ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Family History through Recipes

Updated on February 27, 2014

If you’re fascinated by family history, you’re probably searching through dusty documents and faded scrapbooks in the attic, but don’t forget to go through the old family recipe box. A family recipe oozes with memories that don’t show up on a birth certificate.

Source

Heirloom recipes

Lucky is the one who finds a true heirloom recipe, handwritten and passed down through the centuries. Recipes, the way they are written and the ingredients used, bespeak of their times. Early instructions for honey-laded cakes were found on the inside of Egyptian pyramids while turn-of-the-century cooks relied on curious kitchen utensils to prepare recipes that were favored by early US presidents. Immigrants brought flavors and history of their homeland to meld with those of their new country, and the resulting recipes used both familiar and foreign ingredients.

Often, these recipes are not written down, but kept inside great grandmother’s head. Now is the time to collect them and record them for posterity’s sake! Be sure to inquire not only about the ingredients, measurements and instructions but also any memories associated with cooking this special recipe. Where did she get it? Who taught her to make it? Were there different ingredients or tools available? What does she remember about the family enjoying this recipe? Take her picture to keep with the recipe. Be sure to have her sign and date it.

And of course, great grandmother isn’t the only good source of family recipes. Send out inquiries to all of your relatives and encourage them to record treasured recipes from their elderly family members, too.

Start now to create your new family food legacy

Even those without a long line of ancestors can create recipe legacies for their posterity. When selecting a recipe to hand down, consider the following:

  • It should be a unanimous winner. Everyone gets a vote.
  • Think about a recipe that comes from your ethnic background.
  • Choose a dish that evokes happy memories.

Source

Tips to preserving your family recipes

And when preserving your newfound tradition or “heirloom” recipe, remember these ideas to add more meaning and memories:

  • Try to avoid using the word processor. Even if the fonts are more legible than your scrawl, your descendents will enjoy seeing your handwriting.
  • Although your family may enjoy many of your recipes, select only the absolutely favorites for your special collection.
  • Accompany the recipe with a photograph of not only the dish itself but with the cook or family surrounding it.
  • It would be equally fascinating for people to see pics of step-by-step directions of your own hands rolling gnocchi, for example.

Example of clues to heritage in recipe

Here is an heirloom recipe from a woman whose parents immigrated to Hawaii from old Japan. There are many varieties of tsukemono, the salted and pickled vegetables served as accompaniments. Her altered version gives clues to her past and changing condition with its use of miso (soybean paste), Hawaiian salt, and beer, which first appeared in cans around 1935 and later arrived in the Hawaiian islands with the servicemen who were stationed there.

Tsukemono

nappa cabbage, won bok (makina) or daikon (Japanese radish)

1 can beer

1/2 c. miso

1 c. sugar

1/4 c. Hawaiian salt

1/4 c. vinegar

Wash vegetables. If using daikon, peel it. Cut daikon in half and then cut each long piece in half down the center lengthwise.

Mix ingredients and pour over cabbage, won bok or daikon. If using won bok or nappa cabbage, smear the ingredients in between each of the layers of leaves. Place in a loosely lidded container. Keep cold in ice box. Allow to ferment for three days or more. Rinse well and slice into thin pieces before serving.

Recipes tell a story

My grandfather was proud of this amazing catch. He was happy to share this large fish with many family and friends. My grandma ended up drying most of their share by cutting into thin, long pieces, lightly salting them, and hanging them out in the hot Hawaiian sun in a homemade "dryer" which consisted of wooden dowels in a box made of netting.

Memorializing a Great Grandma's Recipe on Video

Use Video to Preserve Recipe

Using video is a great way to preserve family recipes. If you can videotape your family member cooking his/her own recipe, all the better. There will come a time when they'll pass from this earth, and it will be too late to catch them on video. I wish I had taped my grandmother in the kitchen while she was alive.

But even if it's took late for that, you can keep alive the family recipes as this man did on his Youtube video which shows him making a batch of his great grandma's Banana Chocolate chip cookies.


Do You Preserve Your Family Recipes?

Do you preserve your family recipes?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      A very interesting and unique topic. I'm adopted, so I have nothing to go on regarding family history, but I've always wished I did. Now I do know quite a bit about my adopted family....but I like this angle. Well done!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)