I was watching Jacques Pepin: Heart and Soul tonight and it was the episode called “Menu Memories” – beyond a delicious looking coffee panna cotta that I might have to try a version of, the episode ended with Jacques surrounded by several journals of menus he’s done for events, as well as family dinners. Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays, and parties – he’d illustrated most, but at the very least, he’d written them all down, with the occasion and date.
The NY Times has a small gallery of some of these menus: http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2015/10/21/t-magazine/the-menus-jacques-pepin-drew/s/21tmag-pepin-slide-PP5M.html?_r=0
It really struck me as a cool idea. I know from what my Grandma has told me that my Great-Grandmother kept a recipe box (which my aunt has – I’d love copies of what’s in there) which had her recipes, but also has a card for every dinner party she threw. Each card has a drawing of the plate and a complete list of everything that was served. That way, she never repeated herself and always had a record.
I’ve only recently started to keep better track of writing down my recipes when I make a meal we really like. But I can honestly say I’ve never written down when I’ve hosted Thanksgiving or any other special occasion.
Once we get in this new house, this is going to be one of my goals. I’m going to get a blank, unlined journal, and for every party, holiday, or other occasion we deem “special” I’m going to write the menu, maybe even so that it could be displayed, and then maybe even take a photo of what the table looked like, so I can print it out and paste it in later. So many memories with family often involve holiday meals or parties with friends, it just seems like a great idea.
Is this something you’ve ever done?