When did your family last gather in the kitchen to cook a favorite meal? Did you use tried and true recipes? Recipes that have been handed down from previous generations? If so, you preserved a piece of your family’s history. Now you just need to recognize and record your family food traditions.
Steve Rockwood kicked off the RootsTech 2017 theme of food and family history with sharing his own family’s tradition of making his grandmother’s rocky road fudge. He reminded us that the kitchen is the place where families always gather, and that food is one of the most universal ways we connect. He invited us to “try this at home,” meaning look for a favorite family recipe, write the story, and share it. Learn more on the new FamilySearch Recipe Story page.
Food continued to be a focus for the RootsTech 2017 conference and I started to reflect on my own family’s food traditions. I started helping my mother cook as soon as I could hold a spoon and created lots of interesting food with the help of my Easy Bake Oven.
My grandmother, Florence Creer Kelsey, took pride in her Mormon pioneer heritage. Knowing of my interest in cooking, she gave me The Pioneer Cook Book when I was about ten years old. A bit of a collector, I now own two shelves worth of cookbooks, but I still consult this treasure when I want to make a dish celebrating my pioneer ancestors. Grandma Kelsey was a woman after my own heart – clipping recipes from the newspaper, writing out recipes from her friends, and keeping them in her handy recipe box. When she passed away my mother kept it and added to the collection. I inherited the sturdy wooden box from my mother and found among other treasures, our family fondue recipe collection.
Growing up in the 70’s fondue was all the rage and my family embraced this fun new way to cook and eat. My mother invested in several fondue pots and we collected recipes. Any special occasion became an excuse to pore over the recipes, plan a menu, and then the fun part – eating. We made three course fondue meals: cheese fondue with french bread and apples for the starter course. Bits of steak fried in hot oil and dipped in delicious sauces for the main course. Angel food cake, bananas, and marshmallows dipped in chocolate or butterscotch for dessert. The fun of course wasn’t just in the eating, it was in the planning, shopping, preparing, all done with my mother. Looking at the recipes, collected from friends and magazines, written out by me and my mother, I am flooded with memories.
In my own family, I started a new food tradition. Years ago I experimented with using my mother’s famous roll recipe and morphed it into a cinnamon roll shaped as a Christmas tree for our Christmas morning breakfast. The edible tree proved to be a big hit and has become a much loved tradition. I decided this recipe would be a perfect one to share on FamilySearch so my grandchildren and great grandchildren could find the recipe and read the story. When you add a story to FamilySearch you can only upload one photo, so I created an image using LibreDraw so both the recipe and the picture could be included. Now our Christmas morning tradition is preserved for future generations!
What family food traditions are in your family history? Why not take the invitation to share your story on FamilySearch?
Best of luck in all of your family history endeavors!