In the scheme of things, you might think collecting and saving family recipes doesn’t matter much. But collecting your family’s special dishes in a personalised cookbook connects different generations and lets you get to know members of your tribe you’ll never meet.
Like it or not, your eating habits are passed down, and passed forward. So family cookbooks are a great way to understand why you have a sweet tooth, or favor pickles instead of salty, crunchy foods.
Here are three major reasons why collecting family recipes are so important:
Collecting family recipes – connecting us to past, present and future
1. Connection to the Past
Collecting family recipes in a family recipe book means we can reminisce about the good old days.
We can laugh about the crude way foods were prepared, such as cooking over a fire or inside a fireplace, and marvel that our ancestors actually survived without disinfectant. (Can you imagine how many of us city folk would go hungry if we had to go out and catch and kill our dinner?)
Collecting family recipes is a way to remember where we came from, whether across the great plains and deserts, or across the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans. This is a good way to understand and accept ourselves through people we’ve never met yet whose lives and personalities have had a direct impact on our own.
2. Connection to the Present
When we collect favorite dishes in a family recipe book, we can appreciate some things that our ancestors never got to experience. How much more fun is it is to make an old-fashioned-style cake using modern ingredients and methods!
We can appreciate our modern kitchen tools — microwave ovens, convection ovens, refrigerators, dishwashers, electric mixers, blenders and food processors – to say nothing of instant hot water – and all marvels of the modern electric age.
Sharing the recipes we collect, also gives us a great excuse to keep in touch with our living family members, and to become close friends with even distant relatives.
3. Connection to the Future
Finally, our family cookbook means we can communicate down the ages through a lasting artifact. The favourite dishes we collect in our family recipe book tells a story about our time and place in the world.
To future generations, it says, “We were here, and this is how we prepared meals in the family tradition.”
The family recipes we collect are also a way to communicate about ourselves – what we like and dislike – and share indispensable nuggets of wisdom accumulated from actual life experiences. (That alone should make us immortal!)
And who knows, if in 10,000 years, archaeologists uncover remnants of our buried cities, maybe their excavations will unveil a treasure trove of information about our society – in the form of family cookbooks!
Happy history, and cookbook making!