Showing posts with label Amy Alessio. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Amy Alessio. Show all posts

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Clues in the Recipe Boxes

I can't tell you how excited I am to introduce you all to Amy Alessio. Amy is not only a good friend of mine, she's an amazing YA librarian who juggles work, writing, reviewing, blogging, and so much more, while raising two gorgeous little sons. Never, ever have I seen her without a huge smile on her face and an upbeat and cheery attitude. She's just one of my favorite people and I'm thrilled to have her here today.

Say hello to Amy Alessio!

Clues in the Recipe Boxes

I was very excited when Julie asked me to guest blog here at Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen, along with many of my favorite authors!

I started my Vintage Cookbooks blog ( to teach myself the technology four years ago, and it has grown to the point where I give many live presentations on that subject also. I serve treats too – one man was moved to tears at my Vintage Southern Treats when I served Moon Pies, as he remembered them from his youth.

My collection has grown too – I have about 350 vintage cookbooks, and I also collect recipe boxes that have handwritten recipes in them. One show that many libraries hire me for is Preserving Family Recipes, where audience members get to leave with an album. Here is the tie in between the recipes and the mysteries – many cooks do not write down everything they use, or measurements! Figuring them out is

often more puzzling than mysteries. Also, in many of the recipe boxes I find, there are personal notes, clippings, and even letters that give me clues about the person who collected those recipes.

You can see the scanned recipe I’ve included here for Pumpkin Chiffon Pie. This is from a recipe box I found at a local antique mall, filled with recipes. This person’s Aunt Annabelle added a note after the recipe. I have typed it out below, as the scan is not always easy to read. I couldn’t help but wonder about the pictures for which Annabelle had to pay Ruth cash …

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

3 eggs

1 c. sugar

1 ¼ c. pumpkin

½ c. milk

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. ginger

½ tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. cinnamon

¼ c. cold water – 1 tbsp. gelatine (I am typing it as I see it!)

To slightly beaten egg yolks, add ½ c. sugar, pumpkin, milk, salt and spices. Cook until thick in double boiler. Pour cold water in bowl and sprinkle gelatine over top – add to hot mixture – mix and cool. When it begins to set, add remaining sugar and fold in stiffly beaten egg whites. Pour into baked shell. Chill and serve garnished with whipped cream.

I liked this type as it means no baking after the crusts are out for usually the oven is needed for the dinner and you can do away with that long baking. I think these are easier to make and less chance of failure, unless of course, you forget the sugar as I did one year.

Please Ruth, don’t worry about a ‘letter’, as I am sure we are still indebted to you for all the trouble you went to over those pictures – then we were so slow in sending the cash that I guess I still owe you several letters. We’re looking forward to seeing you all next Thursday, and we do appreciate the effort it will take on the part of all of you. I know how much work it means – I couldn’t it myself as perhaps that’s why I can appreciate it more. I haven’t been eating so hearty lately – just saving all my appetite for next week.

So long for now Ruth and here’s all the luck you need for the pies. Love, Aunt Annabelle

No doubt that was a truly interesting Thanksgiving. At least Annabelle didn’t bring the sugarless pie again. What mysteries are lurking among your family recipes?


Amy Alessio is a young adult librarian, author, and speaker. She loves reading mysteries and is very excited about Julie Hyzy’s new series beginning with Grace Under Pressure due out next week. Amy’s newest book, A Year of Programs 2, co-authored, will be out in August 2010. Her next, Mind Bending Mysteries for Teens, will be out June 2011. To see the schedule of her Vintage Cookbooks presentations or to learn more than you ever wanted to know about Vintage Cooking and Crafting, visit

Julie’s first book in the Manor of Murder Mystery series,
Grace Under Pressure (starred review in Publishers Weekly!), debuts June 1st! To help launch the book and to celebrate its release, she's running a very special contest: Purchase Grace Under Pressure any time before May 31, 2010, and you're eligible to win a $25 gift certificate from Mystery Lovers Bookshop! (and if you've already pre-ordered, you just need to let Julie know!) No receipts required. Just email Julie at with the date that you pre-ordered and thename of the bookstore you ordered it from, and your name goes in! (Please put "CONTEST" in the subject header. Thanks!)

Here are a few helpful links to get you started:
Independent Bookstore List: here

- Mystery Lovers Bookshop (free shipping on book orders over $10!)
- Centuries & Sleuths (Julie's local mystery bookstore)