immaterial tradition that combines culinary knowledge with commensality practices. These are formalized texts (a title, a list of ingredients, and directions) activated through the oral performance of a formalized setting (the food preparation process), which combines sequences of gestures instead of (or together with) words, or/and through a writing activity (copying a model or transcribing the recipe after dictation). The final material artefact (namely the dish and the written recipe) incorporates the syncretic and immaterial memories of all previous performances. A recipe notebook is not a simple anthology of texts either, it is instead a subjective “critical edition” which grows page by page, according to imperceptible selection criteria; with the passing of time, the pages become impregnated with smells, traces of pots of oil or sugar, children’s fingerprints, figurative drawings, etc.    

How to cite this article:

Jiga Iliescu, Laura. 2021. “The Handwritten Recipe Notebook as a Place of Memory.” Martor 27: 107-112. [DOI: 10.57225/martor.2022.27.08]

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