This week’s addict came to me via a tip from a reader (Thanks Raymond!), and I was delighted to see this story:
Nancy Hanst has kept a food diary since 1962. I love Nancy’s stacks of little spiral-bound notebooks, and her consistency in keeping them for over 50 years!
From Nancy’s article:
So, here I am in the early days of 2015, riffling the pages in a little spiral-bound notebook marked “2014 MENU & BUDGET,” the second most recent in a series of 53 such notebooks.
You see, I keep a foodie diary of what Jim and I eat, usually for supper, and have been doing it since 1962, a few months after we married. There’s a drawerful of colorful pads, missing only 2002, one of the winters we spent away from home (if found, please return), each starting (usually with sauerkraut) on Jan. 1 and ending (with something festive) on Dec. 31, with guests named and exceptional dishes starred and double-starred. In the back of every tablet is perhaps the most interesting data — the food budget for the year. When I remember to do so, there also are mentions of unusual snowfalls, rainfalls, rainbows, wildflowers spotted, temperatures, the arrival of phoebes, the departure of juncos etc. etc.; also canning dates and how many jars of what are put up; the record of trips and vacations; then major events such as hospital stays and the night the wild cherry tree fell and took the balcony with it.
When this lifelong project started, I’d never cooked day-by-day and had tried my hand at only a few party dishes. I’d lived at home, my mother was a fine cook and I had other things to do. On the other hand, Jim Hanst, whom I had just married, was a pretty darn good cook. So, from the start, there was both a mentor and a competitor in the kitchen.
I got interested in cooking right away and liked jotting down what I was learning. I also thought a diary would be a help in remembering what to eat at the same time next year. I didn’t know yet that I’d never be interested in repeating, that I’d always want to be trying something else. Different methods, strange dishes, new ingredients. Then there was the matter of cooking for guests. I wouldn’t want to repeat myself, would I? So, they got included in the report. And as long as I had a little, spiral-bound pad handy, it was a good place to make occasional notes about the weather or our travels or health. Keeping a food budget in back was a logical final step.
My dear, departed friend, Marilyn McDevitt Rubin, liked to look through and comment on these little books. Then, she’d say, “Nancy, when you offer your Christmas ornaments to the Smithsonian, you have to give them these notebooks, too.”
Read more (including some of her recipes) at Nancy Hanst has kept a food diary since 1962 | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. There are more notebook photos too!