Tuesday, December 29, 2009

etegami recipe cards

While I wait impatiently for the chance to post some of the Etegami New Year's cards I expect to receive on New Years Day (fingers crossed), let me tell you about yet another fun use for etegami: Etegami Recipe Cards. This is something that evolved out of my habit of sending etegami thank-you cards to several friends who send me yearly presents of the agricultural products their home prefectures are famous for.

Many years ago, when I first started sending out etegami thank-you cards, I simply drew a picture of the gift received with some appropriate words of gratitude. Later, for variety, I began accompanying my drawings with the names of the dishes I had made from their gift, and still later, I started writing down entire recipes, either alongside the drawing or on the other side. My friends know how enthusiastic I am about cooking, and that is one of the reasons they enjoy sending me the produce. So what better way to show them my appreciation than by sharing the recipes for the yummy dishes made possible by their gift?

The Potato Etegami above is one of the earliest thank-you cards I sent to a woman who sends me a big box of potatoes every year from a potato-growing region of Hokkaido. This particular one is the first time I accompanied the drawing with the names of all the dishes I made from her gift. The Udon Etegami (noodles in a bamboo basket) is one I drew for a woman in the US who has a keen interest in cuisine from around the world. I did not include a recipe, but on the other side, I explained the culture of udon and the different ways it is served depending on the season of the year.

At the same time that my thank-you cards were evolving, I had begun to attach etegami drawings to the recipes I was posting on my food blogs. Although I didn't write the recipes on the cards themselves, they were meant to illustrate the recipes. The Banana Etegami shown above is one that I drew to illustrate my "Screaming Banana Chocolate Fondue Pie." The strawberry-stuffed rice cake drawing was the first one that illustrated a completed dish, rather than just the main ingredient from which the dish had been made. It was initially the last drawing in my Strawberry Diary series, but I later used it to illustrate a recipe I posted on my food blog. Since then, I have drawn many etegami of the results of my cooking, and these days I usually write the recipe on address side of the card. One recent example is the etegami showing Lotus Root Cakes. I posted the recipe, along with photographs of the cooking process, on my Wagashi (Japanese confections) blog.

If any of this stimulates your creativity, please try making a hand-drawn recipe card (etegami if possible) and send it to me. I'd LOVE to see what you all come up with.


  1. Hi Debbie, I've enjoyed reading and admiring your etegami very much, hope to send you one of my recipe. Meanwhile, wish you the best for 2010!
    Best regards, Yun

  2. That's great, Yun! I look forward to it. Happy New Year to you too. :)

  3. Etegami recipe cards! Brilliant! I love that idea and must borrow it from you! Thanks, Test

  4. Test, if you make one, please let me know. I'd love to see your unique twist on this idea.

  5. What a great idea. I enjoyed reading how the cards evolved. I'm definitely going to try this. Thanks :)

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