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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Receipts to Recipes

I have been collecting recipes for a long time. Originally, I filed them in a box for 3 x 5 cards. However, I didn't copy them all to 3 x 5 cards. Some were letters, which I simply folded up and filed in the proper category. Some were clippings from the newspaper. (Hint: Newspaper clippings don't hold up well with time.) Some recipes came from the back of a box. A few were scribbled hastily on a small slip of paper.

Nowadays, I use a three-ring binder to keep my recipes in order. If I find a recipe online, I print it out, slip it into a plastic sleeve, and file it in the proper category in the binder. So much neater than the old 3 x 5 file box!

My heroine in PATRIOT'S PRIDE collects recipes, too. However, she calls them receipts. For a long time, recipes were called receipts. has this reference:

receiptn.late 14c., "act of receiving;" also "statement of ingredients in a potion or medicine;" from Anglo-French or Old North French receite "receipt, recipe,prescription" (c.1300), altered (by influence of receit "he receives," fromVulgar Latin *recipitfrom Old French recetefrom Latin recepta"received," fem. past participle of recipere (see receive ). Meaning "writtenacknowledgment of money or goods received" is from c.1600.Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

There is a more detailed explanation in The Grammarphobia Blog, which you should read and can find in the link below:

Language changes with time--just like newspaper clippings. Newspaper clippings get old, brown, and crumbly. Words fall into disuse. Most people decided they liked the use of recipe rather than receipt for cooking ingredients.

Margaret, my heroine from 1784, calls her collection of cooking ingredients receipts. She's still living in a time when the word was very much in use.

Do you think historicals should use words from the time period? Or should an author change the terms to those in use in our contemporary society? 


Gay N Lewis said...

Learned something new, and I like this. I'm looking forward to the book.

Penelope Marzec said...


Thanks! I enjoy delving into the details of history.

I hope you enjoy the book. :-)

Elaine Marie Cooper said...

Hi Penelope. In answer to your question, "Yes." I think it not only adds realism to a historical, but it shows the readers you have done your research. My third novel was set in 1800 and I used the word "receipt" in reference to a recipe.Thanks for the informative post! Blessings, Elaine

Penelope Marzec said...


So glad you agree with me. Now I've got to look up your book. :-)