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Photo by: Writes 4 Food

Mooth didn't know what she would do with the recipes at first and briefly considered cooking through them all, Julie & Julia style. A recipe for kidney bean salad with sliced tongue quickly put an end to that. "My husband was like, 'Just do one a week. Test it and see if it works. If it does, post it as is, and if it doesn't, try to update it.'" Mooth has cooked about 30 recipes from a collection she suspects totals more than 250, and in some cases has tweaked the "old-fashioned recipes for modern ingredients and tastes." She calls it, "The Clara Project."

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Vintage Recipe Cards Inspire Unlikely Friendship

June 26, 2013

Late last summer, in an antiques store in Milford, Ohio, Bryn Mooth was buying vintage kitchen finds--old spoons, forks, and table linens--to use as photo props on her recipe blog, Writes 4 Food. The shopkeeper had just returned from an estate sale with a bundle of handwritten recipe cards tied up with long strips of white cotton fabric. Not yet sure where in the store to stash them, she placed the stack right near the cash register.

"I thought, 'How can I not buy those?'" Mooth told Yahoo! Shine. "I took them home, and I untied the bundle, and it was just like this treasure trove from the 1930s."

The stack of 4-by-6 recipes cards, most of which were written in neat cursive and dated 1934, were signed, "Clara Shenefelt." Mooth felt she had found someone's family treasure. "I don't know Clara or her family," Mooth wrote on her blog after the acquisition, "but I feel connected to her through her recipes. Food has a way of doing that." What began as a junk store impulse buy turned into a lesson in America's home cooking history, and a search for the woman who had so carefully copied those recipes down with her fountain pen.

"I didn't know what the circumstances were that lead a family to part with a family thing like this," Mooth said. "I hoped that the resolution would be happy and everyone would be cool with it. And that's actually exceeded my expectations."