Sometimes I enjoy watching Antiques Roadshow to imagine what treasures might be lurking in my own home. LOL. Recently a participant brought a smallish notebook that she said was her grandfather’s cookbook. He had worked as a chef in the Alsace-Lorraine region of France in the last century, and his cookbook contained his collection of classic French recipes that he enjoyed creating as well as eating.
The Antiques Roadshow participant opened the little cookbook, hardly more than the size of a small 3” x 5” recipe card, and revealed the handwritten pages to those of us paying attention. Its pages were obviously well-used, and contained about 100 entries printed in a neatly-spaced handwriting captured in the still strongly-visible ink of a fountain pen. Some recipes even had sketches showing how the recipe should be properly garnished or plated.
The Antiques Roadshow appraiser examined the small dark leather-bound booklet, which also had a locking strap that clasped in the center of the cover. There was some brief discussion about the quality of the French recipes, and the family’s enjoyment of them whenever the Antiques Roadshow’s participant’s grandfather made them. A particular favorite was the bacon and cheese flavored custard pie (Quiche Lorraine), she recalled.
Despite its pocket size, the grandfather’s cookbook enchanted the Antiques Roadshow appraiser, who said it was a family treasure to be carefully preserved. He suggested the recipes be copied and digitized so the original could be put away for safekeeping. I wish I had that Antiques Roadshow participant’s name and phone number; I have a great cookbook software that I can recommend!
After considering the grandfather’s cookbook’s age, condition, contents, and family story, the Antiques Roadshow appraiser did put a value on the participant’s grandfather’s cookbook (although I’m quite sure that for sentimental reasons it will never be sold. loaned out, or given away):
Antiques Roadshow appraiser’s value – $150
True value – Priceless.