Leather heirlooms binder and journal

Handwritten Family Recipes Passed Down Generations

It’s no secret that we are passionate about leather and how it holds up when preserving memories. Leather journals change and adapt while the contents inside live on as they were. There are many things worth preserving and, for foodie Jessie Woodward, recipes top the list. She appreciates handwritten recipes passed down through the generations—these are the recipes that tell a story themselves. Read on to see how our guest blogger uses her Rustico items and why there's magic in archiving family recipes.


Creating and Preserving Culinary Memories

"In my opinion, there is something so magical about leather…. I love the way that our fingertips stain the exterior leaving lasting imprints and the way that the leather fades over time in the most perfectly imperfect way while its contents do not. The same can be said for the handwritten recipes passed down from my husband’s grandmother.

I am such a sucker for a handwritten recipe. It gets my culinary wheels turning and I often wonder how many times the recipe in question has been made, in how many kitchens, and how many people have enjoyed that particular meal. I miss the days when women used to exchange recipes written on scraps of miscellaneous papers, torn envelopes, and now-yellowed index cards. They would be pieces of their mother’s grandmother’s famous supper scribbled down in fragments, strung together in broken cursive with the outcome of making the most delicious chicken dumplings.

When flipping through my inherited recipes, I always knew which the good ones were by the stained page corners and the scrupulous drops of, at this point in time, 20-year-old Sunday gravy. They crater the page as if you can see the love that went into the spaghetti and meatballs. The fragrant garlic, the potent basil, the tangy Parmesan cheese rind. You do know that someone else’s granny could make a sauce with the same exact ingredients, but it would not taste the same without the love. 

This is what inspires me to keep writing and to keep creating recipes and to continue to learn everything that I can about the various cultures of food. To me, food is more than just food. It tells stories, it sheds light on geographical differences, it connects people, it gives us an experience, and it gives us something to look forward to after a long day at work. 

If you’re from the Midwest, you know about the old recipe books with coil bindings from various churches or women’s groups... They hold the secrets of the little old ladies’ gatherings. They map out the culinary blueprint that came before us. There are scribbled corrections in the ledgers, circled recipes submitted from their best friends, and the dog-eared pages with the exceptional recipes. Of course, these recipes were the ones that were continuously made time and time again. 

I have the urge to carry this legacy on and my Rustico products help me do that. I wanted to create a permanent time capsule of the recipes and meals that I created and shared with people around me so that they can continue to cook and share these meals with the people that surround them. 

The Small Soft Binder and the Epiphany with Pocket are my go-to tools for this culinary journey. Not only are they going to last a lifetime, but so are the culinary memories they help me create."


Small Soft Leather Binder

"I could smell the leather of this product when I opened up the package. Have I mentioned that I love the smell of leather?! The best thing about this binder is that it lays flat. Nothing frustrates me more than when you try and write in a notebook and it does not lay flat and the handwriting starts to smush near the binding. You can also fold the front flap over to make it easy to write on the couch or a cluttered kitchen island. 

The leather ties don’t only add rustic charm, they’re also functional keeping everything all tied up in one spot. The craftsmanship is brilliant. It becomes a centerpiece on my kitchen island when friends and family are over. I often find them snapping pictures of recipes to recreate at a later date. 

My favorite part is the binder rings for their shareability factor. The binder rings make it easy to punch holes in magazine clippings to add recipes, or take out ones that didn’t make the cut, or replace one with an updated version or, even better yet, swap them with your friends."


Epiphany with Pocket

"I love the size of this product. It is small enough to carry every day for when inspiration unexpectedly hits. It is easily accessible in my bag to jot down recipe ideas, new ingredients, and even on the rare occasion when I decide to divert from my meal plan, I jot down what tonight’s menu will be. After all, you can find inspiration in everything around you… Sometimes I feel as if my best recipe ideas come at the most unconventional times.  

The front pocket is perfect to hold a pencil or pen, so there is no scrambling at the bottom of my bag to find one. I love that the paper sewn into it has a rustic feel, yet is thick enough so that ink doesn’t bleed through. The leather wrap holds everything in place for transportation. 

I am a ‘pen and paper’ kind of gal! You will find me carrying around a leather journal before my computer, any day. You can get lost in the words that flow out of your pen, just like you can get lost creating things in your kitchen. If you’re looking to add something a little more rustic to your cooking repertoire, do yourself a favor and get a Rustico leather product, and let the inspiration flow. Your children’s children will appreciate it someday!" 


A special thanks to Jessie for being our guest blogger. We love her passion and appreciation for archiving recipes to be shared and passed on for years to come. For meal inspiration, be sure to follow Jessie on Instagram.

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