Friday, July 27, 2012

More vinegar!

Today Steve and I were busy with last minute preparations for his parents to arrive.  The day went something like this:

"What else needs to be done?"

"De-furring (4 cats create a LOT of fur that gets deposited on EVERYTHING), back bathroom, floor, litter...."

"Oh, crap!  Look at _____.  That needs to be cleaned!"

Along with all of this I needed to make German potato salad for tomorrow.  My mother and stepfather are coming to see Steve's parents, and Steve requested the potato salad.  Here's how the conversation with my mother went:

"So, what can we bring?"

"German potato salad?"


"Okay - how about deviled eggs and corn on the cob?"


I had already come to peace with making it myself, but it was worth a shot!

(note, greater than and less than signs are HTML tags and should not be used while emoting groans or cheerful acceptances, even when typing in "Compose" mode)

But, Traci, this is a CRAFT blog.  Sure, you go off on tangents every once in a while, but really, you need to tie this into crafting somehow.

Alrighty, how about scrapbook pages?

You can click on the pictures to make them bigger.  I didn't use the Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner for these pages because I think the brads I'm using for the bullet points are too bulky.  The resultant scan would probably be blurry.  Besides, Pixel is on my desk, and I don't have the space to scan.  Also besides, it's been a long day, and I wanted to do something quick.

I love making pages for family recipes.  First of all, this is a great way to keep the family recipes safe, especially those that get plastered all over a blog.  Second, by taking pictures of the process, it can help people who haven't made the recipe before figure out what needs to be done.  In this case it's not essential, but there are a few steps in the German wedding soup that benefit from pictures.  Third, it really makes you stop and think about what you're doing if you're taking process shots while cooking.  If you can find old pictures of family members eating the dish, that ties the whole thing back to what's really important - your family.

Since those pictures are pretty small, let's blow a few sections up for further scrutiny:

  • Before-during-after.  This is a quick way to show how to do something.  Yeah, I could have skipped the first two pictures, but how else would you be impressed with the process of peeling a mountain of HOT potatoes then slicing them?

    Steve:  "But why do you peel them after boiling?  Wouldn't it be easier to peel them before?"

    Traci, Traci's Mom, Traci's Omi, and all other women before her:  "This is how it's done."

  • Split the title across the pages.  This helps tie the two pages together.  Granted, it doesn't look all that good separated like this, and in an album the pages will never be RIGHT next to each other, but it does help draw the eye.  Also, if you create a vague title like mine, people will ask you what the food is.  Honestly didn't occur to me to have to name the thing.  It's obviously German potato salad.  Duh (for someone who has eaten it her whole life).

  • Write directly on the pictures.  Do not use a regular pen for this.  Use a Slick Writer pen or photo marker or something that is specially designed for glossy surfaces.  Otherwise you'll have a smeary mess on your hands.  Now everyone can see "The Drama of Potato Slices" and how beautiful my hard boiled eggs were that day.  Not so my eggs since I moved into this house with its electric stove.  I've looked online for help, but no matter what I do, I'm having a really hard time getting the shells off the eggs without taking a layer of whites off as well.

    I did grab the Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner for these pictures and the rest on this page - crops from the main pictures were far too blurry.
  • Use brads for bullet points.  See - the bulkiness of the brads made that part of the page blurry with the scanner.  Anyway - you can see most of my gas-stove egg-boiling process.  For electric stoves, I've been putting the eggs in cold water, bringing the water to a rolling boil, keeping it on the heat for about a minute, then taking it off the heat for about 12 minutes.  Rinse in cold water and swear while peeling.  Anyone have a better way?

    Anyway.  If you use brads as bullet points, they help separate the processes as well as being pretty.  I remember that I used all of these brads - 3 square and 2 round - on this recipe.  In case you haven't figured this out from yesterday's post, I really like using things up.
  • Use your own (or a relative's) handwriting.  I've mentioned this before (see my blog post from June 28th, 2010), so I won't go into it now.  Yes, you can make mistakes (like I did with "boil" in the upper right of the above picture), but that helps the page have personality.  If you happen to have the recipe written in your grandmother's or mother's or great aunt's handwriting, make a copy of it and USE it.  You'll hear her voice in your head whenever you make the recipe.

And finally...

  • Bacon.  You can't go wrong with a picture of sizzling bacon and onions (a German staple).  Seriously, though (not that bacon isn't serious enough), Lazy Scrapper didn't want to mat all the pictures, so I matted two - one on the left (the potato process) and this one.  It's subtle but helps to draw the eye along the page, unless your eye is drawn directly to bacon.

This was supposed to be a quick post.  Hopefully you've gotten some good ideas out of this.  Or, at the very least, I hope you've gotten hungry.

For my non-scrappers:  You don't have to scrap to achieve the same results.  Get an album with sleeves for certain sizes of pictures (usually 4x6).  Take the process shots and put them in the sleeves along with the handwritten recipe.  They actually have recipe books just for this purpose - I've seen them at Archiver's.  Any ready-to-use scrapbook with sleeves will work, though.  The most important thing is to get those recipes down so that future generations will be able to keep your family history alive.


  1. Okay....I also peel my potatoes after boiling them. Well, at least when they cool off. :) And in-laws are coming this weekend also!! How funny is that! Once your post!

  2. Boiling the potatoes in their skin gives them a different taste than peeling beforehand. Besides, everyone who makes potato salad of any kind boils with skin on.