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Because it’s strange and beautiful and hot, people from everywhere converge on Florida and they bring their cuisine and their traditions with them. The Zest celebrates the intersection of food and communities in the Sunshine State.

Chef Judi Gallagher On The Lost Art Of Hand-Written Recipes

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Cooking blogs are over the internet. But what gets lost when a recipe goes from hand-written to typed out… and how can we get that back?

Chef Judi Gallagher of Sarasota has a passion for preserving her family’s hand-written recipes. She says cooking and baking have been therapeutic during some of the most challenging times in her life, including a tough childhood with her father who suffered from mental illness, a contentious divorce and her adult son’s debilitating health condition. So for Judi, her family’s hand-written recipes are more valuable than a pound of saffron or the rarest white truffles.

Judi is a chef, TV personality, entrepreneur and the author of Reflections & Recipes of Chef Judi, which is available on Amazon. In her conversation with The Zest, Judi shared the story of how she started baking as a young girl and advice for going low-tech to preserve your own treasured recipes.

“The penmanship is just as important to me as the recipe,’ cause it just brings me back.”

“Don’t get me wrong—I get plenty of inspiration on the internet,” she says. “But [it] just can’t touch your heart in the same way that hand-written recipes do.”

Judi’s tips for preserving and sharing hand-written recipes:

  • Laminate them.
  • For baked goods, fill a mason jar with the dry ingredients. Use a ribbon to tie the recipe card to the jar. This makes a great gift.
  • For affordable dinner party favors, put a potted herb with a hand-written recipe for pesto at each place setting.
  • For kids who help in the kitchen but are too young to write out the entire recipe, let them include a brief note or drawing.
  • Write notes in the margins of your cookbooks.
  • When someone asks you for a recipe, write it out by hand and include a memory of the person who taught you how to make the dish. You can also write suggestions for improving the recipe or ideas to upcycle it into a new dish for the following day.
  • Use technology to copy the recipe onto a tea towel or recipe photo book.

You can read much more of Judi’s incredible life story in Dalia’s profile of her. It appears in the summer issue of FORUM, the magazine of Florida Humanities.

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