Preserving Family Recipes
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Preserving Family Recipes

How to Save and Celebrate Your Food Traditions

Title Details

Pages: 304

Illustrations: 150 b&w photos

Trim size: 8.000in x 9.000in



Pub Date: 11/01/2015

ISBN: 9-780-8203-3063-1

List Price: $30.95

Subsidies and Partnerships

Published with the generous support of Friends Fund

Preserving Family Recipes

How to Save and Celebrate Your Food Traditions

A step-by-step guide for the family food genealogist

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  • Description
  • Reviews

Heirloom dishes and family food traditions are rich sources of nostalgia and provide vivid ways to learn about our families’ past, yet they can be problematic. Many family recipes and food traditions are never documented in written or photographic form, existing only as unwritten know-how and lore that vanishes when a cook dies. Even when recipes are written down, they often fail to give the tricks and tips that would allow another cook to accurately replicate the dish. Unfortunately, recipes are also often damaged as we plunk Grandma’s handwritten cards on the countertop next to a steaming pot or a spattering mixer, shortening their lives.

This book is a guide for gathering, adjusting, supplementing, and safely preserving family recipes and for interviewing relatives, collecting oral histories, and conducting kitchen visits to document family food traditions from the everyday to special occasions. It blends commonsense tips with sound archival principles, helping you achieve effective results while avoiding unnecessary pitfalls. Chapters are also dedicated to unfamiliar regional or ethnic cooking challenges, as well as to working with recipes that are “orphans,” surrogates, or terribly outdated. Whether you simply want to save a few accurate recipes, help yesterday’s foodways evolve so they are relevant for today’s table, or create an extensive family cookbook, this guidebook will help you to savor your memories.

The history of families, of communities, of cultures has a lot to do with what they eat. Rarely do we document the repast, but Valerie Frey is aiming to patch that loss with Preserving Family Recipes. She is teaching us to preserve the recipes of our ancestors. It is an important read for the future and past of our food.

—Hugh Acheson, author of A New Turn in the South

If you have ever been overwhelmed by the task of researching, analyzing, organizing, and preserving family recipes, you probably have longed for a trained archivist to take charge! Well, one finally has in this exhaustive and delightful work by educator/archivist Valerie Frey, who expertly guides readers step-by-step to create family cookbooks, heirloom recipe collections, and food-related oral histories and most importantly, shows how to protect our historic family recipes, recollections, papers, and artifacts for future generations to enjoy and savor. There’s much southern flavor here, too, reflected in Frey’s Arkansas family roots and her long association with the Georgia Archives.

—Marcie Cohen Ferris, author of The Edible South: The Power of Food and the Making of an American Region

Frey infuses her book with stories and recipes she collected from her own family, which makes it a cozy joy to read. At the same time, by including these, she proves that the process of documenting such recipes is not only feasible, but wholly worthwhile.

—Jenna Mason, Southern Foodways Alliance

There is certainly more in this book than can be described here, so if you are a cookbook collector, family food historian, someone who likes old recipes, or you enjoy the history of cooking, especially Southern cooking, this book is for you. It would be a great last-minute gift as well.

—Kenneth H. Thomas, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

About the Author/Editor

VALERIE J. FREY is a writer, archivist, and an educational consultant. She lives in Athens, Georgia.