At our house, we celebrate with cake! Often, our cake of choice is Most Memorable Marguerite Cake. Recently, I received a Blue Ribbon for this recipe. The ribbon came in the mail from a wonderful Internet site called Just a Pinch®. The idea of someone else trying this recipe, loving it, awarding it a ribbon of merit, and actually taking time to put the ribbon in the mail was exhilarating for me. I raised my hand in a heavenward high-five congratulating my mom, my aunt, and the neighbour who originally shared the recipe.
One by one, my mom, her sisters, and her sisters-in-law made this cake, and one by one, their husbands fell helplessly in love with the recipe. This all happened before I was born, so the recipe is definitely vintage. It is fabulously unique in its flavours and that makes it ribbon-worthy. Until you make the recipe, you can’t possibly understand the magic it brings to a party.
Just a Pinch® is an Internet recipe club, but like Marguerite Cake, it is so much more than it seems, at first glance. Receiving the ribbon sent me back to the Just a Pinch® site, and, as usual, there had been improvements. Janet Tharpe hosts the site, and, in the test kitchen, Janet works with her daughter-in-law to prepare and sample hundreds of down-home recipes, submitted by Just A Pinch® members. Janet says, “Blue Ribbons are our way of giving little extra kudos to outstanding home cooks and their recipes.”
You can’t go wrong with a Blue Ribbon Recipe from Just a Pinch® because one of three things has happened to such a winning recipe. Janet might have been drawn to it and tested it in her kitchen. She and her daughter-in-law spend hours reading new submissions and watching the recipe trends on their site. The Honorary Kitchen Crew might have tested the recipe, in their home kitchens, based on their interest in the recipe. Or, at least three Just a Pinch® members might have nominated the recipe, which will elevate it to Janet’s kitchen for immediate testing.
Just a Pinch® is a home cook’s paradise. I stumbled upon it by accident and joined out of curiosity. Their slogan is, “The largest collection of real recipes from real home cooks.” The interest groups become little sub-sites, where you can ask questions, get to know your favourite cooks, and draw the members’ attention to recipes they might want to try. There are 169 pages of groups, with 8 groups listed per page. I have joined nine groups so far.
Anyone can start an interest group, but, if you start a group, you need to have time to manage it. I haven’t yet started a group, but I would like to be part of a group focusing on recipes from the 50s and 60s. Bonnie D has a group called, Tried and True, and as the name implies, you don’t post recipes there unless you have made them, many times, for your family. She has 4.7 thousand members. Heather S. manages Gluten-Free Living with 258 members, who are really serious about their specific family needs.
I have a very organized approach to storing my recipes, but also having a virtual recipe box on the Just a Pinch® site allows me to link friends to a recipe, easily and quickly. Once a recipe is on the site, you can print it, rate it, pinch it for your own files, post it on Facebook and Pinterest, or contact the cook who submitted the recipe to ask questions. Just a Pinch® is extremely easy to use, because they prompt you every step of the way. You can even build a recipe book and have it published.
Of course, nothing can replace sitting down with a glossy photo-filled cookbook and enjoying the slow turning of the pages. However, being in touch with thousands of home cooks on the Internet has its charm too. My aunts won blue ribbons for recipes at their local fairs. One was known for her angel food cupcakes and another was known for her date square. Now, I have brought home a ribbon for a cake they used to make, and I am proud to share it with them. Click here to visit Just a Pinch®.
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