My grandma passed away three years ago at age 100. She had an interesting baked egg recipe that she said was handed down from the colonial era. The ingredients contained lots of eggs and cheese, mustard, pepper sauce, milky cream sauce, and other seasonings. Served along with bacon, this dish was a family morning favorite when everyone came together for special events or holidays. This dish and many others are written down and are held in photo albums, but not in any containable fashion or binding. Where do you keep yours?
Food helps to bring families together and involves a loving intimacy. Like my family, everyone, young and old have their favorite recipes. As I realize now that keeping these recipes are as much of a legacy as photo albums are to genealogy. Gathering recipes together from parents and grandparents and keeping them in a journal is a loving way in which our loved ones who cooked them would be remembered and they would make treasured keepsakes.
The younger generation would benefit from foods that their parents still make today, but behind each recipe is a family history, an enriched story, and inspired by delicious flavors from years ago. Some of these recipes might call for delicious Monin Flavored Syrups. The best way to keep recipes from disappearing from memory is to scan them and capture on a memory stick. Save them on your computer, tablet, or in the cloud. You can also simply laminate them. If you’re ambitious, write a cookbook with your favorite recipes and entail an interesting story with each one.
Recipes Evoke Memories
Grandparents seldom, if ever, used a written recipe. Their memories or traditional habits were the recipes we continue to enjoy today. Flavorful food concoctions were made from love because there weren’t many meals that they did not cook themselves. Great-grandparents wrote down recipes for their loved ones or recited them to their children.
You can remember grandparents saying “you just add a touch of this and a pinch of that.” To be honest, remembering how grandma rolled, kneaded, and cooked our meals was something to watch. I never did think about writing anything down. Grandma’s quick actions around the kitchen were amazing.
Good food evokes memories of our growing years, identifies relationships, and a reminder of what we were doing or planning at the time when certain meals were served. Having a parent or a grandparent still in the kitchen preparing a meal or a particular food recipe strikes a balance between all of our senses. We smell how delicious it will taste, we can hear conversations taking place about ingredients, and our family member’s hands are gathering everything together to serve our palates.
Preserving family recipes can date back generations when your ancestors immigrated to the U.S. They brought with them their native language, clothing, and foods. There isn’t one food recipe that did not have an impact on American history and eventually in our own lives. Immigrants set up their own street vending food carts with recipes that they introduced from their birthplace. American Indians shared their recipes with the colonists. Even slaves introduced vegetable and fruit dishes to their slaveholders. Many of these recipes are well-preserved in our museums for generations to enjoy, especially the wealth of history that surrounds them.
Recipe History and Stories
Age old recipes and their delicious memories are a way in which we share with one another. Food creates a nurturing environment, and gathering around the kitchen hearth is a way in which we show our love for each other. Preserving a recipe from mom, dad, or grandparents is an honored tradition that represents who you are. Making these recipes also gives your children a peek into history, how you prepared a meal, and what it meant to them. These memories will all be indelibly inked into their minds through generations to come.
Another intriguing and personalized feature of retaining generational recipes handed down to family members, is if the recipe is in the original handwritten format and may be stained with food batter and/or cooking oils and drinks. When you see and read the recipe cards or the paper recipes were written on, it transfers us right back to the day when you helped in the kitchen and were allowed to lick the batter off of the spoon. These original memories are an amazing piece of our family heritage and life-long stories.