Create a cookbook treasure
Lowery, Deborah Garrison
No matter what your reason for compiling a family cookbook, the legacy it leaves can touch lives for generations. Here are some reasons and ways to produce your own.
Ruth Burbage of Cropwell, Ala., grew tired of hunting for favorite recipes from her family and friends. “Like everyone else, I would make a recipe someone gave me, then look for it later to make again and couldn’t find the darn thing!” says Ruth.
Her frustration turned into two cookbooks that have made it easier to locate her favorite recipes and delighted her family and friends.
In fact, her first book, “Cooking With Friends & Family,” was designed to be more than a family cookbook.
“I came from a family of wonderful Kentucky cooks,” she says. “They cooked plain and simple, but it was all good. Then, I have friends from all over the U.S. who’ve given me recipes of different types. I just wanted something to keep all my recipes together in one place.”
In the introductions of both books, Ruth has penned a few memories and included some vintage photographs, but that’s the extent of family history in her books.
At an annual family Thanksgiving reunion, Richard Allen, of Conroe, Texas, asked his Aunt Vonda for a copy of his grandmother’s recipe for hot rolls. “I knew she was the sole surviving source of that recipe,” he says. With the receipt of the coveted recipe, Richard’s project grew into a family cookbook titled, “Thanksgiving and More; A Collection of Favorite Family Foods.”
In addition to family recipes, Richard included addresses, family clans, birthdates and a family tree. “The recipes were easy to get; the birthdates were not!” he says with a laugh. Though it was hard to get some of the older relatives to admit their real ages, Richard says the birthdate section has become an invaluable resource for family members who remember each other with cards.
What’s different about Richard’s cookbook is that he wanted to preserve recipes in the original handwriting instead of having them typeset. “There’s just something about cooking from a recipe that is written in your grandmother’s or favorite aunt’s handwriting that’s special,” he says.
For Susan Cannon, of Lubbock, Texas, her cookbook, “Where Hearts Gather,” was a way to preserve family recipes and heartwarming stories about the women in her life. She worked on it leisurely for five years and included her own artistic line drawings on every page.
“I wanted to preserve memories that recorded who we were as a family and what was important to us, like faith, home and family,” says Susan. “I also wanted the cookbook to be a legacy for my daughter and to encourage young women to have a heart for hospitality like my mother-in-law, Naydiene.”
Whether your purpose for putting together a cookbook is simply for easy access, to have a scrapbook of family memories or to leave a legacy, Ruth, Richard and Susan all agree that the result will touch lives.
“My family have all laughed and cried as they remembered special times,” says Susan. “It has been worth the effort.”
Copyright Southern Progress Corporation Apr 2001
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